The leader of Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group says the former Iraqi government was ordered by the US to drop the lawsuit over the assassination of Iran's top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Qais al-Khazali said in an interview with public broadcaster al-Iraqiya aired on Tuesday night the lawsuit is now being pursued once again.
“Kadhimi, at the behest of Washington, closed the case on punishing the perpetrators and all those who were involved or collaborated in the targeted killings in one way or another,” he said.
“This case has been reopened. The former Iraqi administration had sought to keep relevant facts under wraps at the United States command.”
General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and their companions were assassinated in a US drone strike authorized by then-President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
On January 8, 2020, the IRGC targeted the US-run Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar with a wave of missile attacks in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimani.
According to the Pentagon, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base.
Iran has described the missile attack on Ain al-Assad as a “first slap.”
Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that required the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US in the country.
‘US military presence in Iraq meant to ensure Israel’s security’
Khazali also said that the deployment of US military forces in Iraq is meant to ensure the security of the occupying Israeli regime.
“The US military presence in Iraq primarily aims to guarantee the security of the Israeli regime.”
“The issue of negotiating an end to US military presence is an old one. Kadhimi’s government did not take any concrete measure in this regard,” Khazali regretted.
However, he said, the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq is out of the question, and Americans are well aware of the matter. “Iraq is well-capable of defending itself.”
The Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq chief highlighted that 2,500 US combat forces are currently stationed in Iraq and the Iraqi government has been informed about it.
Some 1,500 US soldiers are also set to be dispatched to Syria from Harir Air Base in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, he added.
He further slammed the much hyped-up campaigns about US actions in Iraq in Western mainstream media, stating that the propaganda exercise is meant to “revalidate US deterrence equation” after it lost its prestige in Iraq.
He also warned that Americans are seeking to create an autonomous region along the border between Iraq and Syria.
“We call on local residents in [the western Iraqi province of] Anbar to watchfully monitor the US military’s moves in the area,” he added.