Armed Faction Issues Ultimatum to Sudani’s Govt to End US Presence in Iraq

Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani (EPA)
Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani (EPA)
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Armed Faction Issues Ultimatum to Sudani’s Govt to End US Presence in Iraq

Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani (EPA)
Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani (EPA)

The so-called Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee issued Saturday an ultimatum to the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani, demanding immediate action against “US violations” in the country.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, continues to praise the cooperation between her country and the Iraqi government at all levels.

The Coordination Committee, which consists of four Shiite groups affiliated with Iran, expressed its “unwavering commitment to prioritizing the interests of the Iraqi people, particularly in light of the significant political, security, and economic challenges facing the nation.”

In a statement, the committee said that in a show of commitment, it had temporarily suspended its military operations against the US military presence within Iraq.

However, “this temporary halt should not be misconstrued as acceptance of the ongoing presence of US forces, which we consider illegal and unconstitutional,” the statement noted.

The Committee then condemned what it perceived as US “interference” in Iraqi affairs, Washington’s flagrant violations of Iraqi sovereignty, and the detrimental effects of the continued presence of US military bases, combat forces, and military aviation in Iraq. Additionally, they accused the US embassy of spreading vice, moral deviation and undermining the Iraqi cultural identity.

It also expressed concern over alleged attempts to manipulate Iraqi rights and deprive the population of essential services, notably electricity.

Accordingly, the Committee said it grants the Iraqi government a final opportunity to address the violations. They clarified that their patience is not infinite and warned that failure to heed their demands would result in a reaction.

Sources close to Iraqi armed factions that oppose the US presence had earlier reported that Romanowski informed some political parties that “Washington may target some Iraqi leaders, mainly the leader of Harakat al-Nujaba (HAN), Akram al-Kabi, who threatens US interests.”

Al-Kabi had repeatedly criticized the United States. His views contradict the positions announced by the “Coordination Framework” Shiite bloc that leads the current government in Iraq, and which seeks to strengthen its foreign relations with countries of the world, including the US, on the basis of common interests.

In 2009, Washington and then government of PM Nouri Al-Maliki signed the Strategic Framework Agreement to formalize a relationship of friendship and cooperation "between the two countries in the economic, diplomatic, cultural, and security fields. In a meeting held lately with Maliki, Romanowski announced her country’s hopes to strengthen the agreement.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether the US ambassador informed Iraqi politicians of her country's intention to target a faction leader, a task outside the scope of her mission as ambassador.

But since assuming her post in Iraq more than a year ago, Romanowski had focused on the principle of developing relations between Baghdad and Washington. She intensified her meetings with various Iraqi officials, including the Prime Minister, whom she met several times. Several Iraqi officials criticized her “abnormal movements”' including two meetings the ambassador held with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in less than two months.

After their last meeting held a few days ago, al-Maliki confirmed he discussed with the US ambassador political and security developments in the country and the region, as well as cooperation between the two countries at the political, economic, and cultural levels.

Al-Maliki also confirmed that Iraq is preparing to complete its reconstruction process after the budget bill approval, stressing the need to exert efforts to enhance political and economic stability in the country according to a comprehensive vision.

The leader of the State of Law Coalition also emphasized the importance of carrying out projects in the health and housing sectors and supporting foreign investments, especially those of American companies, according to the Strategic Framework Agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington.

 



US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
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US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)

The United States military unleashed a wave of attacks targeting radar sites operated by Yemen's Houthi militants over their assaults on shipping in the crucial Red Sea corridor, authorities said Saturday, after one merchant sailor went missing following an earlier Houthi strike on a ship.
The attacks come as the US Navy faces the most intense combat it has seen since World War II in trying to counter the Houthi campaign — attacks the militants say are meant to halt the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
However, the Iranian-backed group assaults often see the Houthis target ships and sailors who have nothing to do with the war while traffic remains halved through a corridor vital for cargo and energy shipments between Asia, Europe and the Mideast.
US strikes destroyed seven radars within Houthi-controlled territory, the military's Central Command said. It did not elaborate on how the sites were destroyed and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.
“These radars allow the Houthis to target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping,” Central Command said in a statement.
The US separately destroyed two bomb-laden drone boats in the Red Sea, as well as a drone launched by the Houthis over the waterway, it said.
The Houthis, who have held Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since 2014, did not acknowledge the strikes, nor any military losses. That's been typical since the US began launching airstrikes targeting the group.
Meanwhile, Central Command said one commercial sailor from the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier Tutor remained missing after an attack Wednesday by the Houthis that used a bomb-carrying drone boat to strike the vessel.
“The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by USS Philippine Sea and partner forces,” Central Command said. The “Tutor remains in the Red Sea and is slowly taking on water.”
The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.
The war in the Gaza Strip has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians there, according to Gaza health officials, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.
“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” Central Command said. “The ongoing threat to international commerce caused by the Houthis in fact makes it harder to deliver badly needed assistance to the people of Yemen as well as Gaza.”