Like sharks to blood in the water, Iran senses weakness in American resolve and has unleashed its proxies to attack U.S. interests in Iraq, Syria and Palestinian territories. After a tumultuous weekend and the resignation of a notable Shiite cleric, on Monday Iraq’s presidential palace was occupied by Iranian-aligned militia and protesters.
Video shows staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad being evacuated via military helicopter.
U.S. statements urging all to remain calm have gone unheeded. Statements noting awareness of the lawless encroachment but not moving to stop it inflamed the situation.
“We are closely monitoring reports of unrest in Baghdad today at the Supreme Judicial Council,” the embassy said.
The statement added: “We urge all parties to remain calm, abstain from violence, and resolve any political differences through a peaceful process guided by the Iraqi constitution. We also call for those demonstrating to respect the proceedings and property of Iraq’s governmental institutions, which belong to and serve the Iraqi people.”
The Daily Wire reported that Iraq’s government has been in turmoil “since October when cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s party won the most seats in the election but failed to reach the number needed to form a majority government.”
Tension escalated when al-Sadr refused to negotiate with Iran-backed Shiites to create a consensus government. For the past four weeks, his supporters have staged a “government sit-in” to keep political enemies from forming an opposing coalition.
Adding to the political division, on Sunday Shia spiritual leader Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri announced he was resigning his position and called on his followers to support Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei instead of the Shia spiritual center in Najaf, Iraq.
In response to the announcement, hundreds of protesters stormed the palace and occupied the building. Iraqi military personnel ordered intruders to withdraw and issued a curfew, but many disregarded the order. A Twitter post shows defiant protesters swimming in the palace pool.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the gunfire was heard in the background as some fled the chaos. The gunfire is believed to be from the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was evacuated as a safety precaution.
In other recent regional violence with ties to Iran, 21 people were killed and 33 were injured in a bombing in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul and dozens have been killed in Syria.
The Daily Wire previously reported that Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attacks, promising that “perpetrators of such crimes will soon be brought to justice and will be punished.”
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