ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Nasr (Victory) Coalition rejected on Saturday recent media reports that its leader and former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has suddenly left Baghdad or even the entire country of Iraq.
In the past few days, several local news agencies have reported that Abadi vacated Iraq with his family, while others claimed he had instead gone north to Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
This came days after earlier reports that a unit of prime ministerial guards stormed, or at least entered without permission, one of Abadi's two houses in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
If the claims of Abadi leaving Baghdad are proven untrue, they could likely be the result of conclusions drawn in the wake of reports about Abadi's house being "raided," based on the targeting of high-level Iraqi officials in the past. Most notably, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the homes raided and arrest warrants issued for then Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak in 2011, causing both to flee to Erbil.
“We would like to inform the public that all rumors in the media about the departure of Haider al-Abadi from Iraq or him abandoning the beloved capital of Baghdad are shameful, part of an open promotion of foreign agendas and part of a political rivalry,” the coalition said in a statement received by Kurdistan 24.
“It is a cheap rumor, pushed forward by irresponsible parties,” it added, without specifically naming any particular Iraqi parties or persons.
“We call for high political values,” the statement stressed. “The task of the politicians is to serve their people and their homeland.”
It also mentioned that the former prime minister would ”not abandon Baghdad and continue the Coalition’s projects” he created in December 2017 after declaring victory against the Islamic State (IS) in his bid for re-election the following year.
Abadi, backed by the US, failed to secure a second term of premiership after his coalition come in at only third place in May's national election, with only 42 out of 329 total seats in the Iraqi parliament. The Sairoon coalition, led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, won the most votes and in second place was Fatih, headed by former transportation minister and Badr Organization militia leader Hadi al-Amiri.
Editing by John J. Catherine