Joe Biden, world, regional, local leaders condemn attack on Iraqi PM

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack targeting the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi,” Biden said.
The Iraqi premier Mustafa al-Kadhimi is pictured during his interview with al-Hadath TV aired on Sunday, July 19, 2021. (Photo: Iraqi government)
The Iraqi premier Mustafa al-Kadhimi is pictured during his interview with al-Hadath TV aired on Sunday, July 19, 2021. (Photo: Iraqi government)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) On Sunday, US President Joe Biden issued a statement, strongly criticizing the attack that had occurred very early that morning against Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack targeting the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi,” Biden said. “I am relieved the Prime Minister was not injured and commend the leadership he has shown in calling for calm, restraint, and dialogue to protect the institutions of the state and strengthen the democracy Iraqis so richly deserve.”

“The perpetrators of this terrorist attack on the Iraqi state must be held accountable,” Biden continued, adding, “I have instructed my national security team to offer all appropriate assistance to Iraq’s security forces as they investigate this attack and identify those responsible.”

He concluded his statement with an affirmation of US support for “the government and people of Iraq, as they strive to uphold Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.”

Biden’s last words hint that Washington does not consider the assault an entirely domestic affair, but one with some degree of foreign origin. The most obvious suspects are Iranian-backed militias—which fared poorly in last month’s elections.

They have claimed fraud in the vote-counting and have been holding protests in Baghdad. They turned deadly on Friday, as the protestors, many from the Shi’ite militias associated with the losing political parties, clashed with security forces. Two protestors were reportedly killed.

Biden’s remarks followed a similar statement issued by State Department Spokesperson Ned Price late on Saturday.

In addition, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Kadhimi on Sunday. Blinken “underscored” that the attack on Kadhimi “was also an attack on the sovereignty and stability of the Iraqi state,” according to a US read-out of their conversation.

Blinken “reiterated that the US partnership with Prime Minister al-Kadhimi and with Iraq is steadfast and pledged to support the Iraqi Security Forces, as they investigate this attack,” it said.

Arab, Europe, Turkish, UN Condemnation of Attack

The assault on Kadhimi drew similar condemnation from European and Arab countries, along with the United Nations.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II all spoke with Kadhimi on Sunday to condemn the assault and express their appreciation that Kadhimi had not been hurt.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, along with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which had helped to provide international observers to oversee the elections, similarly expressed their dismay at the attack.

"We condemn the attempt to assassinate the Iraqi Prime Minister and demand that the perpetrators be held accountable,” Guterres said.

Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE all expressed their strong condemnation of the assault, with Riyadh denouncing it as a “cowardly terrorist attack.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called for “the perpetrators of this cowardly terror attack, which clearly aims to undermine the sovereignty and stability of Iraq” to be “identified and held accountable.”

Kurdish, Iraqi Condemnation of Attack

The Kurdish leadership similarly expressed its strong condemnation of the assault, as did Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party secured the largest number of votes in the October elections, according to preliminary results (final numbers have yet to be certified by Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission.)

“I strongly condemn the attack carried out against the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi,” the long-time President of the Kurdistan Region and now head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, said in a statement. “Iraq’s stability and sovereignty must be respected,” he added, as he also wished a speedy recovery to those who had been injured in the assault.

Read More: President Masoud Barzani ‘strongly condemns’ assassination attempt of Iraq’s PM

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, denounced the assault on Sunday, as he spoke in Erbil’s Korean Village, which he visited to lay the foundation stone for a new school. 

“We strongly condemn these terrorist attempts, and we want to show our support to Kadhimi’s efforts to advance democracy and stability in the country,” he said.

Read More: PM Masrour Barzani reiterates support for Iraqi PM following assassination attempt

Sadr similarly denounced the assault. “The terrorist act that targeted the highest authority in the country is a clear attack on Iraq and its people,” he tweeted, as he called on the Iraqi army and security forces to take on their responsibility to defend and strengthen Iraq.

Read More: Drone attack targeting Iraqi PM was an ‘attack against Iraq and its people’: Sadr

On Sunday, Iraq’s security forces were, indeed, out in strength in Baghdad, with tanks appearing on the streets of the capital for the first time in many years