Iranian militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, one of several identified as leading an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, reportedly visited the White House in 2011 during the presidency of Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, a mob in Baghdad attacked the U.S. embassy in retaliation against last weekend’s U.S. airstrikes against the Iran-backed Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah (KH), responsible for killing an American civilian contractor. KH is one of a number of pro-Iran militias that make up the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU), which legally became a wing of the Iraqi military after fighting the Sunni Islamic State terrorist group.
President Donald Trump has since accused Iran of having “orchestrated” the embassy attack and stated that the government would be “held fully responsible.”
Breitbart News reporter John Hayward described the attack on the embassy, writing:
The mob grew into thousands of people, led by openly identified KH supporters, some of them wearing uniforms and waving militia flags. The attack began after a funeral service for the 25 KH fighters killed by the U.S. airstrikes. Demonstrators marched through the streets of Baghdad carrying photos of the slain KH members and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who condemned the American airstrikes.
KH vowed to seek revenge for the airstrikes on Monday. Both KH and the Iranian military unit that supports it, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. The government of Saudi Arabia also described KH as one of several “terrorist militias supported by the Iranian establishment” in remarks on Tuesday condemning the assault on the U.S. embassy.
The attackers were able to smash open a gate and push into the embassy compound, lighting fires, smashing cameras, and painting messages such as “Closed in the name of resistance” on the walls. Gunshots were reportedly heard near the embassy, while tear gas and stun grenades were deployed by its defenders.
A uniformed militia fighter on the scene in Baghdad told Kurdish news service Rudaw that attacks were also planned against the U.S. consulates in Erbil and Basra, with the goal of destroying the consulates and killing everyone inside.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that among those agitating protesters in Baghdad on Tuesday was Hadi al-Amiri, a former transportation minister with close ties to Iran who leads the Badr Corps, another PMF militia.
In 2011, both Fox News and the Washington Times noted that then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki brought his transportation minister, al-Amiri, to a meeting at the White House. The Times noted that the White House did not confirm his attendance, but the official was on Iraq’s listed members of its delegation. read more