Iraqi PM Blames Israel for PMU Airstrikes While Iraqis Take to the Streets
Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi publicly blamed Israel for a string of unclaimed airstrikes on Iran-linked PMU militias in his country over the previous 3 months. The statement came as as grassroots protests sprung up in Baghdad and Bara, Iraq, today. Many of the protesters were carrying pictures of Lt.-Gen. Abdul Wahab Al-Saadi, an elite force commander in Iraq's regular military who played a key role in the expulsion of ISIS from the country. Analysts have noted al-Saadi's tension with the irregular PMU units, characterizing his transfer out of the Iraqi Army as an apparent power-grab by Iran-allied ministers in Iraq's government. The protesters, although peaceful and unarmed, were eventually dispersed by Iraqi security forces with water cannons and tear gas, leaving 1 dead and hundreds injured. There are even reports that the Iranian government ordered their militias to fire on protesters in Basra.
After the integration of the PMU's in to the Iraqi military last year, some experts have suggested that the Iranian-sponsored militias are creating a shadow army in Iraq, similar to the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. It appears that the radical ayatollahs in Iran are gradually co-opting yet another Middle Eastern armed force in their effort to consolidate their power across the "Shi'a Crescent" in the region, which stretches from Lebanon to Afghanistan. But not all Iraqis are favorable to an Iranian-controlled Baghdad, and the protests in the capital city are indicative of public dissatisfaction with Iraq's political and economic direction, similar to popular protests in Iran earlier this year.
We would encourage our prayer partners to join us in intercession for the nation of Iraq and for Iraqi Kurdistan, which is now drifting into the orbit of Iranian hegemony. Iran's ongoing tension with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is especially concerning as Iranian proxies grow in strength along Kurdistan's western, southern and eastern borders. We continue to pray for the things of darkness to be exposed to the light, for a divine hedge around Israel, Greater Kurdistan, and the covenant people throughout the region, and for wisdom and discernment to be granted to leaders as they make tough and complex decisions in the coming days.
Shalom from Israel.