Iran Attack: Iraq Reacts

Iraq’s political and militia leaders diverged in their response to the Iranian missile strikes against the al Asad airbase in Anbar province and a base in Erbil on January 8. Pro-Iran members of parliament cheered the attack and called for additional retribution against the United States. But others condemned the move as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The following are reactions of Iraqi leaders to Iran’s strike.


Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi

“Iraq, as it rejects any violation of its sovereignty and aggression on its land, the government continues its efforts to prevent escalation and ensure complete respect for Iraqi’s sovereignty… We have called, and we call on all, to exercise self-control, for the language of reason to prevail, for adherence to international conventions, for respect the Iraqi state, and the decisions of its government, and to help it to contain and overcome this dangerous crisis that threatens it, the region, and the world with a devastating, all-out war.”

– Jan. 8, 2020, in a statement on Twitter


President Barham Salih

“The Presidency of the Republic is following with great concern the dangerous developments taking place in the region, condemns the Iranian missile bombardment of military sites on Iraqi soil, and reaffirms its rejection of these repeated breaches of national sovereignty, and asserts that Iraq must not be turned into a battleground for the conflicting parties.”

“In this regard, the Presidency of the Republic stresses that the presence of the international coalition forces in Iraq is based on the agreements concluded between the Iraqi government and the countries from which the coalition is formed due to the necessities of fighting terrorism, and in that context, the status and fate of the presence of these forces is an internal Iraqi matter that can only be addressed by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi parliament.”

– Jan. 8, 2020, in a statement


Qais al Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl Al Haq (a militia that is also part of the Popular Mobilization Forces)

“The initial Iranian response to the assassination of the martyred commander Soleimani has happened. Now it is time for the initial response to the assassination of the martyred commander Muhandis. And because Iraqis are brave and zealous, their response will not be any less than that or Iran's. That is a promise.”

– Jan. 8, 2020 in remarks


Muqtada al Sadr, leader of the Sairoon bloc

“I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted.”

 – Jan. 8, 2020 in a statement