The Iraqi judiciary issued an arrest warrant for US President Donald Trump on Jan. 7 for the killing of paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last January. Trump is charged under Article 406 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which carries the death sentence in all cases of premeditated murder. Al-Muhandis died in the drone strike Trump ordered to kill Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Al-Muhandis was a top leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a state-sanctioned umbrella organization that oversees an array of militias formed to fight the Islamic State.
The killing of al-Muhandis and Soleimani strained US-Iraqi relations. Shi’ite lawmakers responded by passing a non-binding resolution calling on the government to oust US troops from the country. Further, groups supported by Iran stepped up attacks on the US presence in Iraq. The attacks prompted Washington to threaten to remove its diplomatic mission in Baghdad.
From Jurist, Jan. 8. Used with permission.
Note: In issuing a warrant for Trump’s arrest in the slaying of al-Muhandis, Iraq joins Iran, which has just requested an Interpol “red notice” for Trump in the death of Soleimani.
US sanctions Iraq military leader for rights abuses
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Jan. 8 sanctioned Iraqi military leader Falih al-Fayyadh for alleged human rights abuses that occurred during civilian protests in 2019. As a result of the sanctions, al-Fayyadh’s property interests located in the US are now blocked. The Treasury Secretary has authority to issue sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13818, signed by President Trump in December 2017. (Jurist)
The US has sanctioned Iraqi military leaders over repression of protests before.
Twin suicide attacks strike Baghdad market
Twin suicide bombings at Baghdad’s busy Tayaran Square market killed at least 32 people and injured 110 others on Jan. 21—US President Joe Biden’s first full day in office. The first bomber feigned illness to draw a crowd before detonating his explosives; the second detonated near the first ambulence as it arrived. No group has claimed responsibility yet, but suspicion inevitably falls on ISIS. It was the first massive terror attack in Iraq since the wave of ISIS attacks that ended some three years ago. (NPR, Reuters)