Monday, November 6, 2023

Blinken’s Surprise Visit to Baghdad: Meeting with PM | TOME


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Sunday following a trip to the occupied West Bank earlier in the day. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani met Blinken, the premier’s office said, with the two expected to discuss the risks of escalation in Israel’s war with Hamas.
Blinken’s visit — which came after a brief stop in Cyprus to discuss a possible maritime aid route to Gaza — was not announced in advance for security reasons. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, a series of rocket and drone attacks have targeted military bases hosting US forces in Iraq.
Addressing the issue, Blinken stated, “I made very clear that attacks or threats coming from militias that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable. We will take every necessary step to protect our people,” during a meeting with Sudani. Washington has accused Iran of having a hand in the attacks which have also targeted American troops in Syria.
Most of the attacks have been claimed by a group known as “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” according to Telegram channels affiliated with Iraqi factions close to Tehran. Figures released by the Pentagon on Friday showed that between October 17 and November 3 there were 17 attacks in Iraq and 12 in Syria. This has raised concerns about the safety of American troops deployed in the region.
Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani condemned the attacks and said that investigations were underway to determine the perpetrators. He has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and has described Israel’s military operation in the coastal territory as a “genocide” against the Palestinian people. It is important to note that Iraq does not recognize Israel as a state and its government is close to Iran, which in turn backs Hamas.
Blinken’s visit to Iraq is part of his whirlwind tour of the Middle East. Prior to his visit to Baghdad, he had visited Israel and Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II and ministerial meetings with five Arab counterparts. On Sunday morning, he traveled to the occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, followed by a stop in Cyprus where he met the president and foreign minister.
The US Secretary of State’s visit to the region highlights the importance of addressing the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as the security concerns faced by American forces in Iraq and Syria. The attacks on military bases hosting US troops are a clear indication of the volatile situation in the region and the involvement of Iran-backed militias.
The discussions between Blinken and Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani are crucial in finding ways to de-escalate tensions and ensure the safety of American troops. It is important for all parties involved to work towards a peaceful resolution and prevent further violence.
As the situation in the Middle East remains tense, diplomatic efforts and dialogue play a vital role in promoting stability and security. The United States, along with its regional partners, must continue to engage in constructive discussions to address the root causes of the conflict and find lasting solutions.
The visit by Secretary Blinken serves as a reminder of the United States’ commitment to the region and its efforts to promote peace and stability. It is hoped that through diplomatic channels, a peaceful resolution can be achieved, leading to a more secure and prosperous future for all parties involved.

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