BY STEPHEN GREEN
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
The Iraq presidential palace was stormed by angry protestors on Monday, while the U.S. Embassy was evacuated by helicopter in a scene reminiscent of the last days of South Vietnam.
Here’s video of our embassy chaos from Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone:
Initial reports are that the helicopters were ordered in and the staff ordered out when rioters breached the Zone. I also saw a report that one person had been shot and killed, but no clue whether they were American, American staff, or a rioter.
That’s pretty much all we know so far about the situation at the embassy.
This marks the Biden Administration’s second humiliating bugout from an Islamic country in just over a year. 13 Americans were killed in Kabul during Presidentish Joe Biden’s botched retreat from Afghanistan on August 17. Untold hundreds of Americans and thousands of our allies remain stranded there.
What happens next in Iraq is anyone’s guess, once you see the scene inside the presidential palace:
Security forces fired tear gas at protesters at the entrance to the heavily fortified government zone as dozens of young men hurled stones at each other in street battles.
Gunfire was heard in central Baghdad, reporters said, apparently from weapons being fired into the air.
Shocking footage from inside the palace showed scuffles breaking out between protesters and baton-wielding cops wearing bullet proof vests.
The riots broke out following the permanent resignation from politics — we’ll see just how long it really lasts — of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. For good measure, he previously withdrew his plurality party from parliament.
The caretaker government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was already weak and essentially powerless.
What’s going on in Iraq?
In a word: Iran.
Al-Sadr’s statement appears to be a reaction the retirement of Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, who counts many of al-Sadr’s supporters as followers. Al-Haeri said he would be retiring as a religious authority and called on his followers to support Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seen as a blow to al-Sadr.
At first glance, the chaos in Iraq looks something like a semi-legal coup, backed by Iran. At the very least, it’s political chaos engineered by local forces friendly to Iran.