Iraqis criticise Parliament for commemorating killing of Iranian general

Iraqis took to social media to air grievances with MPs

Mourners carry the coffins of Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, during their funeral in the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's airport that killed Tehran's top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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Iraqis criticised parliamentarians on Sunday for commemorating the death of Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis and Iranian General Qassem Suleimani.

The Middle East came close to conflict after a US drone strike killed Suleimani and Al Muhandis at Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020. Suleimani was designated as a terrorist by the US for supporting proxy groups to form a Shiite axis of power from Iraq to Lebanon.

Many Iranians praised his efforts and viewed him as a hero.

Al Muhandis was a lifelong ally of Iran, he was the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces.

He rose to fame after the PMF defeated ISIS alongside Iraqi military forces.

Pictures and banners of the two men were displayed in parliament in Baghdad as music played in the background as the first anniversary of their deaths approached, sparking condemnation by social media users.

"Iraqi parliamentarians are busy with the killing of Qassem Suleimani, while the country has entered an economic and financial crisis, but that’s not on their list of concerns, what kind of country is this?” an Iraqi user said on Twitter.

Many users wrote “the parliament does not represent the Iraqi people but only terrorism”.

"I'm writing this as an Iraqi to warn the world about the expansion of Iran's influence and foreign presence in my country," Mustafa Ali said.

Saudi Prince Sattam bin Khalid Al Saud questioned the loyalty of some politicians in Baghdad.

"Parliament is supposed to defend authentic Arab Iraqis but they raise the image of murderous terrorists who spilt blood and killed thousands of Iraqis and raped their women, has your loyalty to Iran become greater than to your own country?" said the prince said on Twitter.

After the strike, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US forces from the country this month and former prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Washington to work out a road map for their exit.

Iran-backed militias in Iraq swore to avenge the deaths.

Tensions between the sides increased last December when the US accused the Kataib Hezbollah militia of attacking a military base north of Baghdad, killing one US contractor and wounding several US service members and Iraqi personnel.

Washington retaliated by conducting air strikes against five Kataib Hezbollah facilities in Iraq and Syria, killing 25 fighters and wounding dozens.

During the funeral procession for the dead, angry mourners, including some in military fatigues, broke into Baghdad’s Green Zone and torched a reception building at the US embassy.

It was followed by retaliatory attacks suspected to have been carried out by Iran-backed militias on US forces stationed across Iraq.