Biden and Iraqi PM Al Kadhimi discuss Baghdad unrest

Call follows a violent 24 hours that shook Iraq after influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr's resignation from politics

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi spoke with US President Joe Biden following violence that left at least 30 people dead. Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office
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US President Joe Biden offered his full support to Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi on Wednesday following violent political unrest in Baghdad.

Mr Biden called Mr Al Kadhimi and commended the prime minister's efforts to de-escalate tension through dialogue and diplomacy.

The two leaders agreed to remain in touch over the coming weeks, the White House said.

The call comes after clashes in Baghdad that left at least 30 people dead and hundreds injured.

The violence erupted after supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr stormed Baghdad's Green Zone after he announced his resignation from politics.

Earlier this month, Mr Al Sadr withdrew his MPs from the Iraqi parliament, protesting against what he called widespread corruption.

The withdrawal followed a months-long stalemate between Sadrists and members of a rival coalition, the Co-ordination Framework, that had stymied government formation efforts.

Mr Al Kadhimi called for restraint and threatened on Tuesday to “vacate his post” if leaders did not resolve the political stand-off.

“I caution and warn against those who continue to sow the seeds of chaos, conflict and infighting, and who refuse to listen to the voice of reason,” he said.

Mr Biden echoed calls for order in Iraq in his phone call with the prime minister.

“The president and the prime minister welcomed the return of security to the streets, and called on all Iraqi leaders to engage in a national dialogue to forge a common way forward consistent with Iraq’s constitution and laws,” the White House said.

Mr Al Kadhimi said on Tuesday that Iraq had formed a committee “to find those responsible for putting arms in the hands of those who opened fire and shot at the demonstrators, and shed blood”.

Back in Washington, opposition Republicans recently demanded the administration increase engagement with Baghdad to end disputes with the Kurdistan region.

Iraq's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to The National's request for comment on Wednesday's phone call.

Iraqi Prime Minister Al Kadhimi threatens to resign if political tension continues — video

Updated: September 05, 2022, 6:20 AM