In Rudaw 

Closure of US embassy in Baghdad would bring Iraq’s ‘economic collapse’: PM Kadhimi

Iraq will plunge into “direct economic collapse” if the United States follows through on threats to close its embassy in Baghdad, the Iraqi prime minister warned on Saturday.

In an interview with state-run al-Iraqiya TV, premier Mustafa al-Kadhimi warned of “a real crisis, and serious consequences” if Washington were to shut its embassy in the Iraqi capital.

“This would lead to a direct economic collapse,” Kadhimi said in the interview aired on Saturday.

“America is a major country whose relations are based on interests, and we must protect our interests with America in the fields of economy, education, health and security,” Kadhimi said. “We are not ashamed of any relationship that preserves the dignity of Iraq and the Iraqis.”

Washington signaled earlier this week that it could close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad if measures are not taken to control armed groups responsible for recent attacks against the US and other interests in the country.

In the latest round of US-Iraq strategic talks in mid-August, Kadhimi and US President Donald Trump told media that the two countries would be expanding economic ties.

“We’re making very big oil deals. Our oil companies are making massive deals, that’s basically the story,” Trump said after meetings at the White House.

In recent months, convoys driven by Iraqis and contracted by the US-led coalition have come under almost daily attacks across central and southern Iraq.

Diplomatic targets within Baghdad’s Green Zone, home to foreign diplomatic offices and Iraqi government buildings have repeatedly been subject to rocket attacks. Two Katyusha rockets fired at the American embassy in mid-September were intercepted by a US air defense system.

The US Embassy and Iraqi military bases hosting coalition troops have repeatedly been targeted since the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in January.

It is believed that the Iran-backed Islamic Front for Resistance inside Iraq (al-Muqawama) is responsible. Its stated aim is to force US troops to withdraw from the country, and units of the group have claimed responsibility for similar attacks.

“We will not accept any threat from any country, and what we have come to is American annoyance and concerns about the security of their missions in Iraq, and this is their right,” Kadhimi said on Saturday, noting that “there are those who try to obstruct our relations with Washington with foolish addresses and missiles that hit Iraqis.”

Three women and two children were killed on Monday after a Katyusha rocket hit a home near Baghdad International Airport.

Iraqi foreign minister Fuad Hussein told his American counterpart Mike Pompeo on Friday that Baghdad is “concerned” about the possible closure of the American embassy, adding that it is not in the interest of the Iraqi people. Source