US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani on Sunday during a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. The Prime Minister’s office announced this.
After the meeting, Blinken said attacks against U.S. troops stationed in Iraq or Syria are “totally unacceptable.” These are attacks by militias linked to Iran since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. Various militias in Iraq have repeatedly claimed to have hit US bases in Iraq and Syria with drones and missiles in retaliation for Israeli attacks on Gaza.
The Iraqi branch of the militant group Hezbollah made it clear in advance that a visit by Blinken to Baghdad could lead to “unprecedented escalation”. Blinken, “the Zionist Minister of War and the son of a Jew,” is not welcome in Iraq, a Hezbollah spokesman said in a statement. The spokesperson also said the militia would work to counter U.S. interests in Iraq and prevent U.S. citizens from traveling to the country if aggression against Gaza continues.
Blinken is on a tour of the region. He has already been to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. He will travel to Turkey later on Sunday, where large demonstrations against Israel and the US are expected.
Prime Minister al-Sudani will visit Iran on Monday, according to Iraqi media, as part of a regional tour to discuss the violence in Gaza.
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