| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

Al-Sudani: Security is a red line

Iraqi authorities continue investigations to uncover the circumstances of the killing of an American aid worker in the center of Baghdad on Monday, while Prime Minister Mohammad Al-Sudani warned that his country’s security was a “red line”.

The Iraqi premier, who considered that the “timing of the murder of the US citizen in Baghdad raises question marks,” pledged to pursue the perpetrators.

The leader of the Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, warned of the repercussions of the assassination of Stephen Edward Troll on the “safe environment” in Iraq.

“The assassination of American citizen Stephen Troll in central Baghdad is a condemned and deplorable act,” he said on Twitter, expressing “deep regret” for the incident.

Al-Hakim urged the concerned security authorities to uncover the circumstances of the crime and clarify whether its motives were criminal or political, stressing that the assassination should not reflect negatively “on the safe environment that prevails in Iraq or on the country’s foreign relations.”

Washington, which seemed eager to start a new page of relations with the Iraqi government – where the majority of ministers belong to the forces of the Shiite Coordination Framework – has so far acted, according to political observers in Baghdad, with caution and anticipation without any threatening tone.

While these observers believe that it is difficult for any of the forces of the Coordination Framework to be involved in the assassination, suspicions remain about parallel parties who do not want Al-Sudani to go far in the relationship with the United States, especially following a series of recent meetings he held with US ambassador Alina Romanowski.

Meanwhile, Romanowski expressed her thanks to “the Iraqi people for their supportive messages following the brutal murder of Steven Troll last night in Baghdad.”

In a tweet on Tuesday, she said: “He was here in a private capacity doing what he loved – working (with) the Iraqi people. My deepest condolences to his wife and young children.”

A US State Department spokesperson said that US officials “stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance” following the incident.

Retired Major General Dr. Imad Aalo, head of the Etimad Center for Security and Strategic Studies, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The assassination of an American citizen in Baghdad will certainly have repercussions on the prime minister’s handling of the security file in general and the uncontrolled weapons in particular.”

“What happened is a message from parties who do not want to see relations improve between Baghdad and Washington…” he added.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat