Then-prime minister of Iraq Mustafa al-Kadhimi during an official visit to Iran in July 2020. (Photo Credit: Iranian presidency via AFP)
The Iraqi parliament demanded on 25 December that the government to launch an independent investigation to reveal the identities of those who aided the US assassination of the “leaders of the Iraqi victory against ISIS.”
This coincides with the coming third anniversary of the murder of deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani.
“The opportunity is now ripe for the judiciary to hold accountable all those suspected of being involved in the crime,” stated Muhammad al-Baldawi, to the Iraqi Information Agency.
He added that now it’s the most suitable timing “to investigate seriously and expose to the real criminals.”
Baldawi then stressed that “those involved [US military] are known, but now we are looking for [locals] who were complicit in this crime and who delivered the information to the enemy.”
Earlier this month, influential Iraqi lawmakers floated the idea of arresting previous prime minister Mustafa Kadhimi, who served as the head of the Iraqi intelligence agency at the time of the murders.
Fadhel Mwat al-Zerigawi, from State of Law Coalition that voted for current Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, revealed lawmakers were mulling over the decision.
“The next stage will witness the issuance of arrest warrants and investigations against Kadhimi for his involvement in the [theft of the century] case and the assassination of Muhandis and Soleimani,” Zerigawi said.
For almost three years, several Iraqi politicians asked for the investigation to involve Kadhimi. However, it wasn’t until the end of his premiership and his implication in a multi-billion corruption case that this demand gained momentum.
Several officials, including the former head of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee and Kadhimi’s personal financial advisor, Haitham al-Jubouri, were arrested for the crime of “enrichment at the expense of public money.”
The theft of state-owned property and wealth has been estimated to reach $2.5 billion, and involves Kadhimi, senior officials, and Iraqi army officers.
Additionally, Iraq-based Kataeb Hezbollah was the most vocal against Kadhimi since January 2020, and placed him as the main defendant in the assassination of the Iranian and Iraqi leaders.
The group accused him of aiding the US coalition in information gathering based on his position as head of Iraqi intelligence since 2016.
The accusations were echoed by the group’s security commander, Abu Ali al-Askari, who tweeted in July 2020 that “all local participants, from ‘Kadhimi of treachery’ to the lowest ranks will not escape the punishment regardless of the price and time.”
This situation triggered a series of arrests against Kataeb Hezbollah members, and attacks on the US embassy and Kadhimi’s own residence with rockets and drones.
In an interview with Middle East Eye, two associates of Muhandis revealed that Kadhimi had allegedly been monitoring Muhandis’s calls back in 2017.
“Information was constantly reaching Muhandis indicating that the Iraqi intelligence was working against him, so he was very angry,” they added.
Similarly in 2020, Iranian officials implied they discovered evidence suggesting Kadhimi was involved in the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis, but never acted upon this.