Hundreds of Thousands of Protesters March in Iraq Amidst Growing Anti-U.S. Sentiment
a new sign greets travelers leaving the Baghdad International Airport, with red and white Arabic letters on a shrapnel-pockmarked wall. It proclaims the spot is the “the site of the American crime,” were on January 3rd, a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy leader of Iraq’s government-sanctioned armed groups and a legendary anti-ISIS commander among the country’s majority Shi’ite community.
Another sign of the anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq: the quarter- to half-a-million Iraqis who peacefully took to the streets of Baghdad on Friday to protest the killing and demand all American troops leave the country. The gathering was a disciplined but undeniable display of the growing resentment of the U.S. military mission that had been welcomed in 2014 to fight ISIS, and a clear signal of how the rising political fortunes of pro-Iranian Iraqi politicians like march organizer Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr could hasten the departure of U.S. troops.