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The attack on the American embassy building in Baghdad, thousand miles from Kyiv is at first glance unlikely to affect Ukraine in any way. However, those convinced that these distant developments lie beyond the scope of Ukraine’s interests are engaged in cruel and suicidal self-deception. And here’s why.
One of the effects of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq was the abruptly scrapped Kyiv visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, earlier scheduled for January 3. I should note that this is already the second trip of the U.S. top diplomat being disrupted. The previous one was planned for November last year.
Meanwhile, the trip would be extremely important for Ukraine’s foreign policy, especially against the background of extremely strained relations that developed with the White House in 2019 in the context of the impeachment proceedings and raging political battles.
However, Pompeo’s canceled visit is only the tip of the iceberg. It is much more interesting to dive deeper into the details of the execution of the said “attack” on the American embassy.
Some of these details caught the eye of many experts, including those in Ukraine. The thing is that the attack unfolded in almost the same way as it was with the attacks on military bases and border guards’ outposts in Donbas back in 2014. It seems that the hybrid script, fashioned by the Kremlin, now being promoted worldwide, was this time applied in the capital of Iraq.
In particular, Major General Viktor Yaguney, former Deputy chief of Ukraine’s SBU security agency, noted that on December 31 nearly a dozen passenger jets from Iran landed at Baghdad International Airport, as long as several regular flights from Beirut and Damascus operated by Iranian and Syrian carriers. That is, Iran actively imported its own “protesters” into Iraq, while it was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of the leaders of Iran’s Hashd al-Shaabi, who took the helm of a riot outside the American embassy.
The man is also a confidant of Kassem Suleymani, Major General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, who since 1998 has been in command of its “Quds” spec-ops units, mainly engaged in extraterritorial military and clandestine operations).
Moreover, I should note that this is not the first show of hybrid methods in Iran’s revanchist efforts in the region, copycatted from, or, rather, shared by Russian instructors and advisers. In particular, I have repeatedly reported on Iran applying such hybrid tools as the attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The attack on the Saudi refineries also had a clear hybrid nature, namely as regards concealing the forces that stood behind the hit.
Another thing is noteworthy. On the eve of the “protests” outside the embassy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to talk cooperation, as well as forms of possible pressure to be exerted on the United States on a number of issues.
The attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad wasn’t the only outcome of that meeting. Also, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that Moscow wasn’t going to support the extension of the arms embargo earlier imposed on Iran.
So now we see how the Russia-Iran duo is on a large-scale hybrid mission in the region – in Iraq, in particular. Moreover, their project shifts the attention of the White House to Baghdad, and also to the Persian Gulf in general, where the situation could explode at any moment, thereby creating a collapse in the oil market, and not only there.