Saudi's Embassy in Iraq “Den of Espionage”: Iraqi MP

Saudi's Embassy in Iraq “Den of Espionage”: Iraqi MP

A member of the Iraqi parliament lashed out at Saudi Arabia’s hostile policies against Iraq, describing the country’s embassy in Baghdad as a nest of spies.

A member of the Iraqi parliament lashed out at Saudi Arabia’s hostile policies against Iraq, describing the country’s embassy in Baghdad as a nest of spies.

Aliya Naseef, who is a lawmaker and member of the Iraqi National List, said Saudi Arabia has been hostile to Iraq and is scared of its progress.

The Saudi embassy in Iraq has turned into a “den of espionage”, she added, saying that the Saudi envoy meets any politician he wants without informing the Iraqi foreign ministry.

“The government of Iraq should take a firm stance against Riyadh’s hostile policies toward Iraq,” Naseef added.

While it has been only weeks since the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Baghdad, Iraqi people from different political and religious strata have urged its closure due to Riyadh’s hostile policies and blatant and extensive support for terrorist groups in Iraq.

The embassy, which had been closed in 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, was reopened in early January.

In June 2015, Saudi Arabia announced that it would reopen its embassy in Baghdad after a 25-year rift. Iraqi officials, including President Fuad Masum, had visited Riyadh on November 12, 2014, paving the way for friendlier relations.

Saudi Ambassador to Iraq Thamer al-Sabhan said on December 16, 2015, that the embassy had completed its preparations and that the diplomatic mission would soon head to Baghdad.

But Saudi execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on January 2 stirred anger on the Iraqi street and led to demands that the Saudi Embassy not be allowed to officially reopen.

Later, in a televised interview aired by al-Sumeria satellite television on January 23, the Saudi ambassador provoked outrage among Iraqi officials and political parties by claiming that sectarianism and tribalism were the driving force behind the Iraqi government’s arming of the volunteer forces known as the Popular Mobilization Units or Hashid al-Shaabi. He also alleged that the Iraqi volunteer forces are not popular among Iraqi people.

Following the remarks, the Hashid al-Shaabi volunteer forces demanded that the government expel the envoy.

However, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the comments did not represent Riyadh’s official stance, in remarks that effectively put into question the nature of diplomatic appointments by Riyadh and, thus, the legitimacy of the envoy in Iraq.

Iraqi perceptions about Saudi Arabia are generally negative, with the country seen as a troublemaker and a supporter of terrorist groups.


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