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Calls To Expel The U.S. Ambassador To Iraq Following The Release Of A Recording Of A Telephone Conversation Allegedly Between A Senior Official In The Iraqi Army And A CIA Agent

On July 5, 2019, "The Resistance Media Network,"[1] which is affiliated with the Hashd Al-Sha'bi (the Popular Mobilization Units, PMU) released a recording of a telephone conversation between Mahmoud Al-Falahi, commander of the military operations room in Al-Anbar, and a CIA agent with Iraqi citizenship. According to the report, during the call the CIA agent demanded that Al-Falahi provide him with the geographic coordinates of the dispersal of the Iraqi army, security forces, the PMU, and the resistance factions, with a focus on the outposts in Al-Qa'im of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq. This information was requested as part of the preparation for attacks on these areas by the U.S. and Israeli air forces.

On June 17, 2018, Shi'ite and pro-Syrian regime forces were attacked on the Syria-Iraq border and 50 men were killed. PMU elements do not discount the possibility that this was an Israeli action that at the very least was coordinated with the U.S.[2]

Members of the political and military wings of the Shi'ite militias affiliated with Iran described the report as further evidence of an American plot against Iraq and its security forces and called for the expulsion of the American ambassador and closure of the embassy. Hashtags expressing these sentiments were posted on social media.

The following is a review of responses to the report about the phone call suggesting Iraqi-CIA collaboration:

Hizbullah Brigades: The U.S. Is Trying To Destroy Iraq; the "Embassy Of Evil" In Baghdad Should Be Closed

On July 7, 2019, the political bureau of the Hizbullah Brigades, a U.S.-designated terror organization, published a statement saying that, "The espionage scandal... is a difficult blow for the Iraqi people and the military establishment. The information exposed the destructive role of the American Embassy which spies and schemes with the Zionist entity against Iraq and its national fighting forces.

"This scandal has exposed the character of the American military presence in Iraq and its [true] aims which are not training, advising, or fighting ISIS as the U.S. claims, or as some government elements claim, but fighting the resistance factions and supporting and perpetrating criminal activity, to wear down Iraq and destroy it.

"Therefore, the Iraqi government and the General Commander of the Armed Forces should open a comprehensive investigation and expose the espionage cells connected to the American, the Zionist, and other intelligence [apparatuses].

"It is the government's responsibility to examine the attacks against our military forces and the resistance factions, especially those perpetrated against the Hizbullah Brigades on the Syria-Iraq border [on June 18] last year, during which 19 people were killed, and to hold the U.S. directly responsible for this, and to prosecute and convict it.

"We demand that the national forces, the jihad forces and the popular activists and tribes take a national stand and behave justly toward the fallen and the murdered and insist on the expulsion of the ambassador and the closure of the American Embassy of evil."[3]

Mohammed Muhyee, spokesman for the Hizbullah Brigades, claimed that the American Embassy in Iraq is currently working to drive Al-Falahi beyond the country's borders, and is attempting to interfere in the operations of the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Ministry of Defense, so as to influence the inquiry and distort its results. Muhyee urges his countrymen "to censure the U.S. Embassy for its suspicious role in Iraq and also the American forces. We have been in a confrontation with the U.S. since it entered Iraq due to the crimes it has committed. It is not possible to rely on the U.S. or to have a good relationship with it."[4]

The Al-Nujaba Movement: Iraq Will Not Have Security As Long As the "Stronghold of Satan" Is In Baghdad

Nasr Al-Shamari, spokesman for the Al-Nujaba movement, a U.S.-designated terror organization, said: "The American Embassy plays an indecent scheming role, incites civil strife among the Iraqi people, supports terrorists, and has tried several times, publicly and in a callous manner to harm the Iraqi forces and to deliberately kill those who serve in them. It also [carries out] suspicious commercial activity which steals the country's natural resources by means of companies which take control of the oil and the GE [General Electric] Company, which has taken over all the gas [-operated] electric power stations – companies whose aim is to control the country's economy and the Iraqi citizens' income. Once these [facts] have been proved, Iraq should be liberated from it [the U.S. Embassy]... therefore, we demand that the Iraqi government expel the American ambassador and close the American Embassy of evil in Iraq. If not – our country will not have security as long as the stronghold of Satan is in Baghdad."[5]

Calls From Within the Iraqi Government to Close the American Embassy

"In the Iraqi political system, and especially among the elements which belong to, or at least support the Shi'ite militias, calls were heard to prosecute the United States for its interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and to monitor the activity of the embassy and the American forces in Iraq.

Hamad Al-Moussawi, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Badr faction, urged the government to prosecute Mahmoud Al-Falahi for treason, and to sentence him to death. He added that should the connection between Al-Falahi and the U.S. be proved, then "[the U.S.] should be prosecuted in accordance with international law and the interference of its embassy in the internal affairs [of Iraq] should be stopped, the movements of its forces monitored, its military bases supervised, and it should be prevented from taking any action unless it is with the approval of and in coordination with the government."[6]

MP Hassan Salam of the Al-Sadiqoun faction, the political arm of the Asa'eb Ahl Al-Haq movement, also a U.S.-designated terror organization, said, "[The Iraqi] military establishment is out of control, since many military commanders are traveling to Britain and the U.S. to meet with suspicious individuals and intelligence people and agents. The collaboration with the commander of operations of Al-Anbar, Mahmoud Al-Falahi, is very serious. The government must expel the American ambassador from Iraq immediately."[7]

Supporters of PMU On Social Networks Call for the Expulsion of the American Ambassador

Supporters of the Shi'ite militias posted the following hashtags in Arabic on social media: #expeltheU.S.ambassador and #closetheAmericanEmbassy.

Sharaf Haider, who supports PMU, shared a post on his Facebook page which includes a quote from the spokesman of the Hizbullah Brigades calling to close the U.S. Embassy and expel the ambassador from Iraq, as well as a poster depicting a Hizbullah Brigade fighter shooting a gun, with an American flag visible in the background emblazoned with an ISIS slogan, and the words: "The Response is Ready, Hizbullah Brigades" also appearing at the top of the poster.[8]


The above poster was shared by PMU supporter Sharaf Haider on his Facebook page.

Haider Ibn Al-Wilaya, another PMU supporter, shared a poster on his Facebook page with the Arabic hashtag "expel the American ambassador" which reads: "The American Embassy has 10,000 workers and 20,000 soldiers, and it is unclear what their task is or why they are necessary. In the recent period the scandal was exposed about the conspiracy against Iraq through the cooperation with the collaborator the operations commander in Al-Anbar. The GE Company controls all the gas sources, which will gradually lead to control of the Iraqi economy. Our national resources are being stolen, they are conspiring against our country and the enemy is known. The choice is in the hands of the honorable ones among the people."[9]


The above poster expressing anti-American sentiment was shared by PMU supporter Haider Ibn Al-Waliya on his Facebook page.