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On April 3, 2023, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Alina L. Romanowski, tweeted that, together with other U.S. diplomats, she met with Iraqi tribal leaders over Iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking evening meal). The tweet, which did not identify the location of the meeting, featured a photo from the event hosted by the Shi'ite tribe of Al-Ezerj from southern Iraq.
"Ambassador Is Meddling In Iraqi Affairs"
The tweet triggered angry reactions among Telegram channels linked to Iran-backed militias in Iraq which condemned the tribe for hosting the ambassador whom the channels often criticize for holding meetings with Iraqi officials, saying that she meddles in Iraq's internal affairs.
Posts blasted the tribe for what they perceived as "betrayal" of the Shi'ite resistance to the U.S. "occupation," demanding the Al-Ezerj tribe issue a statement clarifying their position on hosting the Iftar event.
"Observers demand from the respected Al-Ezerj tribe, its leading sheikh, and the heroic sons of the tribe, who had honorable pages in the face of the occupation and its lackeys, to clarify their position on this situation, which is not commensurate with the honorable history of the tribe. The same goes to Twentieth Revolution Alliance regarding their position on this disgraceful act," said the post.
A mouthpiece of Iran-backed militias claimed that earlier, the ambassador posted several photos showing the tribal figures who had invited her, along with other attendees at the event. The channel added that the ambassador later deleted the photos. The channel posted a screenshot showing the alleged photos.
"The Tribe Need To Clarify Their Position"
In response to the posts, the tribe head issued a statement in which he emphasized that "what one member of the tribe did by inviting the U.S. ambassador to his house only represents himself" and that this individual action does not represent the rest of the Al-Ezerj tribe.
In August 2020, it was reported that Iraqi female activist, Reham Yaqoub was assassinated by gunmen affiliated with the Iran-backed militias in Basra for attending a public event in the U.S. consulate in the city.
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