Former PMU official Sheikh Mohammad Al-Basry suggested that the rocket attack on Erbil international airport that killed an American contractor was carried out by "Trumpist" sleeper cells in order to place a wedge between Washington and Tehran and to block a return to the JCPOA. Al-Basry made his remarks in a show on Al-Iraqiya TV (Iraq) that aired on February 16, 2021. He said that before former U.S. President Donald Trump left office, he established "Trumpist" sleeper cells in Iraq and they are behind the rocket attack on Erbil and ISIS suicide bombings that took place immediately after President Biden took office.
Interviewer: "Some people say that the rocket attack [on Erbil] was a terrorist act, and a malicious one at that. The Biden administration has been talking in a calmer and more reasonable fashion with regard to Iran, and wants to resume negotiations with Iran [over the JCPOA]. Therefore, it is unreasonable, at this stage that Iran would carry out such an act, the reaction for which could influence Iran's nuclear program, to say the least."
Mohammad Al-Basry: "Let me tell you my opinion, which could sound a bit exceptional, but take it as it is and look it up. Biden's rise to power has definitely opened new horizons for negotiations, whether in the Middle East, with China, or with the rest of the world, in order to [counter] decisions taken by Donald Trump. Before Trump left office, he warned and threatened, because he did not want the new administration to succeed. He has old alliances in the Middle East, and specifically in the Gulf and in Iraq. It is inconceivable that Trump would just leave things as they are and get out. Through these alliances, he established Trumpist sleeper cells that are trying to cause disturbances for the Biden administration and to cause a crisis between Washington and Tehran."
Interviewer: "It's a very strange thing to say that Trump, or Trumpist groups, targeted Erbil."
Al-Basry: "The return of ISIS with such vigor and the return of its operations... In the second day after the Biden administration took office, an explosion happened in Tayaran Sqaure [in Baghdad], followed by [ISIS] attacks in the Diyala and the Salah Al-Din governorates. All these attacks point to... Is it difficult for Trump to recruit militias? He had wanted to attack Iran."