Supporters of the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, an Iraqi Shi’ite militia group, set fire Saturday to the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Baghdad.
The protesters in the Iraqi capital were upset by comments made by a senior KDP official. Ex-foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said earlier this month that the government should “clean up” Baghdad’s Green Zone “from the presence of Hashd militias.” He said their ouster was an “essential task” as they are operating “outside the law.”
The U.S. State Department issued a statement about the attack on the KDP offices by Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
“The ability to speak freely and critically is a vital component of any democracy, and political parties should be able to engage in robust debate without threat from militias and thugs,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
“We strongly urge all parties to behave responsibly during this critical period in which Iraq is already dealing with a pandemic, an economic crisis, and the continued threat of ISIS,” she said.