Iraq Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Trump's Jerusalem Decision

Iraq Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Trump's Jerusalem Decision

Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday (December 7) summoned U.S. Ambassador to Iraq to protest a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

U.S. President Donald Trump's move to end decades of careful U.S. policy has sparked a storm of condemnation around the globe, both from Washington's traditional allies and its international foes.

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had summoned the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Douglas Silliman, and would hand him a memo protesting the decision by Trump.

“We caution against the dangerous repercussions of this decision on the stability of the region and the world,” an Iraqi government statement said.

“The U.S. administration has to backtrack on this decision to stop any dangerous escalation that would fuel extremism and create conditions favorable to terrorism,” it said.

Meanwhile, powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads his own militia, demanded the closure of the American embassy in Baghdad and warned that "we can reach Israel through Syria".

The spiritual head of Iraq's Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in a statement "denounced and condemned the American decision that injures the feelings of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims".

"This will not change the fact that Jerusalem is an occupied territory that needs to be returned to its legitimate Palestinian owners," he said.

An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened to attack U.S. forces in the country in retaliation for the decision.

"The decision by Trump on Al-Quds [Jerusalem] makes it legitimate to strike the American forces in Iraq," Al-Nojaba militia chief Akram al-Kaabi said in a statement.

The group, established in 2013 and supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, numbers around 1,500 fighters and is part of the Hashid al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) auxiliary force that has fought alongside the army against the Islamic State (ISIS).

The U.S. has thousands of troops stationed in Iraq to help in the fight against ISIS.

Officially, the Pentagon says it has 5,262 personnel in Iraq, but other figures released by the U.S. military have put the number at almost 9,000.