Al-Rikabi rejects ongoing 'American occupation'

Leader of Emtidad Movement calls for action against the U.S. presence in Iraq

October 31 — Head of the Emtidad Movement, Alaa Al-Rikabi, is calling for action against the U.S. government for its support of Israel and attacks on Gaza, rejecting what he called the ongoing American occupation of Iraq.

Al-Rikabi had begun collecting signatures from members of parliament with the aim of closing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad shortly after a call made by the leader of the Sadr Movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr.

In an interview with journalist Ahmed Mulla Talal, Al-Rikabi stated:

We have submitted a request to send relief aid to Gaza, but the government has not yet approved it, and we are ready to depart tonight if the government agrees. Why do they threaten us with hunger if we close the U.S. Embassy? The question should be, what are our funds doing in America?

If the United States is a friendly country, it should deal with us as a friendly state, and cutting ties with it should not result in the starvation of the people. We have been under collective sanctions for twenty years, and we are still under Chapter VII.

The government should not talk about the risks of closing the U.S. Embassy but should answer why our money remains in the United States.

Our silence means giving a green light to Israel to continue killing thousands in Gaza.

Al-Sudani said that there is no place for Palestinians except their land. We have granted Palestinians all their rights in Iraq, but we reject being between two options, normalization or displacement and annihilation; there is always a third and fourth solution.

We need a bold decision from the government and parliament to recognize the state of Palestine with its 1948 borders and its capital, Jerusalem.

We will stand in front of the U.S. Embassy with a group of parliament members and hand them the resolution that we will issue in an exceptional session. We are not seeking hostility with any country, but we want our country’s sovereignty and our opinion to be respected, and withdrawing ambassadors is a common practice worldwide, and there is no need to exaggerate it.

The Americans should respect the aspirations of the Iraqi street. We do not have militias or rockets to target the embassy; we are speaking legally.

We tell the American decision-makers, you are a ‘superpower’ on yourselves, not on us.