The Iraqi supreme court has issued an arrest warrant for former U.S. President Donald Trump for the assassination on Iraqi soil of Iran’s Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, IraqiNews reports, citing a Baghdad news agency.
The warrant was issued on Thursday in connection both with the killing of Soleimani and of another Iraqi militia leader, chief of staff of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq–both of whom were killed in a drone strike in January 2020 near the Baghdad airport.
That assassination operation led to Iranian strikes on the Aia Al-Assad U.S. base in Iraq.
The arrest warrant charges Trump with premeditated murder. While the warrant is clearly symbolic, a conviction of this nature carries the death penalty.
The court said the investigation into the killings was still ongoing, AP reported.
Citing Baghdad Today news agency, IraqiNews quoted Supreme Judicial Council head Faiq Zaidban as calling on Baghdad to hold Trump “accountable for this heinous crime”.
At the same time, in November, Iraq’s parliamentary speaker confirmed that hundreds–and possibly thousands–of people had been kidnapped and killed by Iran-backed militias from 2014 to 2016.
Iraq, the second-largest oil producer in OPEC, is caught between rivals Iran and the United States, while Iran’s influence has grown exponentially since the toppling of Saddam Hussein following the 2003 U.S. invasion.
In October, ending a long-running stalemate, Iraq’s parliament named a new pro-Iranian prime minister and pro-Iranian parties now dominate, having sidelined Shi’ite rival Moqtada al Sadr, who had been paralyzing the government with anti-Iranian protests.
The PMF figure assassinated in a Trump-ordered military operation represented the head of an umbrella group that brought together pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, which enjoyed government support as a loosely defined element of the Iraqi armed forces.