Even before the shock of the brazen killing wore off, Iraqi factions were weighing their responses. Militias with ties to Iran vowed bloody revenge. The prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, condemned the attack as “an outrageous breach to Iraqi sovereignty” and said Parliament would meet to discuss the future of the United States presence in Iraq.
Anti-government protesters, who have been protesting Iran’s stifling influence in the country, were worried their movement could be snuffed out by pro-Iran militias. And throughout the country, there was the familiar feeling that Iraq was a mere bystander in the broader geopolitical conflict between the United States and Iran taking place on Iraqi soil.
More broadly, the events raised a single, overarching question: can the United States maintain a cooperative security relationship with Iraq given the upheaval the assassination has provoked? The question was already coursing through the halls of power in Baghdad, even as the Trump administration said Friday that it was rushing new troops to the region in response to the crisis.