One Stop shop for Daily Digest - News, Views and analysis of the political developments of the Horn of Africa. Now you can follow by email alerts situated at the bottom. Please feel free to forward any item of interest - it is your blog too (Make it your Home Page)
Sunday, 21 August 2016
Iran Plots to Assassinate Saudi Ambassador to Iraq
This undated file photo shows Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq Thamer Al-Sabhan. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
London – It seems that Iran is plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Iraq Thamer al-Sabhan using RPJ7 rockets on his armored car.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Iraqi Shia militias have three plots to attack and that the militias are directly-linked to Iran. Of these militias the sources revealed Khorasan Battalions and another group that works with the Secretary General of Abu Fadl al-Abbas Forces Ous al-Khafaji.
A source told Asharq Al-Awsat over the phone that each plot is different, but the operation is set to happen as soon as possible. He explained that Khorasan Battalions’ plot was uncovered, while the plot of Abu Fadl al-Abbas Forces was revealed in the past few days.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi security official revealed information that one of the assassination plots was to get rid of the ambassador and his statements against Iran and its followers in Iraq. In addition to that, it would create a political and diplomatic issue between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The official, who is currently visiting Beirut, said that the security forces were able to track the plot set by Khorasan. “We tracked phone calls between members of this militia and personnel at Baghdad International Airport who belong to the Khorasan battalions. They were alerting them about the ambassador’s travel plans from and to Baghdad.”
The official detailed that plan which included using fake plate numbers of Ministry of Interior to intercept the Saudi Ambassador’s barricade on the airport’s road. The assassination was to be done using RPG7 missile since the ambassador’s cars are armored. Then the cars would escape to the Sunni area al-Radwaneyye to hide its identity and blame ISIS for the assassination.
The Iraqi official revealed the content of the message they intercepted between the members of the militias which said: “We are waiting Hajji Sbahi to arrive to receiving him at the guesthouse.” He explained that Hajji Sbahi is the popular name used in southern countryside of Iraq referring to the Ambassador Subhan. Whereas the guesthouse is the point of execution.
The person at the airport working with Khorasan battalion has been captured. The official said that they weren’t able to reach to the whole group consisting of eight members distributed on two cars. He added that the members changed their phone numbers and are acting cautiously.
A member confessed that an Iranian officer set the plan and overlooked the execution. Yet, it wasn’t successful because of the high security procedures of the ambassador.
“Unfortunately, the member we arrested had been released by the judge due to lack of evidence and the influence of Khorasan Battalion within the ministry of interior which is under the command of Badr organization,” said the source.
The source also suggested that the ambassador and his members of the embassy use helicopters when going from the embassy in al-Rashid Hotel to the airport. The ambassador had requested the Ministry of Interior to provide a helicopter, but the ministry rejected his request.
“Thank god Khorasan failed in its assassination attempt. It would have been a security scandal. Iraq needs the diplomatic effort to enhance its relations with the countries of Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia,” the source added that Iraqi armed militias are the strongest because of the Iranian support and training.