Nov. 10, 2022

Deep Dive: Is rare killing of US citizen tied to battle over Iraq’s top spy agency?


The story: A shadowy Shiite armed group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the rare assassination of an American citizen in Baghdad. Given the perpetrator’s apparent links with Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq, which is maneuvering to lead Iraq’s main intelligence and security agencies, speculations have emerged of grander political objectives being at play. Of further note, the assassination has been followed by reported Israeli airstrikes along the Iraq-Syria border.

The coverage: Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya TV on Nov. 8 quoted Ashab Al-Kahf as claiming responsibility for the killing of 45-year-old Stephen Edward Troell. It described the assassination as “retaliation for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani… and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.”

  • Soleimani was the previous commander of Iran’s extraterritorial Quds Force while Muhandis was deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). The two men were killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport in Jan. 2020.

However, some analysts have questioned the authenticity of the reports on Ashab Al-Kahf having claimed the killing, saying that the group has not directly issued any statement...

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Amwaj. media articles are authored by our team. ... Full Bio