At a time when its militias displayed their strength in Baghdad, and the Houthis carried out a major attack on Aden airport, and Hezbollah displayed its strength in Lebanon, according to the word of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, Iran exercised extreme caution in dealing with the United States in a crucial period of power transfer between President Donald Trump, whom Tehran considers one of its staunch enemies, and President-elect Joe Biden, whom it views as president, completes the policies of former President Barack Obama in dealing with them.
Baghdad, Sanaa and Beirut, in addition to Tehran and major Iranian cities, witnessed large gatherings to praise Soleimani’s role in extending Iranian influence in the Middle East through his leadership of the famous Quds Force, and the participants vowed the United States with revenge. However, Iraqi militia leaders, where Iraq is the first point of friction now, responded to Iranian calls for calm and promised not to target US forces or direct missiles or mortars towards the US embassy in Baghdad or to invade it by the crowds.
The human parade in Baghdad was preceded by the circulation of different scenarios and information about the nature of the Iranian response on the first anniversary of the bold American operation, which claimed the life of the most important Iranian general in the last three decades, and the most important field commander of the Popular Mobilization Militia.
Among these scenarios, the elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were to wear civilian clothes in a demonstration under control, directed to storm the Green Zone in central Baghdad, with the intention of entering the US embassy and burning it, after which this act was justified as a mass spontaneous, and Iran has no involvement in it.
However, the last hours of Saturday carried many developments, including the Iraqi government’s explanation to the Iranians that the United States would respond violently to any attempt to storm its embassy in Baghdad.
For its part, the government announced the closure of many roads leading to the Green Zone and Baghdad airport, under the pretext of protecting demonstrations, and the truth is that the goal is to prevent any human encroachment towards the US embassy.
Iraqi official sources said that the military units responsible for securing the Green Zone have actually entered into a state of high alert since Friday, to face any scenario that includes storming the US embassy.
With the advent of the first hours of Sunday, it became clear that Iran might be content with its human parade in Baghdad on the anniversary of the assassination of its most prominent general and his most important aide, which actually happened, while adding a bit of excitement to the scene.
Iran tried to bring out an unconventional demonstration, as the organizers pre-empted the descent of the popular crowd in civilian clothes to specific streets in Baghdad, by hanging pictures of Soleimani and the engineer on the Turkish restaurant in Tahrir Square, a symbol of the Iraqi demonstrations that began in October 2019 and toppled the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi, which was installed by Tehran.
Participants in organizing the mass demonstration said that orders were issued to all factions of the Popular Mobilization Forces loyal to Iran to send their members wearing civilian clothes to specific locations in Baghdad.
It seemed that Iran was actually seeking to avenge the demonstrations that shattered its prestige in Iraq and overthrew its government in Baghdad, blaming it for the responsibility of encouraging the Americans to kill Soleimani and the engineer.
At the assassination site inside Baghdad airport, Faleh al-Fayyad, the leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), took the pulpit and described US President Donald Trump as “villainous”, because he directed the assassination of Soleimani and the engineer.
In Sanaa, the repeated media appearance of the Iranian ambassador to the Houthi militia, Hassan Erlo, raised many questions about the timing of this overt Iranian activity in Yemen, and the nature of the messages that Tehran would like to send to the international community, after it had denied for years that it provided any support to the Houthi group that controlled the state. In an armed coup in September of 2014.
Yemeni political sources said that the officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hassan Erlo, who did not yet know the details of his arrival to Yemen and his appointment by the Houthis as the Iranian regime’s ambassador to the coup authority, is trying to appear as an Iranian military ruler in Sanaa, at a time when international pressure is mounting to end the war. In Yemen.