Billboards that read “Death to America – Death to Israel” have popped up in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital this past week. According to reports, there are at least five large signs in central Baghdad, some less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, the Iraqi presidential palace, and the national government’s headquarters.
According to CBS, the signs appear to be apart of a campaign by Iran, carried out through proxy groups that directly threaten U.S. troops in Iraq. The goal is to demonstrate it’s strength and reach in the region as tensions between the capitol and Tehran near conflict.
“The billboards erected in the streets of Baghdad are evidence of the government’s inability to control pro-Iranian groups who want to drag Iraq into an international conflict that endangers the country’s future on behalf of Iran,” Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Iraq’s Nineveh province, stated last week.
Iraqi political analyst and former presidential adviser Hiwa Osman told CBS News the signs show how firm a camp Iran has in Iraq. “There isn’t a difference between Iran and its militias inside Iraq,” Osman said.
He continued to say hard-line Iranian factions in the country are undoubtedly behind the billboards, “sending the message that should conflict arise (between Iran and the U.S.), they are on the Iranian side.”
“America doesn’t scare anyone” in Iraq, but “Iran does,” Osman, who was an adviser to the Iraqi president from 2005 to 2008 stated. “If you speak against America nothing happens. If you speak against Iran, you are likely to get killed.”
One of the Baghdad billboards includes a violent depiction of the Statue of Liberty and President Donald Trump. The text from the sign reads: “The U.S. is responsible for the region’s insecurity and instability,” in regards to supporting Israel.