Iraq asks Saudi Arabia to Replace Ambassador

Sabhan was the first Saudi ambassador appointed since the embassy's reopening

Iraq has demanded that Saudi Arabia should replace its ambassador in Baghdad after he said that Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary units were aggravating tensions with Sunni Muslims in Iraq.

The request made by the Iraqi foreign minister’s office on Sunday is a result of complaints by Iraqis that the Saudi ambassador, Thamer al-Sabhan, is seeking to diminish the influence of Shia politicians in Iraq.

“The presence of Sabhan is an obstacle to the development of relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” Ahmed Jamal, Iraq’s foreign ministry spokesman, said in comments to Al Aahd, a TV channel that belongs to Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed Shia militia.

Diplomat Thamer al-Sabhan had called for the exclusion of Shia paramilitary units from Iraq’s campaign against ISIL.

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