What were Qasem Soleimani and Khamenei’s son doing in Baghdad?

Hassan Al-Saidy, Al Arabiya

Just hours after a storage site housing ballots from Iraq’s parliamentary election caught fire, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq has invited on Sunday Mojtaba Khamenei, son of the Iranian Supreme Leader, and Qasem Soleimani, senior Revolutionary Guard officer, for an Iftar meal at the embassy headquarters.

The Iftar feast was also attended by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who heads the State of Law coalition, and Hady al-Amri, head of the Fatah List.

Sources speaking to Al Arabiya English on condition of anonymity said that the Iftar feast prepared by the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad included senior Iranian leaders as well as leaders from Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Movement, along with other officials from Al-Maliki and Al-Amri alliances.

Talks during the Iftar meal were mainly focused about the future of selecting the those who will be part of the majority bloc which will be tasked to shape the upcoming government.

The talks mentioned plans to form a coalition that includes the State of Law bloc led by al-Maliki, which has 29 seats, in addition to Al-Fateh with its 48 seats, the Kurdish blocs with 43 seats, along with some other small blocs that intend to merge with the State of Law coalition.

All will form an alliance with more than 120 seats, while direct talks are being conducted with leaders of the Victory Coalition, led by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, to join to the coalition, in order to reach 175 seats.

This presence of Iranian officials, the sources said, reflect the blatant Iranian meddling in Iraq’s national affairs, with aims to form a coalition majority of more seats than that of Moqtada al-Sadr’s list, which has 120.

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