Live: Swedish embassy stormed again

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Sherwani was serving a 6-year prison sentence before today's verdict. 

In 2021, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said his sentencing "is not only unfair and disproportionate, but it also proves that the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government has finally dropped the pretense of caring about press freedom."

At the time, the CPJ criticized the trial and said "the case against Iraqi Kurdish journalists Sherwan Amin Sherwani and Guhdar Zebari was built on flimsy and circumstantial evidence, five observers of the journalists’ Erbil trial last month told CPJ. Their six-year prison sentences on anti-state charges represent a new low for press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan."

The case against Iraqi Kurdish journalists Sherwan Amin Sherwani and Guhdar Zebari was built on flimsy and circumstantial evidence, five observers of the journalists’ Erbil trial last month told CPJ. Their six-year prison sentences on anti-state charges represent a new low for press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to rights groups representatives, journalists, and an Iraqi Kurdish...
Committee to Protect Journalists
Activists have accused Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, of employing a military mentality to suppress dissent in the region. They are calling on the public to protest the new sentencing.
Family and friends express outcry as Erbil security forces imprison Sherwan Sherwani, following a four-year sentence.

Full statement by Sadr

Welcome, in the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. I have a few points to discuss and leave in your hands.

The burning of the Quran and the Iraqi flag in Muharram al-Haram makes this issue all-encompassing and larger, as it impacts all Islamic sects. From here, I call on all Islamic sects to unite in order to support the religion and the sects.

An important point to note is that I have heard America's condemnation of the burning and breach of the Swedish embassy in beloved Baghdad. I say that the state of terrorism and the state of homosexuality has no right to denounce such a spontaneous popular action.

It has been reported that there was an attack on the security forces at the Swedish embassy. I say, emphatically, no. There was no attack, and the security forces are not those who defend the embassy of Quran burners and homosexuals. The people are with the security forces and the security forces are with the people.

Furthermore, I did not want escalation after the Quran was burned a second time and the Iraqi flag was burned. Why? Because my image was also raised by this sinful person. I do not want the reaction to be personal, so any escalation should only occur if such an incident is repeated.

I call on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to convene immediately to discuss the burning of the Quran and to support Islam. I also call on the League of Arab States to convene, either in Iraq or elsewhere, to support Islam. I hope that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran will take a stronger stance on this matter.

I implore the countries of the world to enact a law that criminalizes the burning of the Quran and deems it a terrorist crime. Just as crimes against anti-Semitism and the LGBTQ+ community are considered criminal, the burning of the Quran should also be deemed a crime. If not, it reveals a double standard in the principles of democracy and freedom.

Burning the Quran will exacerbate differences in the world and destabilize global security. At the same time, it will prevent normalization with Israel. Islamic and Arab countries are angry, and from now on, Israel will not normalize relations with them.

There is an apparent lethargy among Islamic populations in supporting Islam and the Quran. So, I invite them to take a serious and real stand in order to support Islam.

An important point to note is that the insult to the Quran occurred in Sweden. This doesn't indicate that the Swedish people are against the Quran and against Iraq in the burning of the Iraqi flag. We are against the Swedish government, not the Swedish people. We have good relations with them and, God willing, we will continue to do so with the Swedish people.

Likewise, the burning of the Quran was committed by a Christian, but this does not mean that he represents Christianity. Christians are our brothers in religion, not only in Iraq but across the world. The government must protect Christians within Iraq.

In European countries, especially Sweden, we did not see a response from the people to the burning of the Quran or support for the Quran. Therefore, I call on them, in the sacred month of Muharram, to perform Husaynia rituals in Europe, particularly in Sweden, to support the Quran, Islam, and the sects.

Here are five takeaways from Sadr's press conference

  1. Sadr condemned the burning of the Quran and the Iraqi flag. He called for unity among all Islamic sects in support of the religion and expressed hope for more robust responses from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
  2. He dismissed American criticism — which he described as coming from "the state of terrorism and the state of homosexuals" — of the events at the Swedish embassy (which he referred to as "the embassy of homosexuals") in Baghdad. Sadr characterized these as a "spontaneous popular action," and denied any attack on security forces. He suggested the U.S. should condemn the Quran burning instead.
  3. Sadr advised against personal retaliation for such offenses, emphasizing that responses should not escalate due to personal affronts. He warned of potential escalation if such incidents are repeated. He urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States to convene meetings regarding these actions.
  4. He advocated for 'international legislation' criminalizing the burning of the Quran, viewing it as a terrorist act. He equated it with hate crimes against Jews and the LGBTQ+ community, criticizing the perceived double standards in global democracies.
  5. Sadr made a distinction between governments, peoples, and individuals. He stated that the actions of one person do not represent the sentiments of all Christians or all Swedes. He called for the support of Islam and the Quran in Europe, encouraged the performance of Husaynia rituals during Muharram to express this support, and underscored the importance of protecting Christians in Iraq.

In closing, he warned that the incident would hinder normalization with Israel, stating, "Islamic and Arab countries are angry, and Israel will not normalize relations with it from now on."

Iraqi parliament rages against the 'tolerance' of Swedish officials towards Quran desecration

The Iraqi Parliament has articulated its rage and outright dismissal of the Swedish authorities' tolerance and protection of perceived attacks on Islamic sanctities, notably the burning of the Quran and the Iraqi flag. House Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi supports the Iraqi government's decision to cut diplomatic ties with Sweden and expel the Swedish ambassador from Iraq.

Parliament issued a statement expressing its condemnation of Sweden's "act of hostility," expressing disappointment over the deterioration of relations between the two nations. The statement implores Swedish authorities to mend the bilateral relationship via diplomatic channels while reinforcing the Council's backing of the Iraqi government's actions to uphold the dignity of Muslims and Iraqis through diplomacy.

The statement also proposes the adoption of legislation criminalizing disrespect towards religious beliefs and symbols to avert similar incidents in the future.

Translated statement

The Council [Of Representatives]'s Speaker, on behalf of the populace and the Council's Presidency, voiced his anger and utter rejection of the Swedish authorities' permitting and safeguarding the recurrent violation of Muslim sanctities by assaulting the sanctity of the Holy Quran. He stressed the Council's Presidency's endorsement of the Iraqi government's steps to sever diplomatic relations with Sweden and the decision to expel the Swedish ambassador from Iraq.

Members of the Council read a statement condemning the burning of the Holy Quran. They expressed deep regret over the state of relations with Sweden following its authorities' repeated allowance of Quran and Iraqi flag burning in front of the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, Sweden's capital.

The statement further indicated that Sweden had initiated this act of hostility against Iraq. The Council condemned Sweden's irresponsible act, urging Swedish authorities to mend the bilateral relationship that Iraq was eager to maintain through responsible diplomatic channels. The statement underlined the Council's support for the Iraqi government's measures to do what's necessary to protect the dignity of Muslims first and Iraqis second through diplomatic means. The statement also advocates for legislation criminalizing the violation of religious beliefs and symbols to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.

The KDP's Political Bureau condemns burning of both embassy and Quran

On behalf of the Political Bureau of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), we condemn the raid and burning of the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad and consider this behavior a violation of the constitution, laws, and international norms.

At the same time, we condemn the burning of the Holy Quran. We stand against the burning and disrespect of the holy books of all religions, and we support Mr. Sudani and the Iraqi Federal Government in their efforts to take legal action to prevent such acts from recurring.

Mahmoud Mohammed
Spokesperson of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)


The SCF calls on Iraqis to protest tomorrow

The Shiite Coordination Framework has called on Iraqis to protest on Friday in response to the repeated incidents of Quran burning in Sweden.

The charge d'affaires at the Iraqi embassy in the Swedish capital is been ordered to pack up and return to Iraq.

"The Prime Minister Mr Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recall the Iraqi chargé d'affaires from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Additionally, he ordered the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad to leave Iraqi territory. 

This response comes in light of the Swedish government's repeated permissions to burn the Noble Quran, insult Islamic sanctities, and burn the Iraqi flag."
The spokesperson for the Iraqi commander-in-chief just posted this photo. Expect strong reactions following the warnings from Sadr and Sudani.

More details on the US response via AFP

The United States has issued a strong condemnation on Thursday of the attack by protesters on Sweden's embassy in Baghdad, deeming it "unacceptable" that Iraqi security forces did little to protect the diplomatic mission.

"The United States strongly condemns the attack on the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad in the early hours of July 20," stated State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller.

He added, "It is unacceptable that Iraqi Security Forces did not act to prevent protestors from breaching the Swedish Embassy compound for a second time and damaging it."

There are also reports that pro-Iranian militias in Iraq are now urging their followers to target Swedish citizens in Iraq, labeling them as "Supporters of Zionism”. Specifically, the Ash’ab Al-Kahaf militia has issued a statement calling on its supporters to target Swedish interests and citizens in Iraq.

More on the Ericsson licence suspension

Iraqi authorities said Thursday they had suspended the license of Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson after Stockholm had allowed a protest to go ahead in which the Quran was to be burnt.

Media and Telecommunications Authority president Ali Al-Mouayad "has suspended the operating license of the Swedish company Ericsson on Iraqi territory", said a statement carried by state news agency INA, calling it a response to "the authorisation given by the Swedish state to burn the Quran and the Iraqi flag".

The protester in the end desecrated the Islamic holy book by stepping on it and kicking it but did not burn it.

US says it's 'unacceptable' that Iraq forces didn't protect the Swedish embassy in attack.

Sadr speech expected in just over two hours

Oh boy.

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan condemns the Quran burning

"The Political Bureau of the PUK condemns the phenomenon of the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden, which would produce tensions between the two countries as well as other reactions.

In this regard, while endorsing the formal and diplomatic actions of the Iraqi government, we urge the Swedish government to treat Muslims’ sanctities with greater responsibility."


The Iraqi government has announced a complete severance of diplomatic relations with Sweden, asking its ambassador to depart the country. This decision is in response to the burning of the Holy Quran and the Iraqi flag, along with the insult towards Islamic sanctities.

Government of Iraq on Twitter


Just to provide some much-needed context to the decision to suspend Ericsson's operating licence in Iraq

Ericsson pleaded guilty of US federal bribery violations due to alleged dealings with the Islamic State during the latter's occupation of swaths of Iraq.

Its operating licence wasn't suspended.

Nouri Al-Maliki hails decision to cut ties

"We support the government's decision to withdraw Iraqi representation from Sweden and demand the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad to leave Iraqi territory.

This action is in defense of the sanctity of the Holy Quran, Islamic sanctities, and Iraqi sovereignty.

We call on Islamic countries to emulate Iraq's stance by severing relations with Sweden and expelling ambassadors. This will serve as a deterrent to anyone permitting aggression against Islam, Muslims, and all divine religions."

It's more than just diplomatic ties that are (seemingly) out the door

Throwing the 3G out with the bathwater.

Iraq severs ties with Sweden

Sudani seemingly makes good on his threat. More to come. 
Here is the live footage of the protest taking place right now in Stockholm

Government orders release of photojournalists detained covering protests

Government spokesperson Bassem Al-Awadi has announced that his administration has ordered the release of journalists detained during the incident of the Swedish Embassy burning.

No details yet on who gave the order to arrest them and on what basis. Nor why they were detained for so long.

Unami condemns attack on embassy

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (Unami) has condemned the assault on the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad.
"While the right to peaceful assembly is fundamental, priority must be given to everyone's safety and respect for the Vienna Convention. Responding to hate speech with violence benefits no one," the Unami statement read.

Khamis Khanjar throws weight behind Sudani threat to sever relations

The Sunni Al-Azem Alliance, led by Khamis Al-Khanjar, has voiced its support for the government's statement vowing to sever diplomatic ties with Sweden if an incident involving the burning of the Holy Quran is repeated.
The stage is set for a protest slated for later today outside the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm. However, the weather isn't cooperating

Meanwhile, a demonstration is taking place in Baghdad against a planned concert that has been deemed offensive to religious sanctities.


Journalist Sherwan Sherwani sentences to four years imprisonment

Journalist Sherwan Sherwani was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday. The new charge focused on whether Sherwani had falsified a document by signing on behalf of fellow imprisoned journalist Ghudar Zebari without permission. Zebari testified in court that while he didn't know Sherwani had done this, they had an ongoing agreement that allowed it.

The courtroom erupted in shouts from supporters watching the trial after the verdict was announced. Sherwani was already serving time for charges widely perceived as politically motivated.

Sherwani's attorney said in a press conference, as cited by NRT Kurdish, that the court's decision is political and lacks any legal basis.

The State Department earlier said it was in 'continuous dialogue' with Iraqi officials over the Cardinal Sako issue

Earlier, the State Department revealed it has been in continuous dialogue with the Iraqi government, pressing them to reverse their decision, which it views as "a setback for religious freedom".

The Christian community in Iraq has been under significant strain, with its population dwindling from over 1.5 million before the American invasion in 2003 to fewer than 300,000 currently.

Switching gears now to the recent decision by Iraq's president to revoke a decree concerning Cardinal Louis Sako

In a lengthy statement released today, the president's spokesperson expressed "disappointment" over recent remarks by the US State Department. The president plans to summon US embassy officials in Baghdad over the issue.

The statement refutes accusations that the "Presidency Office or the Iraqi Government is attacking religious freedom and harming the Christian community. Not only is this categorically false, it is harmful to the very foundations of this state and the significant progress it has made in fostering a tolerant and equal society."

The US had voiced concern about the "harassment" of Cardinal Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, following President Abdul Latif Rashid's decision to revoke a decree formally recognizing Cardinal Sako and granting him powers over Christian endowment affairs. This has led to tensions between the government and Iraq's Christian community.

The cardinal has since relocated from Baghdad to a monastery in the Kurdistan Region.

Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the State Department, expressed concern about attacks on the cardinal's position, especially from Rayan al-Kildani, leader of the nominally Christian Babylon Movement, a party and militia affiliated with pro-Iran forces.

President Rashid insists the original decree was "constitutionally invalid, did not grant any additional authority to Cardinal Sako. Revoking it will not take away from him any authority. The revoke does not and will not change the Cardinal’s duties or status. This decision is simply a correction of a past error."

The statement concludes by saying, "To reverse this decision, as suggested by Mr Miller and the State Department, would be futile and a clear violation of the Constitution that Iraqis and Americans have both fought and sacrificed for. It would also undermine every effort made to strengthen the internal structures, legal frameworks, and Constitution of Iraq. Iraqis can and will defend their constitution as fiercely as other nations do."
In response to the remarks made by Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, against the Iraqi Government, regarding the Presidential decision to revoke a decree recognising Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as head of the Christian Church in Iraq

Swedish interests may be harmed by crisis – analyst

Public service broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) quotes an analyst predicting an escalation in tensions not only from Shia Muslims and Iraqis but also from Muslims worldwide.

Mohammad Fazlhashemi suggests these reactions could impact Swedish economic interests, especially if the situation deteriorates, and states that Sweden's image has already suffered due to the events.

He further cautions that in a worst-case scenario, extremist Islamist groups advocating violence could become involved, potentially leading to violent acts.

20 taken into custody

An Iraqi security source tells AFP about 20 protesters at the Swedish embassy had been taken into custody.

"They don't understand how it works in Sweden," says a Swedish reporter

STV journalist Gilda Hamidi-Nia is spot-on here. Many Iraqis can't comprehend how the Swedish government is unable to prevent an individual from engaging in such acts. Indeed, Stockholm has condemned it.

Lessons on the separation of powers , rule-of-law, and devolved administration may be required here, but who cares when there are embassies to burn.
Flera hundra personer har stormat den svenska ambassaden i Iraks huvudstad Bagdad och satt eld på den. Ambassadpersonalen befinner sig i säkerhet, uppger UD. Nu hotar Irak med att bryta diplomatiska kontakter till Sverige om Koranen bränns igen, skriver Reuters.
SVT Nyheter

Finnish embassy evacuated – STV

Swedish STV reports that the staff at the Finnish embassy in Baghdad have also been evacuated and are safe, according to the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
The embassies of Sweden and Finland are located adjacently on a shared plot of land.
Did Sadr know that the PM was going to issue a statement threatening to sever diplomatic ties with Sweden before issuing his own statement, calling on Baghdad to do more than merely condemn? Sadr's statement was released 15 minutes before the PM's statement.

Either way, he’ll definitely take credit for it.

Now let's hear what former PM Nouri Al-Maliki, the arch-rival of Sadr, has to say:

"The Swedish government's decision to again permit the desecration and burning of the Holy Quran, coupled with allowing the Iraqi flag to be burnt in front of the Iraqi embassy, represents a provocation to all Muslims, particularly Iraqis. It demonstrates Sweden's departure from its democratic principles and traditions, and its inclination towards actions that infringe upon others.

The international community's silence and indifference in the face of these unjustifiable violations of Muslim sanctities seemingly offers a green light for further aggression against the feelings and sanctities of Muslims. This requires us to stand and support all steps that contribute to addressing the attacks and infringements against Muslims and the desecration of their Islamic sanctities, utilizing peaceful means and the channels provided by diplomatic norms and international law."
Per AFP: Shiite followers of influential cleric Moqtada Sadr were among demonstrators at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, carrying Qurans and portraits of Sadr and his revered late father. After a chaotic night, calm was restored by morning, with the extent of fire damage to the embassy currently unknown.

As we brought to you earlier, Sweden's foreign ministry confirmed the safety of its employees during the unrest, underscoring that protection of diplomatic missions falls under the responsibility of Iraqi authorities. The incident is labeled a "serious violation of the Vienna Convention."

Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika previously organized a Quran burning during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha at Stockholm's largest mosque, prompting a brief storming of the Swedish embassy in Baghdad by Sadr's followers.

Statement from Iraqi foreign ministry

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns in the strongest terms the incident of burning the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in Baghdad, at dawn today, Thursday, corresponding to 7/20/2023. This act comes in the context of assaulting diplomatic missions and threatening their security.

The Ministry confirms that the Iraqi government has instructed the competent security authorities to conduct an urgent investigation and take the necessary security measures in order to uncover the circumstances of the incident and identify the perpetrators of this act and hold them accountable according to the law.

Once again, we find ourselves here

The Swedish Embassy in Baghdad has been stormed and torched by hundreds of Iraqi protestors, angered by an expected Quran burning later today in Stockholm. We have covered this extensively: the issue here lies between how Swedish law perceives religious symbols and how some of the Muslim world interprets protests through the desecration of a copy of the Quran.

According to the Swedish constitution, the right to free expression and protest in Sweden is protected. However, it is crucial to note a significant distinction that many overlook: religions (as opposed to the people who follow a religion) are not protected.

So, what happened in Baghdad?

Iraqi riot police used electric batons and water cannons to disperse the angry demonstrators who had scaled the walls and were hurling stones at them. Sweden reported that all its embassy staff were safe. "We didn't wait until morning, we broke in at dawn and set fire to the Swedish embassy," AFP quoted a young demonstrator during the protest, as smoke billowed into the sky.

The anticipated Quran burning in Sweden, approved for Thursday by authorities on free speech grounds, will be the second incident of its kind within weeks in the Nordic country. On June 28, Sweden-based Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika also burned pages of the Islamic holy text outside a Stockholm mosque, igniting a wave of indignation and anger across the Muslim world. Momika confirmed on Facebook, as per Swedish media reports, that he was one of the organizers of the planned event, this time outside Iraq's embassy, where they were also planning to burn the Iraqi flag.

One of the Iraqi protesters in Baghdad, Hassan Ahmed, told AFP, "We are mobilized today to denounce the burning of the Quran, which is all about love and faith. We demand that the Swedish government and the Iraqi government stop this type of action."

Full statement by Iraq's prime minister

The Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Mr. Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, chaired an emergency meeting on Thursday morning. The meeting, which included the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interior, the Head of the National Security Agency, the Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Service, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Deputy Commander of Joint Operations, was convened in light of the Swedish government granting a license to burn the Holy Quran and the incident of the Swedish embassy in Baghdad being set on fire.

The meeting condemned the burning of the embassy, viewing it as a security breach that must be addressed immediately, with those responsible for security held accountable.

During the emergency meeting, it was decided to refer those responsible for burning the embassy, who were arrested, to the judiciary. Negligent security officials will also face investigation, and legal measures will be taken against them. In this regard, the Iraqi government reiterates its commitment to the security and protection of all diplomatic missions and to confront any attack targeting them.

The Iraqi government confirms that it informed the Swedish government yesterday, via diplomatic channels, of its intention to sever diplomatic relations with Sweden should the incident of burning the Noble Quran be repeated on its lands, and if approvals are granted under the pretext of freedom of expression. The government emphasized that such provocative actions violate international covenants and norms respecting religious beliefs, posing a threat to peace and inciting a culture of violence and hatred.

Iraq condemns the Swedish authorities' ongoing provocative positions that disrespect others' beliefs and sanctities.

More on the Sudani ultimatum

PM Sudani holds crisis talks over planned Quran burning
PM Sudani holds crisis talks over planned Quran burning   credit: PM's media office
Following an urgent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sudani, Baghdad has informed Stockholm that it will sever diplomatic relations with Sweden if the Quran-burning incident recurs under the pretext of freedom of expression.

Again, the Swedish government cannot just stop protests it doesn't find diplomatically convenient. 

Full text of the readout from this meeting coming up.

Sadr chimes in

Influential Shia cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr has issued a statement on his Twitter asserting that burning the Iraqi flag is a 'red line'.

He declares that Sweden's permission to burn the Iraqi flag amounts to a declaration of hostility and a breach of diplomatic norms. He insists that Baghdad must respond decisively if the Iraqi flag is burned, stating, "The government should not be content with denunciation and condemnation…for that indicates weakness and submissiveness."

Moreover, if the Quran is burnt once more, he suggests that the burning of the Torah and the Bible would not be an adequate response. The Muslim world must defend these divine matters, he warns, otherwise, something significant could occur and it 'might be too late.'

Sounds ominous and aggressively ambiguous as Sadr can often be. Pretty sure the Swedish flag was burned in Baghdad protests weeks back. Multiple times.

Full translation of his cryptic crossword puzzle of a statement

After Sweden declared its hostility towards Islam and the heavenly books, denying belief in such outward and esoteric heavenly matters, it crossed diplomatic lines and political norms. By agreeing to burn the Iraqi flag, it has declared its hostility towards Iraq. 

I am awaiting a firm official response before taking any action of my own. According to my understanding, if the Iraqi flag is indeed burned, the government should not be content with mere denunciation and condemnation...for that suggests weakness and submissiveness. 

As for burning the Quran again, it cannot be equated with burning the Torah and the Bible. People must support the heavens; otherwise, something significant will occur, and it will be too late.

Prime Minister threatens to sever ties with Sweden if Quran is burnt again

Wire incoming via AFP that the Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani is threatening to sever ties with Sweden if the protest goes ahead today.

We'd like to remind readers that the Swedish government, which operates based on rule-of-law, has very little power to stop lawful protests.


Water cannons used to disperse protestors

Iraqi riot police used water cannon early Thursday to disperse protesters from Sweden's embassy in Baghdad, an AFP photographer said, after the building was set on fire in protest of a planned Koran burning in Stockholm.

Security forces armed with electric batons chased protesters away from the embassy, the AFP photographer said.


Here's the full statement by Sweden's FM

At 2AM local time last night, violent demonstrators stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. The embassy office was stormed, vandalized, and set ablaze.

Less than a month ago, a similar event took place. What has occurred is completely unacceptable, and the government strongly condemns these attacks.

Iraqi authorities have an unequivocal obligation to protect diplomatic missions and diplomatic personnel under the Vienna Convention. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities have seriously failed in this responsibility.

The government is in contact with high-level Iraqi representatives to express our consternation. Iraq's chargé d'affaires in Stockholm will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the same purpose.

Fortunately, the staff at the Swedish embassy managed to reach safety. The government is currently reviewing what further measures need to be taken due to this incident.
In a response to protesters storming and setting fires within Swedish embassy compound in Baghdad, Sweden's foreign minister announced on Thursday that the country is summoning Iraq's charge d'affaires in Stockholm. 

The actions of the protesters are "completely unacceptable," and the government condemns these attacks in the strongest terms, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in a statement. He reminded that the Vienna Convention obliges Iraqi authorities to protect diplomatic missions and personnel unequivocally. He also confirmed that Iraq's charge d'affaires would be summoned to the foreign ministry.

This is especially awkward given how Billstrom spoke to his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, yesterday. Hussein pledged Iraq's commitment to protecting diplomatic missions. Hours later, the embassy is literally on fire. 

Morning briefing

Good morning, everyone. Here is what we are watching today:

  • The Iraqi PM is holding an urgent meeting following the storming of Sweden's embassy in baghdad, during which it was set on fire. These actions were driven by anger over an scheduled burning of the Quran later today in Stockholm. Sweden has shut down its embassy, and its Foreign Minister stated that the country is summoning Iraq's Chargé d'Affaires in Stockholm.
  • Reports suggest that several photojournalists from international media agencies have been detained by the Iraqi security forces while covering the protest at the Swedish embassy.
  • The Iraqi presidency has summoned the US Ambassador in Baghdad over the State Department's comments regarding the "harassment" of Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.