Barack Obama welcomed leader of US embassy attack at the White House

The leader of an Iran-backed US embassy siege in Baghdad was welcomed to the White House by Barack Obama eight years ago before becoming Tehran's 'point man' in Iraq.

Hadi al Amiri joined Iraq's then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as his Minister for Transport when he stood in the Oval Office in December 2011.

On Tuesday, he was outside the US embassy in Baghdad when it was breached and set alight by pro-Iran members of Kataeb Hezbollah, and other militia of Iraq's government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

As Commander of the Badr Corps, an Iranian vassal within the PMF, Amiri's men helped the US in their fight against ISIS in 2014 and 2015.

But a recent spate of missile attacks by the Kataeb Hezbollah branch of the PMF, climaxing last week when a US contractor was killed in an assault on a US base, has revealed that Washington's friends in the region can soon become enemies. 

President Donald ordered USAF jets to decimate Kataeb Hezbollah bases and 25 were killed on Sunday night. Amiri joined thousands who flocked to funerals for the fighters in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday and then was among the crowds who rushed through the heavily fortified 'Green Zone' and stormed the US embassy.

Amiri, referred to as an 'Iranian proxy' by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on New Year's Eve, was the source of 'grave concern' to Republican lawmakers when he was invited into the Oval Office by Obama in 2011.

Amiri would have been well known to the CIA as the former commander of the Badr Corps, which received funding, training and arms from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated a terrorist group by earlier this year.   

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President Obama sitting alongside Iraq's then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the Oval Office of the White House in December 2011. Hadi al Amiri, who led a pro-Iran siege on the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday stands behind the sofa wearing a blue tie as part of Maliki's delegation

President Obama sitting alongside Iraq's then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the Oval Office of the White House in December 2011. Hadi al Amiri, who led a pro-Iran siege on the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday stands behind the sofa wearing a blue tie as part of Maliki's delegation

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and United States President Barack Obama (seated behind lamp) US President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq at the Oval Office on December 12, 2011. Hadi al Amiri is seen behind the sofa, wearing a blue tie.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and United States President Barack Obama (seated behind lamp) US President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq at the Oval Office on December 12, 2011. Hadi al Amiri is seen behind the sofa, wearing a blue tie.

Hadi Al-Ameri Commander of Badr Corps and Sheikh Qais al-Khazali in front of US Embassy on Tuesday. The top brass of the pro-Iran militia, referred to by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as an Iran 'proxy' and a 'terrorist' respectively'

Hadi Al-Ameri Commander of Badr Corps and Sheikh Qais al-Khazali in front of US Embassy on Tuesday. The top brass of the pro-Iran militia, referred to by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as an Iran 'proxy' and a 'terrorist' respectively'

Demonstrators react as tear gas is fired down by US soldiers on the rooftop of the compound after they stormed through the main gate

Demonstrators react as tear gas is fired down by US soldiers on the rooftop of the compound after they stormed through the main gate

US soldiers keep watch on the US embassy in Baghdad from an observation post

US soldiers keep watch on the US embassy in Baghdad from an observation post

Under siege: US soldiers keep watch on the US embassy in Baghdad from an observation post

The transport minister until 2014, Amiri's guerrilla past fighting on Tehran's side during the vicious Iran-Iraq War remained clear even in the seemingly innocuous government position.

He was allegedly acting on the orders of the fearsome IRGC Major General Qasem Soleimani by allowing Iranian jets to fly weapons to the Syrian regime during Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on his own people. 

Amiri denied this, but told The New Yorker five years ago: 'I love Qassem Suleimani! ... He is my dearest friend.'

General James Mattis told the magazine that without allies like Amiri in the Iraqi government, Assad's government would have collapsed in the early years of the Syrian Civil War.

Amiri has since re-taken his role at the head of the Badr Corps, which was previously the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and which is made up of thousands of pro-Iranian former officers and soldiers who fled Saddam Hussein's reign. 

Louis J. Freech, FBI director under the Clinton administration and into the early months of Bush's administration, had been stunned by Obama allowing Amiri to step foot in the White House.

He condemned it at the time saying that Amiri, along with the IRGC, was engaged in 'countless acts of terrorism, which are acts of war against the United States.'

Freech also said he would 'love to sit down and talk to him (Amiri), show him photographs and ask him questions,' with regards to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 USAF personnel in Saudi Arabia.

Iranians were not indicted for the attack and it was blamed on Saudi Hezbollah, another pro-Iran terror group.

Meanwhile Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, then-Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had told The Washington Times that it was 'extremely disturbing that the White House would see fit to welcome Al-Amiri to a discussion on the future of Iraq.'

'If anything, he should be subject to questioning by the FBI and other appropriate U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies.

'The victims of Khobar Towers and the families of thousands of U.S. troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq deserve no less.' 

The man referred to as an 'Iranian proxy' by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on New Year's Eve, was the source of 'grave concern' to Republican lawmakers when he sat with Obama in the Oval Office in 2011

The man referred to as an 'Iranian proxy' by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on New Year's Eve, was the source of 'grave concern' to Republican lawmakers when he sat with Obama in the Oval Office in 2011

A security guard's hut window has been badly damaged by the rioters as smoke spews from fires set around the compound on Tuesday, with protesters waving flags of the militias part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Many are supported by Iran.

A security guard's hut window has been badly damaged by the rioters as smoke spews from fires set around the compound on Tuesday, with protesters waving flags of the militias part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Many are supported by Iran.

Iraqi protesters set ablaze a sentry box in front of the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad to protest against the weekend's air strikes by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near Al-Qaim

Iraqi protesters set ablaze a sentry box in front of the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad to protest against the weekend's air strikes by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near Al-Qaim

A U.S. Army soldier from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force-Iraq, mans an observation post at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad on Tuesday

A U.S. Army soldier from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force-Iraq, mans an observation post at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad on Tuesday

US soldiers watch from behind a smoke screen as Iraqi protesters surround the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad. They fired warning shots, followed by stun grenades and tear gas

US soldiers watch from behind a smoke screen as Iraqi protesters surround the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad. They fired warning shots, followed by stun grenades and tear gas

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