US rejects Maliki remarks that Israel is bigger threat to Mideast than terrorismBy [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [ltr]13 hours ago [/ltr]
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Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's presser in Tehran last week. Photo: Iranian Mehr News Agency
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States disagreed with Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s remarks that Israel is a bigger threat to the Middle East than terrorism and that Iran and Iraq should fight the Zionist enemy side by side.
“We certainly don’t agree with the sentiment that Israel is a terrorist threat,” said US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Friday in response to a question about Maliki’s statement. “I mean, that just flies in the face of fact.”
Al-Maliki, the former Iraqi prime minister, made inflammatory statements towards US allies Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Kurdistan Region at a press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran on Wednesday.
“I tell you of the threat that surpasses terrorism which is the Zionist enemy and we should all stand on one front against this threat and Israeli political, cultural, economic and media plots,” al-Maliki had remarked.
Kirby was also asked of US government support for the Iraq and about al-Maliki saying that the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary could be deployed to Syria.
“I would just tell you that we remain proud of the support that we are offering to the Government of Iraq in Baghdad – military support, economic support, some of which we just talked about, certainly the political support to the reforms that the prime minister (Haider al-Abadi) is pursuing,” he responded.
Maliki said that Iraq was grateful to Iran for its support in the form of arms and ammunition in the fight against ISIS and Kirby added that it was understandable that Iraq wanted to work with its neighbors to counter ISIS.
“All we require is that those nations who are going to be thus involved, that they do it in a way that supports the legitimate, democratically elected government in Baghdad,” Kirby said. “And does so also in a way that doesn’t inflame sectarian tensions.”