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    Fouad Hussein: The final decision regarding the Americans is a political decision and our relationsh

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    Fouad Hussein: The final decision regarding the Americans is a political decision and our relationsh Empty Fouad Hussein: The final decision regarding the Americans is a political decision and our relationsh

    Post by Rocky Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:28 am

    [size=35][size=35]Fouad Hussein: The final decision regarding the Americans is a political decision and our relationship with Iran is “damaged.”[/size]
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    02-22-2024 | 3 o'clock
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    Alsumaria News - Politics

    Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein described Iraq’s relationship with the United States as “damaged,” but he said that it was “being repaired,” and this is not the only relationship that needs repair, as he described relations with Iran as “damaged,” in an interview. With The National newspaper during the Munich Security Conference.


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    Hussein said, “In the first place, the Americans were invited by the Iraqi government, during the attacks of ISIS terrorists in Iraq, back in 2014, but the time has come to re-evaluate the presence of American forces.

    Negotiations have already begun, with a second round of talks taking place.” Within the framework of a military committee.

    Part of the discussions is to assess whether Iraq still needs the United States and other allies to remain in Iraq to ward off the ISIS threat. The talks will also focus on whether Iraq still needs support in "rebuilding Iraqi forces."

    Hussein added that the final decision regarding American forces is a political decision.

    Regarding whether ISIS still poses a threat to Iraq, which would provide a reason to expand the presence of American forces in the country, Mr. Hussein said: “It is difficult to say that it does not pose a threat.”

    In 2014, ISIS terrorists were able to attack Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and “within a few days of their attack, they were able to control Mosul and then, within a few weeks, they were able to control a third of Iraqi territory.”

    Hussein said that after A decade on, ISIS still has small pockets of terrorists, “although they are not as strong as they were before.”

    He explained, “We cannot talk about ISIS only as fighters; ISIS is also an ideology... and this is one side of the problem. The other aspect relates to the fact that there are hundreds of ISIS leaders in prisons in Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group.

    The situation in Syria remains unstable, and there are fears that hundreds of ISIS members detained in the country may escape, cross the border and reorganize. Their ranks in Iraq.

    He added: “Saying that ISIS has disappeared is not true, but also that ISIS now does not pose a threat, but it could pose a threat because of these circumstances and because the situation in Syria is unstable. Hussein warned that security in Syria affects us directly.

    Iraq has repeatedly called on world powers to deal with ISIS prisoners in Syria and deport those from other countries. However, the issue remains unresolved.

    Regarding whether the potential threat posed by ISIS could lead to US forces remaining in Iraq, Hussein stated: “The message that the Prime Minister gave to the members of the Iraqi (negotiating team) is that we want to reach the end of the presence of US and allied forces.” On Iraqi the message from the Iraqi side is clear.”

    However, issues that remain include how and when troops will be withdrawn and the American reaction to this Iraqi decision.

    He added: "This is why we are talking about negotiations."

    While the United States has the largest military presence in Iraq, there are other countries represented as part of the coalition.

    Hussein said: “The coalition is led by the Americans, and if the Americans leave, this means that others will leave.”

    However, there remains significant interest in maintaining the NATO mission in Iraq, which began in 2018 and is clearly a “non-combat advisory and capacity-building mission.”

    Hussein stressed the importance of NATO remaining in Iraq.

    We have made clear that NATO's mission can remain; “We need a NATO mission in Iraq.” “The NATO mission has established a good relationship with the Ministry of Defense, and now, in fact, they have expanded the scope of their powers, by providing training to the Federal Police of the Ministry of the Interior.”

    And with the continued NATO presence NATO in Iraq, this means that the United States and other members of the alliance will remain in the country.

    He added: “NATO’s mission will remain and this is a decision. Hussein said: “The negotiations are not related to NATO’s mission, but rather to the American forces and their allies.”

    Al-Sudani met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last month in Davos, and the two sides agreed to continue developing the role of the alliance.

    In response to a question about describing the relationship with the United States, Hussein continued: “There was some damage, for the first time after 2003, but we began to repair it,” explaining that the damage was “due to the attack and counterattack.”

    “But we have begun to repair these damages. “As Secretary of State and a believer in good relations with various countries, I know that Iraq needs the United States,” he added.

    “We consider the United States an ally – the United States has been with us in the fight against ISIS. We did it together. They have sacrifices inside Iraq, just like us.

    “We need to have a very good relationship with the United States. I don’t see the relationship with the Americans as negative, but we are talking about how to reshape our relationship.”

    There are two distinct camps in the Iraqi political establishment today, according to Hussein.

    “One group says that all these forces should leave the country, but there is another group that is talking about concluding bilateral security agreements with these countries.”

    He believes that "it must be clear to us...we must obtain the support of other countries; we need this support," but he believes that it needs to be "reshaped and reorganized, and this is a different story."

    While talks with the United States continue, the United Nations mission in Iraq, or UNAMI, is also under review.

    Hussein said: “We need a United Nations mission in Iraq, but in a different form... When it was established, Iraq was in a completely different situation, and this means that UNAMI’s work will be different from now.”

    "That's why we started talking to the United Nations about this."

    Asked if Iraq wanted to keep some of the UN mission, Hussein immediately stated: "We need them, but in a different way."

    The media has been busy trying to understand whether the country has filed a formal complaint against Iran after the Erbil attacks last month.

    “We have sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the UN Security Council, but requesting a meeting is a different matter,” Mr. Hussein said.

    While Iraq has not requested a meeting on the issue, Hussein commented, "The message is still there," meaning that if there was a need for such a meeting, it could be requested.

    Regarding how to protect Iraq from further strikes and retaliatory attacks, Hussein said: “One thing is clear to us, which is that the US-Iranian conflict, of course, goes back to 1979, but at the present time, when there is high tension between the two countries.” . countries; They sometimes solve their problems on our land. We have told both sides that this is unacceptable.”

    Hussein's frustration with both sides was clear.

    If the Americans have a problem with the Iranians, they know where Iran is. If the Iranians have a problem with the Israelis and the Americans, they know how to reach them.

    Hussein and other Iraqi officials had been demanding for years that the United States and Iran stop fighting each other on Iraqi soil - but that did not happen.

    He said: "Unfortunately, we have become a space for solving their problems."

    “It is very strange. We have a very good relationship with both sides,” Hussein

    said. “So, we consider America an ally and we were together in the fight against ISIS,” Hussein said. Iran is our neighbor and we have an excellent relationship with them, and we even reached a security agreement with them. They were very satisfied and were thanking us for signing this agreement. And yet they attack us. This is unacceptable."

    In the early hours of January 16, Iran bombed the home of a well-known Iraqi businessman, killing him and members of his family.

    Hussein criticized the missile attack, saying: "The Iranians claim that they attacked Mossad bases, and this is not the time The first. This is the second time they have attacked Erbil and used missiles, knowing that the accusation of the presence of Mossad is baseless.

    “But they are selling the idea, I don’t know to whom, to their audience but no one believes them... They killed civilians, they killed a family, an 11-month-old child. They talk about terrorists and a Mossad base. And of course no one believes them.”

    After the first attack on Erbil, Hussein said he traveled to Tehran to discuss the attack and “we told them that what you are talking about is baseless.”

    "To be honest, even themselves, they didn't know what they were talking about," he added. “Every official was talking about something else, in the same meeting.”

    Now, Hussein said that Iraq is waiting for an apology from Iran.

    “We need an apology, we need proof... They are talking about a Mossad base, give us proof.”

    Hussein warned Tehran that his country could still choose to call a meeting in the UN Security Council to file a formal complaint.

    He added: "If they continue, of course, it will be a different story."

    He compared the situation in Iraq to that of Pakistan, which was also attacked by Iran last month, explaining that they "attacked Pakistan the day after they attacked the Pakistanis, and then they went to Pakistan to apologize."

    Hussein said that Iraq and Iran are in some ways the closest allies.

    "We are the closest, according to the Iranians... We are neighbors, we have a very, very strong relationship with Tehran and we want to have a good, healthy relationship, but they should not attack us. This is unacceptable."

    Regarding why Iraq has not taken more measures since the Iranian strikes on Iraq, Hussein explained succinctly: “We take our political environment into account - internal, political and other - and we have the right to go to the Security Council.”

    With Iran's main allies in the Iraqi government, and other armed groups closely linked to it, putting more pressure on Tehran will be problematic for Baghdad.

    Hussein used the same term to refer to relations with Iran as he did with the United States. When asked to describe the relationship with Iran, he replied: “It is still damaged, so we need an Iranian initiative. We need an open and rational discussion about our relations. They should not treat us as if we are their followers.”

    In his acknowledgment of deep ties with Iran, he said: “We respect it, but we are equal. We are a different country. We are not part of Iran,” referring to Tehran’s influence within many political parties in Iraq.

    He said: "Whether it is influenced by Iranian politics or not, it is up to the political parties, whether ideological or interconnected, but in the end Iraqi interests will be met within Iraq."

    Hussein stressed the importance of protecting Iraq's sovereignty, saying: "The decision-making process regarding Iraq, its society, politics, and economy must take place in Baghdad and by Iraqi politicians and its people."

    While Hussein acknowledged the presence of external influences, he said: “We have some influence here and there, but in the end, Iraq must reach that stage where it decides for itself - the Iraqis must decide for Iraq. The decision must be made in Baghdad, not anywhere else.” Another capital in the world.

    Hussein considers security “a top priority for me,” adding that “without security, we cannot implement our plans to develop the economy, establish a better society, and strengthen our democratic process.”

    He talked about the many wars and destabilization that Iraq has experienced.

    “We have suffered a lot. We Iraqis have been at war with ourselves and with others for 50 years... Perhaps two, three or four generations were born and educated during wars. That is why we need peace, and in order to achieve peace, we need good relations with our neighboring countries.” .

    Hussein did not go into further details, saying: “Our problems come from our neighboring countries, and our solutions will also come from cooperation with our neighboring countries, so we hope that our neighboring countries will respect the sovereignty of Iraq, but also respect the choice of the Iraqi people.”

    This option, according to Hussein, is democracy.

    We have begun our democratic process and we have problems in this process. But the problem often comes from our neighboring countries.”

    Hussein said: “Because of these problems they create for us, we get closer to others, otherwise we do not need others,” referring to the American presence in Iraq.

    He added that his country worked to improve Iranian relations with other countries “Actually, because of these tensions, we were looking for a solution between Iran and other countries and we were helping Iranians to have a good relationship with others. So, it is very strange that the Iranians are punishing us. it's not fair. Iran must understand that this is unacceptable.”

    He repeatedly stressed the need for Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

    “Maybe they are strong. I mean, compared to Iraq, maybe they can beat us, but in the end that's not acceptable.

    This was a rare direct criticism from an Iraqi official towards Iran.

    Hussein explained: "The majority of the Iraqi people do not accept what the Iranians are doing inside Iraq. Today we are talking about that. In the past we used to talk about this issue in our meetings with them, but today we are speaking publicly. We need a different type of relationship with Iran."

    He said that Iraq could not be stable without broader regional stability in Syria.

    “Without collective security, countries will be in danger. So Iraq’s security is linked to security in Syria. But this also applies to Iran. He said that Iraq’s security is linked to Iran.

    He added: “So, if there is chaos in Iran and Iraq, it will affect Iran.” . It also affects Türkiye. Therefore, in neighboring countries, we need each other to ensure each other's security and not create problems for each other.

    On the regional level, Hussein is deeply concerned about developments in the region, as the war in Gaza continues.

    “I don’t know how it will end, but I know that the war in Gaza affected the entire region. This is a fact.”

    “Militarily, we have seen attacks and counterattacks in different regions. But it affects the entire region economically, psychologically and politically.

    ” And this is war on television. Everyone sees the war while sitting at home and sees the war, the killing of people, the killing of children, and the deportation of the Palestinian people. Naturally, this creates huge, massive reactions. So, it affected many countries around the world, but it affected the region directly.

    Iraq has been directly affected, with Iranian and US strikes increasing as they support different sides of the war.

    Hussein explained: “For almost a year, there was no attack or counterattack. But when the war started, directly, there were reactions from some (Iraqi) groups, and they began attacking the Americans stationed in Iraqi bases, under the slogan that the Americans support "Israelis."

    He spoke at length about the necessity of ending the war and its effects on Palestine and Iraq, which also extend to other countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen.

    He added: "It is not only about violence, but also about the economic effects. War has different dimensions, and that is why it is important to stop this war."

    He added: “We must deal with the war and the first step is a ceasefire, then of course solve this problem, then the Palestinian issue must be put back on the table and discussed. We are talking about the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people. This means that the Palestinians will decide how to deal with the relationship.” future with other countries.

    But he warned, “Without the rights of the Palestinians, it will be impossible to have a stable situation in the region... We have witnessed the process of normalization. Some people thought that if we reached normalization with the majority of Arab countries, the Palestinian issue would be resolved, but reality told us something else.”

    He said . “The truth is that we must start with the Palestinian people because the problem exists and they have the right to exercise their right to self-determination.”

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