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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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    Hoshyar Zebari: Iraq's "divorce" with America is very difficult...and the war between Israel and Ham

    Rocky
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    Hoshyar Zebari: Iraq's "divorce" with America is very difficult...and the war between Israel and Ham Empty Hoshyar Zebari: Iraq's "divorce" with America is very difficult...and the war between Israel and Ham

    Post by Rocky Mon 25 Mar 2024, 4:45 am

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    [size=52]Hoshyar Zebari: Iraq's "divorce" with America is very difficult...and the war between Israel and Hamas will change the Middle East[/size]

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    February 23, 2024
    In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Hoshyar Zebari, the former Iraqi Foreign Minister and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, ruled out Iraqi-American relations sliding towards divorce given the security and economic consequences that this could entail. At the same time, he expressed his concern over interventions, monopolistic policies, feelings of marginalization, and attempts to undermine the Kurdistan Region, which was born based on the current constitution.[/size]
    [size=45]The following is the text of the interview:[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Are you concerned about the future of Iraq?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: Yes, I am really worried because Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime - with great regret, despite all the efforts we made - did not stabilize, and did not enjoy political, security and social security and stability in order to rise again after years of wars and battles with neighbors and internally. I am really concerned because, unfortunately, we have not formed a good government, meaning that good governance has not been achieved in this country. In the country of Rashid.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Is what we are currently witnessing a battle to expel American soldiers from Iraq?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: It is a battle of influence between a regional power, specifically the Islamic Republic, and America on Iraqi soil due to the repercussions of the war in Gaza and the turmoil in the Middle East. The issue of the American presence has become the pretext for ending their presence, while there is still a need for their presence because of regional security as a whole, and not the security of Iraq.[/size]
    [size=45]I was one of the main negotiators in the US Forces Withdrawal Agreement and the Strategic Framework Agreement, so I have background and insight into this issue. The issue has become politicized, even though there is still an Iraqi security need for them and their numbers are small. But it has become a political issue.[/size]
    [size=45]February 10 was a turning point in my estimation because the Iraqi parliament wanted to hold a session with a full quorum to approve or pass a decision to expel them immediately. But there was not the required response, neither from the Sunni Arab blocs nor from the entire Kurdish bloc, nor even from most of the Shiite blocs. This means that out of more than 230 deputies, only about 75 deputies attended, so there was no consensus, agreement, or quorum, and the issue was postponed.[/size]
    [size=45]This issue is executive, not legislative. This means that the government decides. The departure or stay of American forces is an issue related to Iraqi international obligations and obligations related to the Iraqi national economy, so this issue cannot be looked at unilaterally. Many countries in the region have foreign military bases and presence, not only American, but also British and French. But this happened with the approval of these governments. These governments are still sovereign governments and the relationship is regulated. We also in Iraq have an organization for this relationship. But the issue is primarily politicized.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Can Iraq currently tolerate divorce from America?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: It is very, very difficult in fact because the American relationship with Iraq and the region is linked to international, regional and economic issues, so divorce and separation from this relationship is difficult. All countries need support. In the strategic framework agreement that we negotiated with them, they gave us many opportunities and areas to support the Iraqi economy, security, and capabilities, but unfortunately, successive Iraqi governments did not take advantage of this available opportunity.[/size]
    [size=45]Asharq Al-Awsat: You were Iraqi Foreign Minister for 11 years. I want a clear answer. Has America requested the establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: This discussion existed during the transitional period between the administration of George W. Bush and the administration of Barack Obama. What is the future of these forces? The thinking was that we had done the job, brought down the regime, and established a new emerging order. We helped the country to have a social contract that is the constitution, so let them solve their problems among themselves. But there is a need for us to maintain a limited presence, as this was the basis of the negotiation. We started negotiations in 2007 and completed the agreement for their exit in 2011 when the Obama administration came in.[/size]
    [size=45]At the same time, we signed the Strategic Framework Agreement for Friendship, Development and Economic Cooperation with the United States. There was an intense debate between the military leaders who worked in Iraq, and the majority of the US Army leaders currently serve in Iraq. Therefore, they had fear or concern that suddenly withdrawing in this way, and not keeping some forces to help, would threaten America’s interests, with regard to terrorism or other forces greedy in Iraq. But Obama decided to withdraw them and did not heed this advice, and I spoke to him for about 45 minutes.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: What happened between you?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: He was in his election campaign and Iraq was a major issue in the elections at that time. John McCain was the Republican nominee. Iraq was a prominent focus of interest for both camps. Obama called me by phone while he was on a campaign trip to one of the states. My message to him was that we believe that Iraq has not fully recovered, meaning it is not a normal or normal country. There are terrorist threats and security threats. Therefore, we do not encourage you to rush to completely withdraw forces. We need this help and your help in training and qualifying our military forces. He took the issue to mean: No, I came to rid America of foreign wars. In Afghanistan and Iraq. We want to focus on the internal situation. There was a financial crisis in the world market.[/size]
    [size=45]Also during that period, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki saw that the withdrawal had become a reality. He began to take shape in his direction towards greater hegemony and control, moving away from the spirit of the constitution, democracy and freedoms, towards the Sunnis, the Kurds and salaries, and targeting Sunni leaders at the right time. This led to a great feeling of marginalization from the Sunni community. The civil war was ongoing in Syria and ISIS began to grow inside Syrian territory, then moved to Iraq.[/size]
    [size=45]After the government claimed that it had sufficient and trained forces that did not need foreign assistance, we saw that this army, these divisions, and this excellent American armament collapsed within days when ISIS occupied Mosul and headed to Kirkuk and Salah al-Din, and was threatening at the gates of Samarra and Baghdad. The truth is that this army melted in the deserts of Iraq.[/size]
    [size=45]At that time, the task also fell on me when I was Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was a decision-making minister, not just a storefront. When we felt that there was a real threat to the government and the country, we agreed with the Americans to exchange notes requesting assistance because this danger was imminent and unexpected. There are still investigations into how the invitation came to be at that time when they returned in 2014 and helped us. Help Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, which was threatened by ISIS. Samarra was threatened.[/size]
    [size=45]The Americans were present, and then an international coalition was formed to fight terrorism from many countries, reaching more than 60 countries in UN resolutions and conferences. The basis of their existence is what we agreed upon. Naturally, any cancellation of this understanding - so that I can add more poetry to you - requires the approval of both parties and requires a period of time and notice to the other party of no less than one year. This is an election year in America, and it is very difficult for any president to make a decision like this while the region is on fire and we do not know where things are headed. In my opinion, Iraq cannot divorce this relationship.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Is there accuracy in saying that the parallel wars that began after the “Al-Aqsa Flood” in the Red Sea, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon confirmed that this part of the Arab world had become Iranian in its decision-making?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: Iran is very influential in our region, from Yemen to Gaza to Lebanon to Syria to Iraq. They do not deny this. They announced the axis of resistance years ago. I had discussions with the late (Commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard), General Qassem Soleimani, who was targeted by American forces at Baghdad Airport in 2020, and with Ali Larijani, who was the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and advisor to Imam Khamenei and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati in 2007-2008. .[/size]
    [size=45]We were on visits with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister to Tehran and were discussing with them. One of their requests was that, “You, Kurds and Shiites, have got rid of dictatorship. You are not supposed to trust the global arrogance and the Americans. You are also supposed to become part of the axis of resistance.”[/size]
    [size=45]To Asharq Al-Awsat: Whose words were these?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: These are the words of the three leaders whose names I mentioned with me personally. My answer was that we do not need to enter the axis of resistance and new conflicts and other wars. We are tired of wars and adventures, and we have an opportunity to build our country, and we want you to help us in this field. You want us to become a resistance against those who liberated us. This is illogical and I do not imagine that anyone will accept this trend.[/size]
    [size=45]But the opportunity came after ISIS expanded. The call of Imam al-Sistani to defend Iraq against ISIS and to wage self-sufficient jihad became an opportunity to form the Popular Mobilization Forces. Naturally, many of the intentions and those who volunteered were serious and genuine about this issue. But (the Iranians) intervened and formed militias affiliated with them and benefited from this religious and governmental cover. Currently, the Popular Mobilization Forces have become a reality and a force parallel to the army, and perhaps stronger in its armament and capabilities.[/size]
    [size=45]We discussed the story of the axis of resistance with them at length, (and they told us) Firstly, the Islamic Republic system is threatened by global arrogance and global Zionism, so we need to protect our system and fight our opponents and enemies outside our country, and form irregular forces. This was one of Qassem Soleimani’s proposals, that we may not be able to engage in conventional wars with large countries with our technology and capabilities, but in unconventional wars we can defeat them by relying on local forces that we train and prepare. This is what is happening in the region.[/size]
    [size=45]Iran exists and these forces affiliated with it or close to it are effective. Most of them are organizations outside the country. Naturally, there are different opinions on how to deal with this. A section says: We must leave these militias and confront the head, and this is what the Israelis proposed. Another theory sees the need to curb these local groups that harm us and attack their national governments. This controversy exists.[/size]
    [size=45]I have a reading that says that just as the attacks of September 11, 2001 changed international politics by striking the Twin Towers in America, I believe that what was caused by the “Al-Aqsa Flood” on October 7 last may change the rules of the game and politics in the Middle East region because what happened was different. Completely about all previous events and confrontations at all. Therefore, I expected that this war would expand and expand, and would not remain in Gaza or the West Bank only. Indeed, this is what happened, from the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab to Gaza to southern Lebanon to the Golan to al-Qaim to northeastern Syria. It can almost be placed in the same frame.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Does the Iraqi regime after Saddam Hussein bear the fingerprints of Qassem Soleimani?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: He was influential, really. It was touching. I remember an incident with (the late Lebanese Prime Minister), the late martyr Rafik Hariri. He mentioned it to me on more than one occasion, and he was advising me of the fact that “take care” (be careful) the Syrian regime has an agenda in Iraq and the Iranian regime has an agenda in Iraq. But the two agendas are different. Perhaps you will meet in the ultimate goal of quarreling the Americans. But this advice actually turns out to be correct. Years later we saw her. The influence of the Iranians has certainly expanded and expanded further, and has entered financial, economic, security, governmental, parliamentary, and judiciary levels. They have influence that no one can deny.[/size]
    [size=45]When I was dealing with them, I would tell them to deal with us as we are, as a country that you respect. Come through the door and you know how, and we are ready to cooperate with you. We have a common border of 1,400 kilometers, culture, religion and history. We have everything. But the most important thing is that you must respect that these people, your allies and friends, want to build a country different from Saddam's Iraq. This topic was the first and last point in our contacts with them.[/size]
    [size=45]However, things changed completely after 2014. Therefore, Iraq did not witness political, security, or societal stability. Internal mistakes of the Iraqi leaders. We do not blame the Americans, the Iranians, Türkiye or other countries. These internal Iraqi mistakes must be diagnosed by the leaders who had opportunities to escape from this past, but did not succeed.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Did the US army consider assassinating Qassem Soleimani during the occupation of Iraq?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: There are really many secrets here. But he frequented Baghdad, the region, and other governorates. He is an operational person, meaning a strategic view, but operational in the field and bold. Recently, his visits were revealed and he now has offices and advisors almost full time in the Green Zone. I mean, it became almost public. I imagine that you are not far from being targeted. And what happened happened. This issue (the killing of Soleimani) was the result of careful monitoring and not the day it happened. I imagine there was careful monitoring of all his activities and movements. He received messages that your situation is unsafe.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Did Qassem Soleimani’s style carry threatening messages?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: He was a true diplomat by nature, but regarding the goals he wanted to achieve, he did not compromise. He used threats against former President Mam Jalal (Jalal Talabani).[/size]
    [size=45]Middle East: When?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: The threat was used in a written message when there were efforts and attempts by the Kurds, Sunnis and some Shiite leaders to withdraw confidence from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after going too far and trying to tyrannize and dominate and move away from the common interests that we agreed upon. At that time, his (Soleimani) intervention was very decisive in preventing this from happening.[/size]
    [size=45]Middle East: Are you concerned about the Kurdistan Region?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: Yes. Very concerned and worried about the future of the Kurdistan Region, which was built with rivers of blood, sacrifices, resistance, and realpolitik and diplomacy. The greatest threat to the region currently is from the arbitrary decisions of the Iraqi Federal Court, unfortunately. The basis of the territory and its recognition as a constitutional entity is the constitution, which defines the exclusive powers of the federal government and the territory.[/size]
    [size=45]There is really an attack from all sides. Security-wise, we see those threatening the region with marches and missiles, and the region’s economic interests, refineries, commercial air traffic, and foreign companies to undermine the region’s economy. Also the issue of the stopped oil export. From stopping the export of the region’s oil, Iraq lost $7 billion, which was supposed to go to the state treasury, part of which was the region’s share.[/size]
    [size=45]They also interfere at all levels, from the issue of elections, the region’s constitutional rights, and the region’s share of the country’s general budget. The reason is that the region may have independence in decision-making and in participating in some decisions, but it has independence, which means if we do not like something, we say no and we have courage. Perhaps this approach does not satisfy others who are accustomed to “yes, sir” in everything they are told to do.[/size]
    [size=45]Also, it is natural that the region has problems, and I will not hide it from you in order to be realistic and frank. The region was always strong when the Kurdish forces were unified or adopted one discourse or one position. Currently, we have unity of action and thought on strategic issues, but there are unresolved internal issues.[/size]
    [size=45]The primary goal of the region that we seek is to re-legitimize the region's institutions by holding new regional parliamentary elections. It was supposed to take place in February, and has now been postponed to May. We do not know how long these elections will remain subject to Federal Court decisions to disrupt this legitimacy. We are working to hold these elections as quickly as possible.[/size]
    [size=45]Middle East: Who is punishing the region? Are they the forces that once accepted the existence of the region to remove Saddam and then retreated when they came to power?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: Basically these forces. Perhaps with external, regional overtones. It is very clear because these are the same leaders that we protected and embraced during the time of the opposition. In fact, after they became in power, they felt that they did not need to share with others who helped them. This view exists and will not lead to stability in Iraq. The view that the country is ours, the government is ours, and we do not need others has proven its failure, in the experience of Saddam Hussein and those before him. Iraq can only succeed with national consensus and respect for its components. And each party should feel that it is part of this situation.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: You say that the Federal Court is a weapon. In whose hand?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: The same group that thought it did not need others, and we could politicize or use this court as a weapon against our opponents and enemies. There is a long and broad talk about the constitutionality of this court in the first place. You ask the largest experts in constitutional law and they say that this court was formed for specific purposes and intentions. Currently, it is dominated by the armed parties and some factions that have power and weapons in their hands, and on the other hand, the judiciary and the Federal Court. They control many matters and issues. Return to your first question: Yes, we are concerned about the future of the region and the future of Iraq as well.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Would it be accurate if we said that Iraq is once again heading towards a components crisis? The Federal Court removed Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi and removed you from the electoral races? Is there a problem in the relations of the Shiite factions with the Sunni and Kurdish components?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: There are really problems. I will not hide from you. There are also serious and real dialogues. Who is behind the bombing of Erbil, Erbil Airport, or our interests in Sulaymaniyah and some of our vital facilities?[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: They said they bombed the Mossad...[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: This is a lie and slander. Even the Iraqi officials who visited the site when this ballistic missile attack occurred on a businessman with his family and his children and killed a girl less than a year old (saw) that this was a terrible lie. The Mossad is present in many countries and works secretly and in its own ways. It does not need signs or addresses to sit and plan. The Mossad exists and attacks them in the heart of Tehran, and is present in many other capitals.[/size]
    [size=45]This is the second time they have repeated this very blatant, baseless slander. We asked them and told them: You have a large consulate in Erbil, and we communicate with you. We have joint visits, and we are a party to a security committee with the Iraqi government with you. This security agreement confirms that if one party feels there is a threat, it must inform the other party. They did not do all this.[/size]
    [size=45]This was a message. The bombing of Erbil was a message to show their strength in hitting targets from a distance. One day they struck three countries: Pakistan, Iraq in Erbil, and Syria in Idlib, in order to send this message to America and Israel that “we have a deterrent force if you dare against us.”[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: The missiles that hit Erbil were launched from Iranian territory?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: Yes. And they acknowledged it. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard recognized it and issued an official statement claiming responsibility for it.[/size]
    [size=45]Middle East: How will the region live when its neighbors are afraid or at least worried about it? I mean, Turkey doesn't want it, Syria doesn't want it, Iran doesn't want it, and if Baghdad rejects it?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: In 1991, we faced this challenge as leaders who participated in this region and its follow-up. It was a great challenge when, in 1992, the leadership of the Kurdistan Front wanted to hold elections inside Iraq in the region. The neighboring countries of Syria, Turkey, and Iran came together to besiege and strangle this region. Even America, our closest ally and friend, was not supportive of the idea of ​​elections. But for the first time, the Kurdish leadership made a sound and courageous decision to move toward elections, and we agreed on the results of the elections and established the region's institutions.[/size]
    [size=45]At that time, we conveyed the same idea to the Iranians, Turks, and Syrians: We are not a threat. We can be a factor of assistance and stability, and we will never do anything against your supreme national security interests. Experience throughout the years of work of the region's institutions has proven that we have worked to allay the security concerns of neighboring countries. The region has been constitutional since 2005, when it became a vote of the entire people of Iraq, and this region has a legal and constitutional basis recognized in Iraq.[/size]
    [size=45]Asharq Al-Awsat: Did you find it difficult, for example, to convince President Bashar al-Assad of the region?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: I tried. I spoke with Mr. President more than once about this issue. But they (the Syrians) were not convinced of this at all. They see the idea of ​​a federal or federal state as the first stage of dividing nations, and they did not hide this at all. Therefore, in meetings or discussions, they were not supportive of it.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Do you have a feeling that these maps always end with the Kurds being punished?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: We return to the recent Iranian missile bombing on Erbil. I told you the message. But the Islamic Republic may not be able to confront major countries like America, and even Israel avoids it and fights it by other means and methods. But in order to demonstrate its strength to its people and implement its promises that it will take revenge for the terrorist attack in Kerman and targeting leaders of the Revolutionary Guard in Damascus, and leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas in Beirut and southern Lebanon, revenge came to us, because they have a wrong perception through the global conspiracy theory that The territory is the second Israel. Based on that, they punish us.[/size]
    [size=45]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: If these operations escalate, do you think America is ready to defend the region?[/size]
    [size=45]Hoshyar Zebari: The Americans have a presence in the region, as well as in Baghdad and Anbar. If you notice, the armed factions always target Erbil, Harir, and the Ain al-Assad base in Anbar. Why does no one mention the Victoria Base at Baghdad Airport, which is the largest base? They appear to have interests in movement, aviation and money smuggling issues. They don't want problems.[/size]
    [size=45]The Americans always assert that they are there with the approval of the Iraqi government. This is true and I explained the background to you. For them: If any of our interests are harmed or our consulate, perhaps the largest in the world, or our facilities at Erbil airport are targeted, then we will respond forcefully. After the killing of three soldiers at the Tower 22 base in northeastern Jordan, which is an extension of the Al-Tanf base, the American response was very precise and they targeted the leaders responsible for this action.[/size]
    [size=45]This deterrence reduced attacks. If you notice, for a while now the attacks have subsided, whether in northeastern Syria or on Ain al-Asad or Erbil, because they saw the iron was hot. America has enormous capabilities and capabilities, but no one should underestimate American administrations and leadership. I mean, these are the same American leaders that most people were desperate for, they are the same ones who intervened and prevented ISIS from sweeping through Erbil or Baghdad, from (then) Vice President Joe Biden to the other existing leaders, from Lloyd Austin and Jake Sullivan. The same people. No one underestimates them. This is a state of institutions, interests and strategies.[/size]
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