The Iraqi Minister of Interior Mohammed Al-Ghabban described Iraq’s security cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, as outstanding. He stressed that this cooperation was not affected by rising political tensions between the two countries.
Al-Ghabban told Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview that “cooperation between us and neighboring countries is ongoing, and that the political crises are not mirrored by it . We still cooperate, communicate, exchange information and visits with Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that diplomatic ties had been cut off for a long time”.
When asked about the recently kidnapped Qataris in Iraq, Al-Ghabban said that “there are parties with political goals that have planned and perpetrated this crime and we are earnestly trying to find clues in order to reach the criminals”. He indicated that “officials have arrested people that are perhaps not directly linked to the kidnap but are connected indirectly. Investigations are in progress, and we are hoping to match information and reach a satisfactory conclusion”. Al-Ghabban added that “concerning this subject, we have continuous contact with our brothers in Qatar at all levels”.
On the subject of the Arabs arrested, the countries that they come from and whether they are accused of criminal or terrorist acts, Al-Ghabban pointed out that “the majority of the Arabs we have arrested are suicide attackers, and among them are convicted criminals. They were given different verdicts which included death sentences, life-time imprisonment and prison sentences depending on the type of crime they committed”. The criminals come from North African countries such as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia” and some came from the Gulf states.
In view of the escalating regional situation, Al-Ghabban was asked about the Iraqi government’s plans for securing its borders. He replied by saying that the “collapse of the Iraqi-Syrian borders after June 2014 has made it difficult to talk about the true possibility or capacity of controlling borders”.