Informed Iraqi sources, in a phone call, told Asharq Al-Awsat’s London bureau, that former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has intervened as a mediator to guarantee the release of the Qataris who were kidnapped two weeks ago in southern Iraq.
Sources said that the request for al-Maliki’s intervention was put forth by Sunni Arab figures that maintain a well-established relationship with the former PM, some of whom were members of the previous parliament.
Despite the source’s refusal to name the Arab Sunni representatives that made the request, they explained “The reason behind bringing in al-Malki into the case was because of his influence over some militant factions that have failed to claim responsibility for the Qatari kidnapping.”
“Not to mention the indications pointed out by the representative of the higher Shia Marja’ of Iraq,” the source added, referring to Ali al-Sistani, “During their last Friday speech in Karbala on the kidnapping being based on [politics] and not for the sake of ransom,” the source added concluding that the indications stand as proof that the kidnapping was perpetrated by militants of the armed factions, and not by organized crime groups as the Iraqi Ministry of Interior stated.
In a Cairo, based on discussions with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari denied the presence of any Iranian camps in Iraq.
When asked about the controversy arising over the Turkish troops in northern Iraq, he said “There are no Iranian military camps or any other camps in Iraq. There is solely the Turkish presence, which occurs without Iraqi understanding, for we have several international consultants coming from America, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia all of whom were requested by the government.”
On the subject of the international coalition for the fight against ISIS and the criticism that it’s actually funding ISIS to guarantee a reason for its presence in the region, the FM responded with “There is international support coming in for Iraqi forces, nevertheless it doesn’t measure up to the scale of challenges being faced in Iraq and is beneath our expectations, however the support is definitely persistent.” On the criticisms he said, “The accusations being made to the international coalition about funding ISIS and helping it has not been proven to us yet, and if we ever sense it we will not fear anyone and make a statement about it.”