Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Ali al Moussawi, the media adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and head of the National Media Center, stressed that there can be no monopolization in Iraq by any one sect, party or ethnic group.
Al Moussawi stressed that Iraq is committed to a social, political and security system with Saudi Arabia and in the upcoming stage there will be higher levels of cooperation between the two sides. Asked his view on some political leaders and officials leaning towards Arab and regional countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and whether the Prime Minister is for such action, al Moussawi said, “We are for developing ties with all countries in the world especially brotherly Arab countries and this is what we always strive towards. However, at the same time, we do not want Iraqi politicians to give the impression that they are not capable of taking important decisions themselves and that they rely on [foreign states] or rush [to foreign countries] whenever they face a problem. This was directed to all politicians and all states without exception.”
“As for the future of ties with the [Saudi] Kingdom we believe that the natural situation will be for us to have excellent and natural ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and if there are frosty ties then of course we would not want that to continue.”
“We have political partnerships and [joint] economic interests and ties between the brotherly nations, which calls on us to have higher levels of coordination and dialogue…Personally I believe that if there was once a gloomy atmosphere in the past that prevented relations between the two sides reaching the level we hope for then the upcoming stage will be completely different. This is what will allow not only mutual visits [to take place] but also a higher level of cooperation and coordination.”
The State of Law coalition leveled criticism towards the visits of some leaders to Saudi Arabia and Turkey whilst a delegation from the coalition visited Tehran and in reference to this Asharq Al-Awsat asked whether the Prime Minister was contradicting himself especially after the comments he made about neighboring countries [acting as if they were guardians over Iraq]. Al Moussawi said, “Of course Mr. Nouri al Maliki’s call for there not to be “guardianship” [over Iraq] was general and not aimed at one specific side and he has proved this throughout his practice of politics over the past period. He worked towards that and perhaps this cost him at times but he believes that maintaining independence in making political decisions for Iraq is a very important matter that deserves that. We are not against visiting Iran and other countries especially if the visit is in an official capacity and that was the case in the conference of states that celebrate Nowruz to which you are referring. But what’s certain, as Mr. Nouri al Maliki has explained time and time again, is that decisions must be completely down to Iraq and made in Iraq.”
Asked whether the State of Law coalition’s nomination for Nouri al Maliki to become Prime Minister for a second term is irreversible if it is rejected by other blocs and coalitions and whether it is possible that the Prime Minister will nominate others from his bloc or coalition, al Moussawi said, “It is appropriate to refer to an important issue in answering this question and that is that the elections came to determine the voters’ trends and the extent to which they trust their political leaders or representatives in parliament and this was evident in the number of votes for this or that person. In the last elections the Prime Minister received around 630,000 votes, around a 200,000 vote difference to the person behind him and this number of course expresses the attitude of the voters that cannot be ignored. As for the rejection that you speak about I believe it is connected to political bargaining between the parties that is intensifying now and this is only natural in elections all over the world.”
With regards to the possibility of an alliance between the State of Law coalition and the National Iraqi Coalition and Nouri al Maliki’s position on that, al Moussawi said, “I believe that steps to unify the two coalitions into one bloc have reached the final stages even though I was not directly involved in this matter. Like any political leader there must be hard work to understand close blocs and trends and attract them in order to form a bigger bloc and an alliance capable of leading in the upcoming stage.”
Al Moussawi denied that al Maliki has certain positions towards the Iraqiya List that is headed by Ayad Allawi. He said, “As far as I know, the Prime Minister is constantly in touch with many figures within the Iraqiya List starting with Mr. Rafi al Issawi to the others who constantly visit him and hold talks with him. To be honest, there is a need for Iraqiya’s involvement (in government) because it has come to represent a component of the Iraqi nation that no one wants to exclude. Moreover this is not possible and this is what the Prime Minister has continuously highlighted as there cannot be monopolization from any sect or party or ethnic group; that is a delusion that must be abandoned.”