Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi has ruled out setting a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational forces from Iraq, saying, "Iraq is in a state of war. The withdrawal of these forces would provide an opportunity for the elements that are committing the killing to return to power". In a statement to Asharq al-Awsat, Abdul Mahdi attributed the problems that Iraq is facing to the mistakes that were committed by the previous regime. He added that the foreign presence "is due to the practices of the former regime that destroyed everything". Abdul Mahdi called on the countries neighboring Iraq not to interfere in its affairs. He emphasized his country”s support for Syria and said that Iraq does not pressure Syria and is ready to open a new page. He pointed out that Iraq will not abandon Syria "but Syria should not abandon Iraq. Sound policies should be followed and the mistakes of the past should not be repeated".
Abdul Mahdi told Asharq Al-Awsat "Iraq does not interfere in Syrian affairs. We wish to establish excellent relations with Damascus and we care for such a relationship. However, the Arab countries neighboring Iraq should understand the importance of security. Security is an issue that cannot be tampered with". Abdul Mahdi stressed, "large numbers of infiltrators came to Iraq through Syria" and added, "if we did not have close relations with Syria, we would have taken another stand on it". Abdul Mahdi denied any intervention by Iran in Iraq. He said that the number of Iranians in Iraq under Saddam Hussein”s regime were more than the number of Iranians that are present in Iraq at present. He added, "Iraq has been an independent country for 5,000 years. It will never accept Iranian domination or any other domination by any Arab or foreign country. Iraq is strong in itself had it not been for the circumstances through which it is passing at present".
Adil Abdul Mahdi explained that Iraq "has been subjected to two trials and tribulations. The first was the practices of the former regime that devastated all the components of life and led to dangerous internal and external ramifications. We were then subjected to the second trial and tribulation, namely, the coming of the foreign armies". Regarding his vision to correct the situation and emerge from these two trials, the Iraqi vice president said, "The political process should be strengthened and terrorism should be confronted. The foreign presence should also be ended in a manner that does not cause a security vacuum or harm the Iraqi people. The repercussions of the past stage should also be ended". He said that today”s Iraq "is more cohesive and united and there is no room for partition". He pointed out, "One of the problems that the current government is facing is that tens of political parties and forces are sharing in the rule. This situation is preventing the government from having unified programs". Abdul Mahdi continued, "However, we are satisfied because the participation of the political forces is important within the framework of the openness and the democratic climate. We are now trying to draw up unified plans and programs in order to emerge from the current crisis".
On the obstacles facing the formation of the Iraqi army, Adil Abdul Mahdi said, "The Iraqi army was exhausted in internal and external wars. Thus, the army”s basic infrastructure became inoperative and needs rebuilding after Saddam exhausted it. Saddam”s Fedayeen, the Al-Quds Army, and special units became the army while the patriotic elements of the army of the state were liquidated and deported.