Damascus, Asharq Al- Awsat- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has denied that Washington incited Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to act against Muqtada al-Sadr’s “Al-Mahdi Army” and underlined the government’s commitment to the “law enforcement” steps.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of his participation in the preparatory meetings for the Arab summit in Damascus, Zebari said what is happening in Iraq at present should be looked at positively because the Iraqi Government was accused in the past of being lax with the sectarian militias and that the latter had penetrated the government’s body and were paralyzing its performance. He added that it was for this reason that the Iraqi Government made a decisive decision to confront the outlaw militias.
Zebari went on to say that “this battle should be decided as soon as possible” adding that the “ongoing fighting is painful and regrettable but all the Iraqi Government’s components agree with its present measures and are in solidarity with it in order to defeat these outlaw militias.” He pointed out that the government’s measure is right and its successful emergence from this confrontation with competence would boost the state’s authority in the Iraqis’ eyes. He expected these operations to end within days and said military reinforcements would go to Basra and also stressed that the outcome would be in the Iraqi Government’s favor.
He denied that Washington incited this action and said: “This is the conspiracy theory. It is in the US interest for the situations in Iraq to appear at this transitional stage to be stable and for matters to be good and progressing forward and we are hoping much good will come from this.” He accused foreign parties other than the United States of interfering in Iraqi affairs.
On Iraq’s demands from the summit, the Iraqi minister said the most important thing is Arab political support for and understanding of what is happening in Iraq, the opening of embassies, and the intensification of Arab visits. He disclosed that his country would host the Arab summit in 2010.