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Syria Should Extradite Wanted Baathist – Iraqi Official | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- Abbas al-Bayyati, the Unified Coalition deputy and member of [parliament’s] security and defense committee, has disclosed new options toward Syria which the Iraqi Government intends to undertake following Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari’s recent demand for the establishment of an international tribunal to deal with the perpetrators of the attacks in Iraq similar to the tribunal established to try the defendants in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

He stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the first option is for Syria to extradite the Baath elements involved in the recent bombings who are wanted by Iraq and specific names denote their number.” On the number of those involved wanted by the government, he said “the government is demanding 20 Baathists residing in Syria in addition to Muhammad Yunus al-Ahmad and Sattam Farhan for their role in financing and planning several terrorist operations in the country.” Al-Bayyati added that “the second option is to resort to the Security Council to shoulder responsibility for maintaining regional security and the final option will be through Iraqi diplomacy by presenting the evidence and documents Iraq has which confirm these figures’ involvement.” He asserted that “Syria was not officially accused and we do not believe it is involved but are saying key Baath figures are involved in these actions.” He expected “Syria’s cooperation like its cooperation in controlling the borders, particularly as the chances of a settlement remain because of the government’s desire to establish good relations with Syria. But we are hoping at the same time for the latter’s cooperation in this.”

Foreign Minister Zebari said in a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki the day before yesterday that “the issue might take some time but there is insistence on establishing this tribunal” and recalled the one the Security Council established for Al-Hariri case.

On his part, Kamal al-Saidi, a leading member of Al-Dawa Party, stressed that, by demanding an international court, the government is seeking to turn what happened into a strategic issue that is not concerned only with the recent terrorist actions but also with all that has happened in the country. He stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraq “wants to change the international opinion of the violent acts in the country into genocide crimes and crimes against humanity” and pointed out that “if Iraq succeeds in this, then it will be able to turn the case of mass killings and crimes against our people into an international case that tries all the parties and countries involved in all the terrorist bombings and actions that had taken place in the country in the past and that will take place in future.” On his expectations from the mediation, Al-Saidi said “we welcome these mediations but will not go back to square one of watching our people being killed” and added that “the recent cabinet decision is historic and will be the basis for Iraq’s stands from now on against those who commit crimes against the people by exposing them” and noted that “the policy of calm diplomacy is finished.”