During an interview with American news organizations
Nabih Pulse / The Los Angeles Times Translation / Anis Saffar
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi reiterated the position of the central government rejecting the Kurdish referendum, stressing in a meeting held by three US news organizations (Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times) that the disputed areas should be under the control of the federal state as stipulated by the Iraqi Constitution, Said that Iraq is determined to build a parallel economy based on other aspects. He pointed out that the only way that we can from solid economic construction is to cooperate with other countries and regional and global openness to all countries.
The meeting also said that although he presided over the battlefield to defeat al-Abadi, Abadi remained committed to a moderate, neutral course in his country from being dragged into regional conflicts even while dealing with the arch-enemies of the United States and Iran.
Q: How many US troops are there? How long do you expect their survival to last after the battle is nearing completion and under what conditions? Also, what jobs do you think they can perform in the future?
The number of American soldiers peaked at the time of the battle to liberate Mosul, which, I believe, was 5200 soldiers, but they are now beginning to reduce these forces.
Their current role is training, logistical support and providing air cover for our troops. We will conclude this task by liberating western Anbar and securing the Iraqi-Syrian border. When this is done, there will be no need for air cover in the future, but the need will continue in the other three basic aspects, namely logistical support, training and intelligence cooperation.
However, it is important to follow up on the matter militarily even after defeating the “fear” of our fear of the transfer of some of their fighters to other countries, we know that they are spreading and will cause problems elsewhere, and it is not in our interest or the interest of other countries in the region to bring the terrorists back together.
It is unfortunate that some countries believe that they can separate their security from the security of others, but we have to work with our friends in the United States and elsewhere to eliminate this terrorism. We are able to do so.
Q: Last week Iraqi forces advanced in northern Iraq to try to re-establish control of areas that both Baghdad and the Kurdish autonomous region claim to be returning to. The move followed Barzani’s controversial referendum on independence in September. What is the point at which Iraqi forces will stop in your view? Has this military operation ended or is it still ongoing?
We have said it publicly since the call was made for the referendum in the Kurdistan region and we told them that we are the sons of one country, so you should not draw a line and then say, “We will protect this line with blood.” This is not your right.
Our country has a lot of feelings of transgression, and we must try to repair the relations between the different groups and factions. Hence, the timing of the referendum was wrong. Rather, the main mistake is to take a unilateral decision and then declare the intention to secede and forcefully impose borders.
I honestly say that I myself am not a fan of these borders, which were set 100 years ago and then imposed on the entire region. I remember that we always taught at school that this was an imperialist plan. But 100 years have passed and people have organized their lives on the basis of these limits. If you intend to change it forcefully and forcefully, it will cause bloodshed, and this could lead to the dismantling of the entire region.
We are currently more willing to avoid confrontation. Our demand is clear: the disputed areas must be under the control of the federal state as stipulated by the Iraqi constitution.
Q: We have seen moves to open relations with Saudi Arabia, such as the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Council and so on. How will this affect the other friendly country, Iran? Has Iraq emerged as a mediator between the two countries? How will you be able to balance these two forces together?
We have good relations with everyone, but our role is not mediator. Iraq urgently needs investment. Over the last 50 years, unfortunately, our country relied on oil, which remained about 90 percent of the income. So we have to build a parallel economy that depends on other aspects, and the only way we can build is to cooperate with other countries.
We have to have strong relations with nations rather than governments only. The bad relations between governments are that leaders may disagree with each other sometimes for personal reasons, and this would undermine the whole relationship. But when the strength of the relationship comes across a level of cooperation that touches the interests of people in both countries it becomes very difficult to sabotage that relationship.
Q: I would like to know your view of the popular mobilization forces, and are you thinking about dissolving these forces in any way, or are you considering integrating them more with the police and the army? Let me first understand that there has been a bad relationship between the United States and Iran since the 1979 revolution, and this is not something of our making. But what we say to all, including our Iranian and American neighbors, who have been friends with us in supporting us in our fight against Da’ash, is that we welcome your support and we love to work with all of you, but we hope you do not carry your problems to Iraq. We must not afford the price of bad relations
The popular mobilization forces must become a professional force subject to the order of the Iraqi government, which owes loyalty only to the official Iraqi institutions, rather than political parties or any force from outside Iraq.
Q: Will Iraq be ready for the elections (to be held in April)?
Between 2005 and 2006, the elections were held under the most severe of these conditions. At that time, large parts of the country were under the control of terrorists, but the elections took place nonetheless. So I think we are now in a much better position, and by the end of this year the whole country will be under the control of the Iraqi government and elections will be possible.
Q: What is the status of Iraqi democracy? How credible is democracy in this country?
It’s a big question. The “Arab Spring” was supposed to be a democratic move, but ended up creating chaos in the Arab region. There are those who are struggling to send the wrong message to the region that democracy is a curse on them.
I think we should work together to open up a wider area for the people to say their word.I know democracy is surrounded by dangers, not only in Iraq but everywhere in the world.This may sound like a philosophy, but I feel a strong sense, especially after we have seen what terrorism can do.
One has to involve others in the decision-making process, and that is what we are trying to achieve here.
We are continuing to win over the terrorists who wanted to find a division in our society, but the real victory would be to dismantle what they did through our work together. I am proud of the diversity of Iraqi society, this is our strength. This is our heritage and our heritage, so we have to protect it and hope that others in the region will witness