US Withdrawal from Iraq to Guarantee Regional Peace, Stability

2021/04/25 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - An analyst of Iraq affairs, referring to some issues of concern to Tehran and Baghdad raised during the visit of the Iraqi National Security Adviser to Iran, said that withdrawal of the Americans from that country can help improve security situation in Iraq and limit the ISIS. Unfortunately, he said what has overshadowed common security issues between Iran and Iraq is the continued presence of US forces in Iraq.

Seyed Reza Qazvini Gharabi, speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, referred to the visit of the Iraqi National Security Advisor to Tehran and his meetings with the Iranian officials, and evaluated the visit within the context of the current political and security developments in Iraq, especially the third round of strategic dialogue between the United States and Iraq.

He added: Given the recent developments, Iran is deeply concerned and dissatisfied with the continued presence of the US troops in Iraq, and this issue has been mentioned by all senior officials. Therefore, the strategic talks between Washington and Baghdad and their results are very important for Tehran.

Recalling that in this round of the talks, the information coming out of the negotiations still lacked a timeline for the pullback of the US troops from Iraq, the expert on Iraq affairs said: This has caused dissatisfaction among both Iran and the Resistance groups in Iraq.

Qazvini Gharabi continued: In fact, Iran’s concern that after three rounds of the so-called strategic negotiations, the Americans have not yet shown a serious desire to leave, is serious. In particular, remarks by some Washington officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Joey Hood, who said the Iraqi side had not formally requested the departure of the US troops have raised doubts about the condition of the situation.

 

Impact of continued US presence in Iraq on common security issues

Explaining the common security issues between Iran and Iraq, he said: Certainly, retreat of the Americans can help improve the security situation in Iraq and curb the ISIS. In fact, the most important issue in the region is that countries present in it can help establish order and stability in various political, security and military fields.

Saying that after 18 years since the overthrow of the former regime in Iraq, the country’s security and military apparatus have made good progress and have become one of the most experienced countries in the world in the field of counter-terrorism, Qazvini added: Iran and Iraq have important experiences in fighting terrorism, and if they can organize their joint cooperation to promote stability, it will not merely benefit the two countries; because they are part of the region, and any effort to bring stability to the region without presence of trans-regional players would be a positive and useful step for the entire West Asia.

The Need to put fight against extremism on the agenda

The expert on Iraq affairs considered the fight against extremism as one of the necessary and important issues in the joint cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad and continued: In any case, we live in an area where the Takfiri and extremist terrorists are present and the region can be conceived of possible incidents due to the rise of the Takfiri and extremist terrorists.

Emphasizing that presence of a zone free of the US military forces increases security ties and joint cooperation between Iran and Iraq and even other countries in the region, he said: Unfortunately, what has overshadowed the common security issues of the two countries is the continued presence of the American forces in Iraq. Remarks of the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran in a meeting with the Iraqi National Security Adviser also emphasized that this issue is at the top of Tehran’s security demands from Baghdad.

Qazvini Gharabi added: Tehran emphasizes that increase in the ISIS terrorist activities in Iraq, which could have negative effects on the security of Iran and the region, is a consequence of the American presence in that country and withdrawal of the US troops is the first priority to improve security.

He said: Tehran believes that implementation of the Iraqi parliament’s resolution on the departure of the US troops from Iraq will lead the region towards entering the process of stabilization and establishment, and follow up of assassination of martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes is one of the priorities of security cooperation between Iran and Iraq; despite the fact that this is not fully welcomed by some political parties in Iraq.

The expert on Iraq affairs, commenting on the issues that should be on the agenda of security relations between the two countries, also stated: Iran-Iraq relations under Mr. Al-Kadhimi are good relations, but at the same time has been cautious and sensitive. In any case, according to the Iraqis, Mr. Al-Kadhimi is “leaned” to the Americans and is basically inclined towards them. This is exactly the opposite of Tehran-Washington relations in Iraq.

Qazvini Gharabi continued: In addition, the United States has assassinated one of the most prominent Iranian military officials in Iraq, that is to say Shahid Soleimani, and has put excessive pressure on relations between the two countries, as such that even in trade relations between Tehran and Baghdad, financial settlement of Baghdad with Tehran has also been overshadowed by Washington.

Special circumstances of Iran and Iraq

Emphasizing that we are currently facing certain circumstances, he added: For the security agenda of the two countries, it must be taken into account that the situation in Iraq and the current relations between Baghdad and Tehran also have certain complexities, but I believe that given the circumstances, the trend of attacks on American targets in Iraq will increase, and besides, we will probably not see much change in the situation in Iraq until the upcoming elections. However, it seems that the new US administration has not yet reached a strategic and final decision on how to deal with the issue of military pullback.

Importance of upcoming elections in Iraq

Qazvini Gharabi considered the forthcoming elections in Iraq as very important and explained: Emergence and coming to power of currents and political figures who are moderate and independent can strengthen circumstances for further stability and joint security-military cooperation between Iran and Iraq; but if the political situation develops in such a way that currents close to the United States come to power, we will probably continue to see a number of complexities, sensitivities and tensions in the Iraqi political and security environment.

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