In a recent TV interview following the fall of Mosul into the hands of ISIS, Iraqi politician Ayad Jamal Al-Din.said that PM Nouri Al-Maliki should be placed on trial for high treason. He criticized U.S. policy, saying: "The war in Syria and the war in Iraq are one and the same... a war against ISIS... You cannot fight ISIS in Iraq, yet support it in Syria." Ayad Jamal Al-Din, a Shi'ite cleric and former MP, who espouses separation of religion and state, spoke from Washington D.C. to the Al-Arabiya network.
Following are excerpts from the interview, which aired on June 10, 2014.
"Nouri Al-Maliki, The Prime Minister And General Commander Of The Armed Forces... Should Be Placed On Trial For High Treason"
Ayad Jamal Al-Din: "I was very surprised by the American statement, which pledged to support Iraq in keeping with the strategic agreement. On the same day, the U.S. declared that it would weaken... The war in Syria and the war in Iraq are one and the same – both in Syria and in Iraq, it is a war against ISIS. The U.S. strives to weaken the Syrian regime, and this benefits ISIS, but in Baghdad, it supports the regime against ISIS. This is suspicious and perplexing, to tell you the truth.
"As for the collapse of the Iraqi army in Mosul – the army is a reflection of its commander. It is Nouri Al-Maliki, the prime minister and general commander of the armed forces, who should be placed on trial for high treason. The military personnel are not responsible for the collapse in Mosul and elsewhere. It is the general commander who should be held accountable and stand trial.
"The ISIS problem is an old one. It was not born today. It is inappropriate to justify ISIS. In the past two hours, I've heard several commentators here on Al-Arabiya TV, saying that the Iraqi Sunnis are persecuted and are denied their rights, and that that is why ISIS has managed to gain a foothold in the country.
"ISIS is composed of the same terrorists who are fighting in Libya, in Somalia, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Nigeria, and elsewhere. The names of the organizations may vary, but their terrorism is one and the same.
"Commentators should avoid justifying this terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism, and its confrontation should be the same everywhere. It is PM Nouri Al-Maliki himself who should be held accountable. I believe that if there was a parliament of decent human beings in Iraq, Al-Maliki would be voted out of office and would face trial for high treason for bringing about this military collapse – either because he failed or due to his collaboration with the terrorists." [...]
"Al-Maliki will not be affected if Mosul, Kirkuk, or all of north Iraq falls. As long as Baghdad is intact, everybody can go to hell." [...]
"You Cannot Fight ISIS In Iraq, Yet Support It In Syria. There Is One War And One Enemy"
Interviewer: "How do you view the [American] support for the military operation and Washington's offer to help resolve this crisis?"
Ayad Jamal Al-Din: "I welcome it. We await this support, but it must extend to all the areas where ISIS may be found. The pressure on the Syrian regime, which is fighting ISIS, must be lifted. They should not try to strengthen the feeble Free Syrian Army [FSA]. There is no FSA. There is ISIS in Syria and Iraq. You cannot fight ISIS in Iraq, yet support it in Syria. There is one war and one enemy.
"The U.S. should give up its hypocrisy. People are not brainless. How can it be that a State Department spokesperson talks about Iraq, and then a White House spokesman says: 'We must pressure the [Syrian] regime so that it surrenders'? Surrenders to whom? To ISIS. Where is the FSA? There is no such thing. The war is one and the same. Support should be extended to both Iraq and Syria. The U.S. should pressure the countries that sponsor ISIS.
"An hour ago, when I entered this studio, Al-Jazeera TV was still calling ISIS 'the tribal rebels.' This is a deception, a lie. These are no tribal rebels. The tribal rebels have fled to Kurdistan. The Sunnis were vanquished by ISIS. These are criminals, murderers, and terrorists." [...]
Interviewer: "To what extend will ISIS encounter a supportive environment?"
Ayad Jamal Al-Din:"What supportive environment?! You yourselves reported that 150,000 Sunni Arabs fled Mosul to Kurdistan. They are not Shiites. The people of Mosul are not Shi'ites. Where is this supportive environment?! In Al-Raqqah? In Deir Al-Zour? In Ramadi? In Fallujah? The Sunnis are not guilty of the sins of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Saying otherwise is libel against the Sunnis – just as the Shiites are not guilty of the sins of the militias that purport to defend them."