Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlaq said that the destruction of Iraq was an Israeli Zionist plot to bring down the "powerful" Iraqi army, which posed a threat to Israel. It was also a response, he said, to the Iraqi people's pan-Arabic sentiment, their hatred of Israel, and their support for the Palestinian cause. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Sharqiya TV (Iraq) on June 17, 2021. Al-Mutlaq said that the Israelis have now achieved their goal, because the Iraqis' hatred of Israel and their support for the Palestinian cause have diminished. He added that everything that is happening in Iraq today is done for the sake of normalization. Al-Mutlaq explained the Iraqi people have been brought to a point where they want the Americans to return to save them, saying that their real problem is not Israel.
Interviewer: "Can the 2003 scenario repeat itself and the Americans intervene [militarily] again?"
Saleh Al-Mutlaq: "I doubt it. I doubt it, even though many people hope for such a scenario."
Al-Mutlaq: "Because they would ask the Americans to save us. They would say: 'You came and destroyed our country, and you ushered in people who are incapable of running a country. Now come and save us from them, and let us choose people who can run our country properly.' Many people want this, but the way I see it..."
Interviewer: "But how can the people who destroyed the country save it?"
Al-Mutlaq: "Look, the destruction [of Iraq] was an Israeli plot. It was a Zionist plot to crush Iraq. 2003 was a Zionist plot to destroy Iraq, because Iraq was strong and constituted a threat to Israel."
Interviewer: "Are you saying that before 2003 Iraq was capable of rattling Israel?"
Al-Mutlaq: "It did."
Interviewer: "Did Israel fear Iraq to that extent?"
Al-Mutlaq: "Iraq rattled Israel. Listen to their statements. They say: 'The Iraqi army was the only army we feared back then. It was the only army we would take into account.' Indeed, it was the most powerful military in the region. They wanted to do away with that army as well as with the Iraqis' pan-Arab sentiment. It is noticeable that the Iraqis' pan-Arab sentiment, their hatred of Israel, and their support of the Palestinians... The hatred towards Israel has begun to diminish, and so has the support for the Palestinian cause. They have achieved their goal."
Interviewer: "Do you think that the region's normalization of relations with Israel will reach Iraq?"
Al-Mutlaq: "I believe that this is happening."
Interviewer: "What do you mean?"
Al-Mutlaq: "They will normalize the relations."
Al-Mutlaq: "In the entire region."
Interviewer: "In Iraq as well?"
Al-Mutlaq: "Iraq may come at the end, but everything that happens in Iraq is for the sake of that normalization. When such pressure is exerted on the people, and when they lose all hope, they say: 'Let [the Americans] save us from this, and if normalization with Israel is the obstacle, let's do it. We want to live.' They brought people to the point where they say: 'My real problem is not Israel.'"