Former Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi said in an April 20, 2020 interview on Zagros TV (Iraqi Kurdistan) that the Shi'ite militias in Iraq are criminal gangs, that Iran is behind all the unregulated weapons in Iraq and the Middle East, that U.S. forces should remain in Iraq in spite of Iran and the Shi'ite militias in Iraq, that a Middle Eastern coalition should be established to secure the region, and that the IRGC and Iranian intelligence services threatened or payed Iraqi MPs to vote in favor of the recent resolution to expel U.S. forces from Iraq.
Mithal Al-Alusi: "When you say: 'With all due respect to the Al-Nujaba Movement...' What respect? May Allah curse them! This is a gang of out-of-control outlaws."
Interviewer: "So the armed factions are out-of-control gangs?"
Mithal Al-Alusi: "They are out-of-control terrorist gangs. Of course! When you use your weapons to force your opinions on others, to take over ministries, to steal oil, and to force ideological agendas on others... When you see a Christian – a gentle and peaceful person – carrying a cross and marching in a Shi'ite procession... What do you call that? This is the embodiment of terrorism."
Interviewer: "Why do you call it terrorism? They participated out of solidarity... Aren't there Muslims who visit churches and participate in Mass? What is the problem if a Christian participates in the Arba'een Pilgrimage [in Karbala]?"
Mithal Al-Alusi: "Christians are transparent and gentle, and they turn the other cheek... What about the Muslims, you ask? Lord have mercy! How do they understand Islam? When you talk about Islam or the Muslims in Europe, the first impression is terrorism.
"People – and I am one of these people – are afraid of [people who wear] turbans. I used to love [seeing] turbans, and I held them to be sacred, whether the [wearer] was Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Mandaean, Yazidi, Buddhist, or [a member] of any other faith... We used to think that holy men were special and well-mannered. Today, in the name of the turban, religious courts have been established, people have been killed, neighbors have been killed and robbed, countries have been killed... This is what our not-so-dear neighbor, Iran, wants."
Interviewer: "Is it just Iran?"
Mithal Al-Alusi: "If we're talking about militias and unregulated weapons [in Iraq], you can say that there is a 95% chance – if not a 99% chance – that the Iranian intelligence services and the IRGC [are behind it]. We all saw the public cry over Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. The [Shi'ite militiamen] cried, slapped their faces, and mourned because these men had been their source of weapons and money.
"Could someone use trucks to transport missiles that are 6-8 meters long if there was a functioning state? There is no [Iraqi] state! Whoever is moving these missiles... And now you have drones with a flight range of 1,500 km that they try to move into Iraq... All of this is done by groups that do not want there to be an Iraqi state.
"Iran is hateful. It still believes that there is a war between Iran and Iraq. We do not hate the Iranians. They are also oppressed and poor..."
Inteviewer: "You hate the Iranian government."
Mithal Al-Alusi: "The Iranian regime."
Mithal Al-Alusi: "It is a fascist, terrorist, arrogant, and extremist regime that poses a threat to Iran's security and to the well-being of the people of Iran, Iraq, and the entire region. It is time for America to wake up. It is time for us to create a Middle Eastern alliance to put an end to the phenomenon of unregulated weapons in the region. This isn't just an Iraqi problem..."
Interviewer: "Let's stop here on this very important point. Why is there a need for a Middle Eastern alliance? Are the government, the factions, or our security forces incapable of keeping the weapons in the hands of the state?"
Mithal Al-Alusi: "The weapons in the Middle East have become unregulated and they serve the agendas of religious gangs, terrorists, or mafias. When the [Shi'ite] militias cover for shipments of cocaine, heroin, and hashish, what are we supposed to call them? 'Religious'? It turns out that they are mafia gangs using some ideological guise. There are unregulated weapons in Lebanon – in the hands of Hizbullah – and in Syria, in the hands of militias that come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. They are all mercenaries. They fight in Syria for both sides – with the government and against it. There are unregulated weapons in Libya, in Sinai, and in many other places."
Interviewer: "So it isn't [only] a problem in Iraq..."
Mithal Al-Alusi: "Hold on a moment... The source of all these unregulated weapons... Iran is the one arming Lebanon, the Houthis, and the [militias] in Iraq. The militias and those who are behind them have shared interested, problems, and goals. If we want to spread security and peace in the Middle East, we must create a system of security and a political, cultural, and economic system that will protect the people of the region from these savages.
"The American forces remain in Iraq in spite of Tehran, in spite of all the militias of criminal bandits and inspite of all those who were threatened and who were told that their houses will be blown up and that their wives and daughters will be kidnapped... Half of the Iraqi MPs who voted [to expel the U.S. forces] were under these threats. Why should we support the departure of the American forces? Let the Iranians leave instead!"
Interviewer: "Some might say that there are no Iranian bases [in Iraq] but there are American bases."
Mithal Al-Alusi: "The Iraqi state consented to their presence, and Al-Maliki authorized it."
Interviewer: "But now, after we have defeated ISIS, [perhaps] we can bid them farewell?"
Mithal Al-Alusi: "This is not for the people of Tehran or for the Jurisprudent Ruler to decide. [The Americans should remain] in spite of the Jurisprudent Ruler."
Interviewer: "But it was Iraqi MPs who voted on the matter."
Mithal Al-Alusi: "Some of them are getting paid by the IRGC, by Iranian intelligence services, and by others."