Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said in an October 3, 2020 interview on Al-Iraqiya Network (Iraq) that since the Iraqi government must serve the people, it is in its best interests to have good relations with the United States. He reminded the interviewer that many of the same Iraqis who today criticize the United States had asked the United States to topple Saddam Hussein. He also pointed out that most of Iraq's commodity and oil sales are through the United States, and that the United States helped fight ISIS. In addition, PM Al-Kadhimi said that Iraq has successfully negotiated the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq within three years.
Interviewer: "If I were to ask you to characterize your relations with the United States, would you characterize them as friendship, close friendship, interests, joint interests?"
Mustafa Al-Kadhimi: "Do personal relations play a role when it comes to political relations? America is a superpower, and it builds its relations according to its interests. We must not forget that Iraq is an important country in the world and in the region. Iraq is governed by its constitution. The Iraqi constitution calls on the government to establish the best possible relations with the world's countries, in the service of the Iraqi people. Our relations with the U.S. are built on interests. America is a superpower. America is a superpower and we must protect our interests with it, in the economy, in education, in health, and even in security issues. I'd like to remind the people who make populist slogans about our relations with America: Some of you went to the White House before the fall of Saddam Hussein, and asked for help in toppling Saddam Hussein. What made you turn [against it] now? We have to admit that America has made major mistakes in the days of its occupation of Iraq, until 2011. But it is the same America that helped us to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, which we all had been fighting for a long period of time. In addition, we must not forget that America helped us in the war against ISIS. We must not forget all those who helped us fight ISIS – America and others.
"We experienced sanctions in the days of the dictator Saddam, and we saw what devastating impact they had on Iraq's society and future. We have to admit that such isolation would lead to an immediate economic collapse. To this moment, most of Iraq's commodities and all its oil sales are done through the U.S. How would we live? Where would we get money? The decision to make war or to make peace is the prerogative of the state, not of groups. Despite everything, we have a strategic dialogue.
"In this dialogue, we have had significant and historic achievements. The first achievement is the redeployment outside of Iraq. What does it mean? It means that the U.S. forces will pull out of Iraq. More importantly, the U.S. president said that the deadline for the presence of the U.S. forces in Iraq is three years. Before I left for America, some of the [political] forces asked me to make the American withdrawal last eight years. We managed to make it happen in less than three years..."
Interviewer: "You are talking about Iraqi political forces?"
Al-Kadhimi: "Yes. I am willing to name them."