Iraqi Politician Mithal Al-Alusi: We Need a U.S.-Led Coalition to Fight Iranian Expansion; In Case of Confrontation, Iraq Should Not Fight on Iran's Side
Former Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi, the leader of the Iraqi Ummah Party, said in a February 19, 2019 interview on ANB TV (Iraq) that Iraq would not be able to provide its people with food if Iran closed the Strait of Hormuz. He criticized Iran for igniting the region everywhere it goes. Al-Alusi said that Iraq and Iran are still in a state of war which Iran is taking advantage of. He explained that no Iraqi government has signed a peace treaty with Iran, and that the ties that some individuals in the Iraqi government have with Iran are dubious. Al-Alusi added that there should be a large international coalition led and sponsored by the United States in order to fend off Iranian expansion, and added that if there is ultimately a confrontation with Iran, Iraq should not fight on Iran's side.
Following are excerpts:
Mithal Al-Alusi: A country fails when so many of its citizens have been displaced and are refugees. I'd like to see the Iraqis…
Interviewer: What is the reason for this failure?
Mithal Al-Alusi: I want to see all the Iraqis – the millions of Iraqis in Jordan, in Turkey, in Iran, in America, and everywhere – return and become citizens of Iraq. [The Iraqis] in Israel, as well – I want to see them return and become Iraqi citizens. They will decide how Iraqi they are and how active they would like to be.
Imagine what will happen if Iran shuts down the Strait of Hormuz. We wouldn't even be able to provide the Iraqi people with bread. That evil Islamic country, Iran…
Interviewer: Why are you focusing on Iran? Only Iran has influence in Iraq? Turkey has influence, Saudi Arabia has followers, Qatar has followers… If you looked into it, you might find that even Mozambique has influence here.
Mithal Al-Alusi: It's true. The cigarettes mafia also has followers. The weapons mafia has followers. The drugs mafia has followers. Not only followers – they rule the country. Having followers is the smaller issue. Iran itself is saying that it will block the Strait of Hormuz. Iran itself is saying that it occupies four Arab capitals. Iran itself is saying that the [Shiite] militias belong to it. Iran itself is saying that Iraq and everything in Iraq belongs to it. Iran itself is saying this about Syria as well. It is Iran that has ignited the region everywhere it has turned.
Interviewer: Iran is connected to the Iraqi government. There is cooperation, and there are agreements. With Iraq's blessing, Iran helped Iraq and sent advisors.
Mithal Al-Alusi: This is not true, with all due respect. Iran and Iraq were and still are in a state of war. The Saddam regime did not sign a peace treaty between Iraq and Iran. The consecutive Iraqi governments, including those subjected to Iran – as we say and as the Iranians themselves say – have not signed such a peace treaty either. We are in a state of war, and Iran takes advantage of this state of war.
Since we are in a state of war, there are no ties between the Iraqi government and the Iranian regime. There are Iraqi individuals, officials, and leaders who have ties to the Iranian regime, and these ties are of the dubious kind.
Iraq needs a large international coalition, which may have a regional section formed by the Arab countries, but which will be led and sponsored by America, in order to fend off the Iranian expansion, and if there is ultimately a confrontation with Iran, Iraq should not fight on the Iranian side.