Former Iraq VP: Terrorism, political conflict behind Anbar crisis

BAGHDAD — In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who is a leader in the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), spoke about thorny and sensitive issues while describing the Iraqi political situation.

Abdul-Mahdi — who resigned his vice presidential post in 2011 — said that he does not wish to see Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki run for a third term. He also said that it would be “very difficult” for Maliki to be re-elected. Abdul-Mahdi posed a number of open questions about Iraq’s foreign policy, and said that, historically, Iraq has not been subjected to Iranian politics more than it was subjected to the authority of the Ottoman Empire. He also noted that terrorism and political conflict stand behind the Anbar crisis, and the problems are not easily solvable.

The interview follows:

Al-Monitor:  Let’s start with the events developing today. How do you assess what is happening in Anbar? What are the causes and what are the results?

Abdul-Mahdi:  The causes go back to two things. First, the growing terrorist activity, whether due to internal Iraqi factors or because of the regional situation, in particular [the conflict in] Syria. And all of the [government’s] forces are needed to challenge this. The strategies for [fighting terrorism] are well known, and include security, political and logistical strategies, as well as achieving national unity and [working] with neighboring countries. Unfortunately, these strategies were not respected, which led to a spread in terrorism. The second reason is political bickering, where political leaders were concerned with gaining a reputation among the masses, and not with winning the battle against terrorism.
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