International Order & Conflict

Interview with Kawa Hassan on the Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadimi and Strike Against Pro-Iran Militias

Featuring Kawa Hassan

Interview was originally published on Al Hadath.

Hassan discussing a strike against pro-Iran militias that apparently occurred in the early hours of Sunday, July 18.

There are conflicting reports, claims, counterclaims, and ambiguity about a strike against pro-Iran militias at the Iraqi Syrian border. It is unclear who was responsible for this strike – this is not the first and may not be the last strike against these groups. Regardless of whether such a strike occurred or not, the key question here is what it means for the visit of Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to Washington next week, and how it may impact Iraq-US relations.  

If it was an American strike, I don’t think it will have a big impact on the summit between Biden and al-Kadhimi, and therefore is unlikely it will have major implications for the strategic dialogue between both countries. Despite continuous attacks on US forces and the American embassy, the US administration understands the delicate situation of the Iraqi government and continues to support the al-Kadhimi cabinet in its fight against ISIS. Also, the Biden administration welcomes and supports the role of Iraq in hosting meetings between security and intelligence officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia.   

Hassan on the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to Washington, D.C.

President Biden is familiar with the complexity of Iraqi politics. As vice president under Obama, he was responsible for the Iraq file. And from the 1990s he developed strong relations with then the Iraqi opposition. I think there will be a frank and direct conversation between the two leaders on a wide range of issue. In particular President Biden will be interested to hear directly from al-Kadhimi what the vision and strategy of the Iraqi prime minister are to deal with pro-Iran militias and strengthen state sovereignty, and bilateral relations between Iraq and Iran.  

If pro-Iran militias will not escalate their attacks against Americans in the coming weeks and months, I don’t believe there will be any dramatic shift in the relations between Baghdad and Washington. It is in the interest of Biden administration to assist al-Kadhimi cabinet so that things will not get out of control.  

There will be a frank discussion between Biden and al-Kadhimi about the rescheduling of the withdrawal of the so called “combat troops”. But I don’t think the Iraqi prime minister will ask for immediate and full withdrawal of US forces since Iraq still needs US intelligence, advice and military training for its forces to fight ISIS.  

You can view the full interview here.

Interview was originally published on Al Hadath.

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