Iraq, United States, Prime Minister discussed on The World
Julie, Deputy for Cake, Sweetie. I'm Judy Woodruff on the next news. Our president Trump and former vice President Biden Square off in their first debate. That's Tuesday on the PBS NewsHour. Stay with us for the news hour coming up after the world this afternoon at three o'clock here on sweetie Public radio. I'm Marco Woman. You're with the world. When it was built. The U. S embassy in Baghdad became the largest in the world, and, if not bulletproof, it was trumpeted as extra secure from possible attacks. Now the U. S. Is threatening to shut it down. U S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly told the Iraqi government that if it can't rain in attacks on American targets, the American Embassy in Baghdad will close its doors. Joining me is Ambassador Feisal al extra body. He's the former ambassador from Iraq to the United Nations ambassador. A threat to close an embassy seems like a big deal, and it also reportedly caught Iraqi officials by surprise. How surprised are you by this? Well, actually, I am quite surprised that I believe that had caught the Iraqis by surprise, as well because the Iraqi prime minister was just in Washington for a meeting with President Trump on the Iraqi team felt that the meeting Went quite well on. So the sort of came out of the blue. So the center of the U. S complaint our attacks by Shia militias backed by Iran. I know they had been attacking right after He targeted assassination of a solar money. But have these attacks increased recently? And how is the government in Iraq? Responding? These attacks have been going on about you for quite some time, even before the assassination ofthe general Soleimani, But there has sort of been a low level background noise of this going on. Current Iraqi prime minister has taken a number of steps to try to rein in these militias, which is sort of what makes the American threat now so ironic that it comes at a time when the government of Iraq is actually doing what it can, which admittedly is not enough, but it is doing what it can to try to Rain in these militias. The prime minister has made a number of changes in the senior personnel of the security apparatus to get Mohr sort of competent officers loyal to the ST Robin to the militias, hey has removed their offices from what is usually called the Green Zone, sort of the heart of the government of Baghdad. Hey, has removed them from the airport, etcetera. But there's a limit to what the Prime minister Khun Duo and up Until this conversation between the president of Iraq and the U. S Secretary of state I have rather father of the United States had understood that The property in this infamous Green zone in Baghdad. It's nearly as large is Vatican City and for a country like the U. S. That has had a deep in historic relationship with Iraq. A relationship that has led to the loss of many lives can the U. S actually. Just close down the embassy, or do you think these are just threats? Well, it's hard to know with the current administration. We all sort of figure out what policy is based on the last tweet. Eso it could be just a threat. It could also be serious. There's no way of knowing I will say that the true irony here. I know I use that word a moment ago. But the true irony here is that them United States now that third administration since the 2003 war has been attempting to curb Iranian influence with a segment of the Iraqi political class. The United States now has a prime minister in Iraq who was focused on attempting to rebuild the institutions of the state. Which must mean and does mean Gaining control over these militias and limiting their role with an eye towards eliminating them. So you have American administration, which is for almost two decades now trying to limit the influence of Iran. You have a government above that, trying to do effectively. Exactly the same thing by withdrawing by closing the embassy of the United States would actually be handing Tehran a victory a strategic victory in Iraq. It has been Iranian policy for at least a decade to get the United States to leave Iraq and here's the United States expecting to leave Iraq. Do you worry that a U. S embassy pullout would automatically lead to Renewed violence of some sort. The US pull out in 2011 ended in tears in 2014 when Aysel took over occupied a third of the country. So yes, I am concerned about that. There will also be knock on effects. I mean, I know that my former colleagues and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry are very concerned that a withdrawal by the United States with signal toe other Western states that it is not safe to be there, and that a U. S withdrawal would embolden the very groups whose role of the U. S. Is trying to limit and would lead to an increase in violence. Former colleagues of mine and the Iraqi foreign minister specifically concerned about the U. K. French and German embassies as well. It would be a huge signal of a lack of confidence in the government of Iraq and a huge victory for Iran over the U. S policy in Iraq. It's a very odd thing to do at a very odd time. Whether it has something to do with the US election. Maybe, but I don't see how the United States gains by seeking to confront the government of Iraq now when the government of Iraq is doing the things that U..