Iraqi PM’s visit to Washington will fail if he is not ‘obedient’: Iraqi politician


In an interview with Afaq TV, Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, a senior member of the Iraqi State of Law Coalition says that Iraq’s prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will fail on his imminent state visit to Washington, as US officials never treat Iraqi officials as equal counterparts and al-Kadhimi won’t be an exception.

This is especially true as al-Kadhimi is tasked by the Iraqi parliament with pulling US military forces out of the Arab country, al-Muttalibi explains.

The senior politician goes on to say that one of the major problems that US officials had with former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was that he treated American officials as ‘equal counterparts’, while other Arab leaders usually behave as ‘subservient subjects’ when they visit Washington.

Source: Afaq TV (YouTube)

Date: 24 July, 2020

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Regarding the meeting in Washington, after attending previous meetings, we have gotten use to clearly feeling that the American side does not view us as (equal) counterparts. This (issue) has caused a lot of problems. We usually travel (to Washington) and then cut short our visits and leave prematurely and in disagreement (with the Americans) because of that (superior) mindset (that they have).

I think that whoever follows these issues knows well that Mr. (Nouri) al-Maliki always encountered such problems because he dealt with the American side as an (equal) counterpart. Thus, the (Americans) would get very upset from (al-Maliki); while all the Arab world’s monarchs go to (Washington) as subservient (subjects) and not as equals, why does (al-Maliki) deal with us as (his) equal? They complained to me several times about this issue.  I said that he is the Prime Minister of Iraq; we have elected him to lead (the state of) Iraq. In addition, myself and all other ministers and delegation members treat you as our counterparts, it is not only (Maliki) that does that. Like it or not, this is our way, otherwise we will leave (Washington) and go back to Iraq. So in fact, this caused problems.

Today, concerning the visit of Mr. Al-Kadhimi, (personally) I find it very difficult for brother Al-Kadhimi. He will go (to America) and face the same problem. And he is before a very complicated file; he is mandated by the Iraqi Parliament to work on beginning the process of withdrawing US military forces from Iraq at a time when the American side is working on a new military and political system in Iraq in which the Americans expect to be permanently present here; Mr. Al-Kadhimi is bound by parliamentary decisions which I think will get him into an embarrassing and difficult situation.

The second problem is how the Americans deal with the Iraqis. If they expect from Mr. Al-Kadhimi that he treat (US officials) as his superiors, I think this will create a problem.  (Personally) I feel that this visit will not be successful, it will result in nothing. Mr. Al-Kadhimi and any other (Iraqi) prime minister in fact, that travels to America while holding this complicated file (US withdrawal), and in such a manner (i.e. as equals), will not succeed, because what America wants is different to Iraq’s wants.  

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