In a recent program discussing a rare visit to Iraq by Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi political analyst Dr Majid al-Turki said that this visit was an opportunity to bring the Iraqi file back into the ‘Arab sphere’, as
‘Iran has been occupying it for the last five years’.
The Saudi analyst also took a swipe at the Obama administration, seemingly accusing it of giving false promises to Saudi Arabia with regards to reducing the Iranian role in Iraq.
Jubeir’s visit to Baghdad was the first by a high-ranking Saudi official since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Source: Al Jazeera Arabic (YouTube)
Date: 26 February, 2017
Saudi political analyst Dr Majid al-Turki:
Good afternoon, the goal definitely won’t be confronting Iran via Iraq, I imagine. First of all, the visit took place during a critical time, and was of major significance in terms of the changes that happened within Iraq, because all the attempts that were made during the last period by John Kerry and Obama’s administration; such as waging a war which cost the lives of tens or thousands of Iraqi civilians; did not achieve anything, (but) rather intensifies the issues in Iraq in terms of sectarianism and attempts of causing division: these are Kurds, these are Sunni, these are Arabs, Shias etc.
The timing is crucial since there are attempts to save Iraq from the dense jungle. On the other hand, the visit falls in line with the American will during Trump’s (presidency), which is still in its early stages – yet it remains an attempt to bring the American administration down to reality. For a very long time, whilst aimlessly and repeatedly visiting the region, John Kerry would give us beautiful expectations about the Iraqi and Syrian files, then we’d go back to reality and realise that absolutely nothing gives us reason to be optimistic or (to believe) that anything has really changed.
Al Jazeera Reporter:
What do you mean that ‘Kerry used to give us beautiful expectations about these areas? What is the beautiful expectation? What exactly is the concept of beauty here?
Regardless of beauty, the issues here are the unfulfilled promises. When he spoke about Syria or Iraq – that the problem does not involve sectarianism or fighting sectarianism, we realise that the Hashid al-Shaabi – which is a sectarian element in Iraq – receives support from the US ambassador.
Reporter: You mean that the promises made by Kerry were promises to remove Iranian influence.
Not at all
Then promises of what? Promises of what I don’t understand…
Promises made by America to remove Iraq from this mess and to transform Iraq into a unified and sectarian-free country, yet day by day we find that sectarianism is intensifying. This visit, from one point of view, was able to bring back the Iraqi file to the Arab sphere, and I obviously cannot really be too optimistic regarding the Arab sphere, as we’re referring to the Arab League, however now atleast the Arab side can play a fundamental role in managing the Iraqi file, in order to resolve this file and return Arab identity to it, and so that Iraq is no longer a hostage. We lived through a British-American occupation of Iraq from 2003, and (lived through) an Iranian occupation of Iraq for the last 5 years through (its) political presence, military presence, Qassem Soleimani, we find that Iraq is occupied and a hostage of Iran on a very large scale.