Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Iraqi PM Al-Maliki accuses Saudi, Qatar of supporting terrorist movements

RT | March 9, 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of declaring war on Iraq and supporting global terrorism. The Iraqi leader blamed the two countries for orchestrating the latest wave of bloody violence to hit Iraq this year.

In a heated attack on Iraq’s Sunni Gulf neighbors, Prime Minister Maliki leveled a number of accusations at Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an interview with France 24. He said both countries are supporting extreme sectarian groups within Iraq, with a view to destabilizing the country and are “attacking” Iraq through Syria.

“I accuse them of inciting and encouraging the terrorist movements. I accuse them of supporting them politically and in the media, of supporting them with money and by buying weapons for them,” Maliki told FRANCE 24.

“I accuse them of leading an open war against the Iraqi government,” said Maliki, adding that Saudi Arabia and Qatar not only supported terrorism in Iraq, but also sponsor terrorism worldwide.

He went on to warn the Gulf States that their support of global terrorism “will turn against them” and Iraq does not intend to retaliate because it does not wish to “widen the arena of confrontation.”

Addressing allegations he is marginalizing Iraq’s Sunni population, Maliki said such accusations come from sectarians with foreign agendas spurred on by Saudi and Qatari support. Both countries are “buying weapons for the benefit of these terrorist organizations,” he said.

Iraq has been hit by a wave of bloodshed over the past year, with January registering as the most deadly month in the country since April 2008. Suicide bombings and sectarian conflicts across the country claimed the lives of over 1,000 people in January and over 700 in February.

On Saturday violence left 15 people dead, including a parliamentary election candidate and four children, security and medical sources report. Iraq will hold elections this year on April 30 and Maliki has been pushing security forces to bring violence in the country to heel in the run-up.

One of the main conflict areas in the country is the province of Anbar where anti-government militants seized control of the city of Fallujah in December. Since then government forces have been unable to get the city back from the rebel fighters.

In connection with its ongoing fight against insurgency, Iraq will hold an international counter-terrorism conference this Wednesday in Baghdad. Attendees will discuss issues of arming, supporting, funding terrorist groups and training camps in some countries.

March 9, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraq signs deal to buy arms from Iran: Report

Al-Akhbar | February 24, 2014

Iran has signed a deal to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million, according to documents seen by Reuters – a move that would break a UN embargo on weapons sales by Tehran.

The agreement was reached at the end of November, the documents showed, just weeks after Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned from Washington, where he lobbied the Obama administration for extra weapons to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.

Some in Washington are nervous about providing sensitive US military equipment to a country they worry is becoming too close to Iran. Several Iraqi lawmakers said Maliki had made the deal because he was fed up with delays to US arms deliveries.

A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister would not confirm or deny the sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq’s current security troubles.

“We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war. Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it’s only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists,” said the spokesman, Ali Musawi.

The Iranian government denied any knowledge of a deal to sell arms to Iraq. It would be the first official arms deal between Iran and Iraq’s government and it highlights the growing bond between them in the two years since the departure of US troops from Iraq.

One US official, told of Reuters’ findings, said such a deal could further complicate Washington’s approach to negotiating with Iran on easing international sanctions over its nuclear program, which the West suspects, with no evidence, is aimed at producing bombs. Iran says its aims are purely peaceful.

“If true, this would raise serious concerns,” the US official said. “Any transfer of arms from Iran to a third country is in direct violation of Iran’s obligations under UNSCR 1747.”

The official documents seen by Reuters showed that six of eight contracts were signed with Iran’s Defense Industries Organization to supply Iraq with light and medium arms, mortar launchers, ammunition for tanks as well as artillery and mortars.

A final two contracts were agreed to with the state-owned Iran Electronic Industries for night vision goggles, communications equipment and mortar guiding devices.

One of the contracts includes equipment to protect against chemical agents. An Iraqi army major with knowledge of procurement issues said that would include items such as gas masks and gloves, as well as injections. Baghdad has expressed fear the militants will use such agents against its forces.

Officials from the Iraqi and Iranian defense ministries signed the agreements, according to the documents. They did not list a timetable for deliveries and it was not possible to confirm whether they had taken place.

Maliki is engaged in a nearly two-month-old battle in western Iraq against al Qaeda-inspired militants and rebellious tribesmen. The prime minister has blamed the unrest in Anbar on the conflict spilling over from neighboring Syria.

One Western security official said US government experts believed an Iranian-Iraqi arms deal had been in the works for some time.

The growing friendship between the two countries is discomfiting for the United States.

Iran already supplies Baghdad with electricity and gas and reiterated an offer of military assistance in January.

The weapons purchases amount to a drop in the ocean for Iraq, which receives most of its arms from the United States and has also bought weapons and helicopters from Russia and other countries.

But they are politically significant as Maliki pursues a third term in office.

“We have here a political and not a military deal,” said Amman-based Iraq analyst Yahya al-Kubaisi from the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies, a think tank filled with political opponents of the Iraqi government. “On one hand it is aimed at financing Iran, which is desperately in need of dollars, and on the other it is clearly aimed at winning Tehran’s support for Maliki’s third term.”

Three Iraqi lawmakers, who said they had knowledge of the deals, argued they were due to Maliki’s unhappiness with Washington’s response to his request to supply Iraq with arms and ammunition to fight militant groups during his visit late last year. Iraq has long complained the timetable for US weapons and aircraft delivery was too slow.

“The Americans were obviously dragging their feet from implementing the arms deals signed with Baghdad and under different pretexts, and that was a reason to get urgent shipments from Tehran,” said one of the lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

The US government in recent months has delivered Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq as part of its long-standing relationship with Baghdad, which it illegally invaded and occupied in 2003. It has also supplied Iraq with M1 Abrams tanks and is in process of delivering F-16 fighter jets.

Since fighting broke out in western Anbar in January, Washington has pushed to move ahead with the sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, which had been held up for months due to the concerns of US lawmakers about how Maliki would use them.

A lawmaker close to Maliki said the deal with Iran sent a message to Washington that threatening to withhold or delay arms purchases would no longer work.

“If you went to a shop to buy a toy and they refused to sell it to you, then as long as you have the cash, you can get it from the shop next door. It’s as simple as that,” said the official, who also asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the issue.

A senior Iraq army officer said Iran was the best source for quick shipments as some of the arms used by the Iraqi army are similar to those manufactured by Tehran, including assault weapons, mortars, artillery and tank ammunition. Iran even produces ammunition for US-made M-12 assault rifles, used by the Iraqi military.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment