Alwaght- Now that the final results of the Iraqi parliamentary election have come out, the Iraqi parties are engaged in meetings which are expected to yield agreements on a new government. Alwaght has talked to Dia al-Assadi, the head of the political office of Iraq’s Sayyed Muqtada al-Sad, leader of Iraq's Saeroon coalition, winner of the largest number of seats in recent parliamentary elections,
Asked about current negotiations and particularly the role played by al-Sadr’s Saeroon Coalition, al-Assadi said that the talks are presently in their early stages, and meetings are taking place between the various sides to get a picture of the other sides’ positions. But they are far from finalization and yielding results at the present time.
“I believe in the upcoming days or even a month from now, we can think of initial deals. But the current meetings are meant to get an idea of what the factions and their leaders hold.”
Al-Assadi commented on the reasons behind al-Sadr’s announcement about readiness to ally with any coalition, excluding the State of Law and Fatah coalitions, maintaining that there are a set of principles laid out by al-Sadr and Saeroon leadership collectively. If these principles are met by any political faction, Saeroon are ready to coalesce with them. Otherwise, it cannot enter any alliances at least in the current government formation stage.
“These principles are clear to all. Forsaking any sectarian coalitions and avoiding to bow to any foreign power, either the US or the regional powers. These principles also build a platform to sue the corrupts and culprits who are responsible for messing up the Iraqi money. They stand basis to build balanced relations with the regional countries without exclusion for the good of Iraq’s security and interests. If the other factions agree with our principles, they will be within a broad coalition.”
Asked about whether Saeroon and the Sunni Al-Qarar Al-Iraqi Coalition reached an initial agreement with sponsorship by the Sunni businessmen Khamis al-Khanjar, Al-Assadi noted that the present meetings are for nothing but assessing the other sides’ viewpoints, but no alliance is finalized so far. He confirmed that Saeroon talked to Al-Qarar leaders, but there was no meeting with al-Khanjar specifically. He held that the two debated their ideas about the future cabinet. And that was a routine meeting, like seeing other factions, according to him. “Now Saeroon has a picture of what others think and the issues they focus on. But there is no stated alliance or initial pact.”
Al-Assadi also has had his say on the US military presence in Iraq and also Washington’s efforts to manipulate the alliances in the upcoming Iraqi politics, asserting that Saeroon refuse any meddling in the decision-making process.
“As Sayyed al-Sadr put it, the decision is Iraq’s and it should remain Iraq’s without taking regional or international influences. Concerning the American military presence, as Sadrist Movement with independent views, we have been against any military presence of the US on the Iraqi soil. We are in fact against any uninvited military presence. Any American or non-American presence unyielding to the Iraqi law and decisions is considered occupation. After government formation, like before that, we view the American military as uninvited. Via legal and constitutional channels, we will work to end it. We seek a stable Iraq. The government should be capable of spreading its rule across the country and establishing balanced ties with the world countries. We do not need military presence and we believe that the army and security forces now can deal with critical security cases and preserve the stability and security.”
Alwaght asked al-Assadi about whether Iraq is a scene to Washington’s anti-Iranian reckoning and if the Americans are pressuring Tehran via Baghdad. He answered: “We already made it clear that any hostility against the regional states via Iraq is unacceptable. We refuse that Iraq becomes a launching pad for aggression against any neighboring country, including the Islamic Republic of Iran. We believe that any aggression or even threat of aggression will destabilize the region. There is no interest in threats against any country. Nor is it of interests of Baghdad that threats come out from Iraq. This takes us to reject any foreign sway over the Iraq decisions.”
Al-Assadi also addressed what some believe to be huge differences between Tehran and Sadrist Movement. He, however, rejected that the diplomatic and political relations with the Islamic Republic are deteriorated. Rather, he praised Iran as a “respectful neighbor”. He added that al-Sadr repeatedly rejected anti-Iranian media blackening.
“Assad said that he does not accept any body’s disrespect of any regional government, on top of them the Islamic Republic of Iran. He does not accept to see that happening in his name or in the Sadr family or the Sadrist Movement’s name. So, any comments we see every now and then are personal ideas and never reflect the Sadrist Movement or Sayyed al-Sadr’s viewpoints.”
On May 15, the Saudi Minister for Arab Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan in a tweet appeared to draw a picture of the upcoming government-making coalitions. Asked about al-Sadr’s response to the tweet, Al-Assadi noted that Al-Sadr gave a clear reaction.
“Al-Sadr responded that the Iraqis make their own decisions independently. There is no response clearer than this one. I also commented on the tweet saying that such remarks do not help Iraq’s stability nor do they help the political process. They are hasty comments and are not reflecting the Iraqi realities. By the way, we tell those who accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran of meddling in Iraq that we refuse any foreign interference. The Iraqi government is picked by the people and so it has the capability of decision-making.”
He continued that Baghdad attempts to build strong and balanced relations with the regional states.
“You know that Iraq’s neighbors differ in terms of degree of their significance and the depth of their ties with Baghdad. Every neighbor has its own distinctions. Iran has a special distinction, as do Turkey and Saudi Arabia. During his recent meeting with the regional countries’ ambassadors, Sayyed al-Sadr told them that the disputes between regional countries cast a shadow on Iraq. So, he hopes for stability and respect between all of the regional states, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia. We have to beware of the real enemies of unity and Muslim world who occupied our lands and their policies during this period oppressed and impoverished our nations. The Arab and Muslim countries should unite to confront these challenges.”
When asked about his view of the negative Saudi Arabian role in the region and Iraq, the Al-Sadr political offices chief responded that Sadrist Movement does not make accusations against any country without evidence. “We have to ask the government to deliver any clear evidence about that if they have them.”
He did not deny that there were hate speeches and calls by some Saudi preachers asking the youths from other countries to head to Iraq to launch suicide attacks. “As you know, ISIS is not an ordinary militant organization. It embraces an ideology.” He continued that Baghdad complained to Saudi Arabia that the Saudi hate fatwas do not contribute to regional stability.
“We told them that the Iraqi Shiites are monotheistic Muslims and they carry out Haj rites. They told us that they understand the situation in Iraq. Some (Saudi) sides and figures read the Iraqi conditions the wrong way. Now they try to correct that.”
He said that Iraq’s foreign ministry takes the necessary arrangements if there is any evidence. He went on to say that even if there are proofs about the meddling, they should not be exposed to media. Because giving the case publicity will unleash accusations and tensions. That is something, he said, they do not want for Saudi Arabia, Iran, or any other neighboring state.