The 13th edition of the Manama Dialogue kicked off in the Bahraini capital on Friday with terrorism in the region and the world taking center stage.
The panel of discussion included Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the foreign minister of Iraq, and Yenny Wahid, director of the Wahid Institute in Indonesia.
Tensions emerged at the talks, especially after a series of questions on Iran’s role in the region and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces.
Jaafari, who stressed his Arab and Iraqi identity more than once, declared that he did not come to Manama to defend Iran or justify its actions. He said that Tehran was the victim of terrorism and that it played a constructive role in Iraq.
For his part, Prince Turki detailed Iran’s meddling in internal Arab affairs and its backing of terrorist militias. He hailed the United States for designating Iran as a state-sponsor of terrorism, saying that Tehran has supported the Houthis militias in Yemen, Syrian regime head Bashar Assad and Lebanon’s “Hezbollah.”
This support cannot be concealed, he remarked.
Furthermore, he accused Iran’s allies in Yemen of killing former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as well 2,000 of his supporters in the past few days, as stipulated in United Nations reports.
Jaafari later gave a presentation on Iraq’s achievements in defeating the ISIS terrorist group, saying that this victory “belonged to everyone.”
Asked about where ISIS terrorists have fled to after they were expelled from Iraq, he replied: “It is not our duty in Iraq to follow them in whichever state they have run to. What is important is that we have defeated and gotten rid of them.”
At this point, Prince Turki congratulated the Iraqi army and forces on their defeat of ISIS.
For her part, Wahid said that there are 200 million Muslim Indonesians, but only 500 of them have joined terrorist groups.
She said that her country used Saudi Arabia as an example on how to wage a war on terrorism.
Participants at the Manama Dialogue also condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jaafari deemed the move as “reckless”, warning that this “bad decision will have repercussions,” some of which may be felt in his country.
Politicians, diplomats and security experts from some 20 countries are taking part in this year’s Manama Dialogue.
Each edition of the seminar seeks to address important and serious issues related to regional stability and political and economic development.
For the 13th edition, experts will address how to improve security coordination that would provide stability for the people in the region. The role the United States can play to that end will also be tackled. Attention will be focused in particular on the wars in Yemen and Syria and the situation in Iraq.