ISIS Dormant Cells Pave Way for Open US Presence in Iraq

A US soldier in Iraq. (AFP)
A US soldier in Iraq. (AFP)
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ISIS Dormant Cells Pave Way for Open US Presence in Iraq

A US soldier in Iraq. (AFP)
A US soldier in Iraq. (AFP)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari hinted on Monday about the possibility of keeping American troops in Iraq for the long term due to dormant ISIS cells.

“The military intervention of the international coalition in Iraq and the support it offered to the Iraqi government in its war against ISIS were based on conditions that do not violate the country’s sovereignty,” al-Jaafari said.

The US-led international coalition was launched in 2016 to retake ISIS-held regions in Iraq.

The foreign minister said that the presence of this coalition “will continue until dormant ISIS cells currently present in the country are dealt with.”

Fears concerning the security situation in Iraq emerged after the appearance of men from the “White Flags” group in certain Iraqi areas close to Kurdish-majority zones, also driving concerns that the group could become a new version of ISIS, whose military defeat in Iraq was declared last week.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday that the focus in the next phase would be directed towards intelligence efforts, a strategy already kicked off by security and military apparatuses.

In Baghdad's district of Bataween, Iraqi security forces arrested around 256 suspects, including some accused of belonging to terrorist cells, according to a statement issued by Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Iraqi prime minister said there “is no presence of any US military bases in Iraq, despite the existence of contrary statements concerning this issue.”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday, Ihsan Al Shameri, the head of the Political Thought Center in Baghdad said that “the presence of US and international coalition advisers was limited in Iraqi military bases, which operate under Iraqi orders.”

In that context, Hisham al-Hashemi, a defense analyst in Baghdad, asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat there were no purely US military bases in Iraq, except those already present in Irbil.

“The US forces in other Iraqi areas operate in joint bases with the Iraqi side, including the international coalition forces, which are responsible for training and supporting the mission of Iraqi forces,” he said.



Iraq Says No Green Light to Turkish Operations in Kurdistan

Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
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Iraq Says No Green Light to Turkish Operations in Kurdistan

Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said on Friday his country hasn’t given Türkiye the green light to carry out operations in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

In televised remarks, he said the Baghdad government needs to hold more “security discussions with Turkish officials, even though it recognizes that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is also an Iraqi problem.”

He added that the Turkish army has been deployed in some Iraqi territories since 1991.

The deployment will be discussed during meetings with Turkish officials that will be held soon, he revealed.

Previous discussions with Türkiye did not yield an agreement over the security file, continued the FM. Türkiye is tying its deployment to the presence of the PKK.

Given that the group is present in Iraq, then it must also be dealt with in an “Iraqi way,” he went on to say.

The Turkish military’s incursion of 40 kms inside Iraqi territory had sparked widespread political and popular uproar.

Iraq’s national security council convened to address the issue.

Spokesman of the armed forces Yahya Rasool said the council tackled the Turkish violations and interference in the joint Iraqi-Turkish border regions.

He stressed Baghdad’s rejection of the incursion and undermining of Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Türkiye must respect the principles of good neighborliness and work diplomatically with the Iraqi government and coordinate with it over any security issue, he added.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani had dispatched a delegation led by the national security council head to Kurdistan to discuss general affairs and come up with a unified position over Iraq’s sovereignty.