Iraq: Time to draw a proper conclusion
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).
Casualties are multiplying; hundreds of thousands of refugees have left their homes. A lot of armaments and military equipment has fallen into the hands of extremists. Bandits have opened prisons, setting hundreds of detainees free, including those who were convicted of terrorist activities. As a result, there is a clear danger of the emergence of a region-wide outbreak of terrorism that will threaten not only Syria and Iraq but the whole international community.
Russia strongly condemns the terrorists' appalling criminal acts and expresses support for the government and political groups in Iraq as they resist the ISIS militants by all available means. It is vital to consolidate the efforts of all participants of the Iraqi internal political process on the basis of fighting against international terrorism and extremism, and preserving the Iraqi state. As the UN Security Council's Chairman, Russia is also working towards the mobilization of the international community to effectively confront terrorist challenges gaining wide regional dimension.
Our western partners are right to emphasize the importance of taking a strong stand against extremists. But their attempts to present the current developments in Iraq as a result of the international community's “inaction” in Syria are pitiful. They are “blind” to see a direct cause-and-effect link between the growth of international terrorism on Iraqi soil and the unleashing of the war in that country in 2003.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that those who invaded Iraq over 10 years ago and who continue to impose their decisions and will on the people of the region largely contributed to the launch of the processes of destabilization, which results are clear today in the entire Middle East. The same goes to the self-serving and biased approaches to the Syrian crisis, specifically financing and delivering weaponry to armed opposition groups, including those associated with al-Qaeda. Opportunism and double standards as regards actions of the same terrorist group in Iraq and Syria will eventually play into the hands of international extremists. That is why it would be a huge mistake to seize the ISIS-led offensive in Iraq by forcing it towards neighboring Syria. Fighting against terrorism should be comprehensive and indiscriminate.
The surge of terrorist activities in Iraq, as well as the continuing attacks of extremists in Syria confirms the topicality of the appeal announced at the G8 summit last year in Lough Erne regarding the need to consolidate the efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to decisively confront terrorists. We should recall that, as is known, the Syrian Government delegation insisted during the first round of inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva that the joint fight against terror was a priority. Unfortunately, these appeals were ignored.
The experience of the recent developments in Syria, Iraq and other Near and Middle East countries should make us draw the proper conclusion regarding the danger and inadmissibility of flirting with extremists, using double standards and interfering, including by force, in internal processes in sovereign states.
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