‘Maliki is not going to leave without a fight’
RT:Does Maliki have enough backing to cling on to power?
Sabah Al-Mukhtar: I think he has lost the power now; the new Prime Minister has been appointed and has been welcomed by various political groups within the parliament and indeed even within the party of Maliki. The French congratulated him; they said they expect him to set up a government. So all these factors show that Maliki has gone, however, Maliki still has hold of the powers. So he has got the military now surrounding the green zone, he has got tanks on the bridges in Baghdad, he is going to unleash his militias against his opponents, whoever the opponents might be, whether they are from his party or from other grouping or whoever is going to get in his way. I think this is the beginning of a new problem, which is going to create quite a lot of mayhem among the people. We hope we are wrong.
Maliki is pretending and claiming that he will go to court, ask the court to issue a decision. In fact, the same court in 2011 gave a decision in his favor, although he lost the elections then, now the court is giving a decision in his favor again, although he has been banned by other groups. The picture is still not clear, but I think Maliki is gone, now it’s a matter of how to deal with the post-Maliki situation and what he is going to do.
RT:So you don’t think he is going to go without that proverbial fight?
SA: No, if he wanted to do it, he would have done it a long time ago. He has been told by so many, by the Americans, by his masters, by Iran, by his party, by the Shias, by the Sunnis – everyone indicated to him one way or another “Please, go! We don’t want your third term because the Constitution doesn’t allow you to stay for a third term.” He got the judge issue the judgment saying “Yes, he can,” and he said he would adhere to the decision of the court. This man is not going to go without a fight; he is willing to sacrifice everything. We are looking at Nero in Rome situation.
RT:Meanwhile, the US is going to great lengths to help beat back Islamists in Northern Iraq. That's an oil-rich region and the jihadists have already captured several oil fields there. What's your take on the motives for America's intervention?
SA: It is an irony when President Obama came; he said that the involvement in Iraq was illegal and crazy, that it was not good. And now he is ending his presidency in re-visiting Iraq and intervening there. I think the intervention is probably more of a propaganda situation; it is more of a media show because the idea that you can fight terrorism from the air is a non-starter anyway. There is a serious humanitarian problem in that region. Instead of giving aid and help, he is sending bombers which doesn’t bode well, it is going to reflect badly because the rest of the Muslims in Iraq, who are the majority, are going to say “When we are being killed by the Americans and by Maliki nobody decided that we needed help, now when the Christians are having this…” So this is a creation of a new problem within the country.
RT:Some top US officials say the Islamic State jihadists are a direct threat to the West. One image that's been used to back this claim is that of a young Australian boy, holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier. These are certainly powerful pictures, but how significant a threat to the West do the jihadists really pose?
SA: Quite honestly in my view the biggest threat they represent is for the Iraqis. The Iraqis are paying the price. Cameron, Obama and the rest of the world are of course concerned about terrorism, and terrorism has no borders, but the brand of this terrorist act is being borne by the Iraqis and it is only the Iraqis that they will get rid of it, you cannot do it from the outside provided that the outside does not read the uprising as an ISIS uprising.
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