Press TV has conducted an interview with Wesam Al-Bahrani, a political commentator, about a senior Iranian official highlighting the importance of retaking Mosul from the grip of terrorists, saying that the liberation of the northern Iraqi city will mark a new beginning for unity and stability in the Arab country.
Here is a rough transcription of the interview:
Press TV: Iran says that it will keep standing by Iraq in its fight against the terrorists as Iraqi forces are making headway against Daesh terrorists. How important is the role of support that Iran is giving to Baghdad?
Bahrani: Well Iran has played a very constructive role in Iraq not only it is Iraq’s neighbor but from the start when Daesh occupied the Iraqi city of Mosul two years ago, there was a real threat to the Kurdish region in the north and Daesh was also advancing south towards Baghdad. In other words, the whole of Iraq was under the threat of Daesh occupation.
Iraq being a sovereign country, made a number of requests to countries asking for assistance. While some countries were slow to offer any assistance, [Iran] was the first to answer this SOS call, Iran sent military advisers to train the depleted Iraqi army and the Kurdish forces. It has also provided much needed weapons despite Daesh. Of course one of the biggest contributions by the Iranian military advisers which Iraq can be grateful to Iran for was the Jurf al-Sakhar operation - Jurf al-Sakhar, a town only 50 kilometers from Baghdad - and when Daesh occupied this town and threatened to attack the cities of Karbala and Najaf in the south of Iraq, Iranian military advisers helped Iraqi forces and the Iraqi volunteer forces to liberate this town.
Without this victory and the numerous other victories in Samarra, in Baiji, Ramadi and in particular Fallujah where would Daesh have been today, the whole Persian Gulf was under threat, the whole region could have been under Daesh control, so this is one of the reasons why the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people are very grateful to Iran. Today’s comments by Salim al-Jabouri is nothing new. Politicians and leading figures from across Iraq, the Shias, the Sunnis - which by the way Salim al-Jabouri is a Sunni Muslim of course as is Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi who has praised Iran - but also the Kurds, the Christians. Over the last two years they have all thanked Iran for its role.
And may I add that the United States acknowledges Iran’s positive role in Iraq, if not publicly then certainly privately. Of course it is very important to note here that the Iranian military advisers are under the command of the Iraqi commander-in-chief, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi just like the American military advisers. However, the United States of America was infamously slow in providing any assistance or much needed weapons to Iraq.
Press TV: Let’s talk about the bigger picture now. How crucial is it to have countries like Iran and Russia contributing to the battle against terrorism as opposed to as you mentioned the United States, United States and its so-called coalition has certainly been censured and received a lot of criticism over its role and conduct in both Iraq and Syria?
Bahrani: The Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq alliance, since they created their own operation center and started sharing intelligence, they have made real progress in fighting terrorist groups in the region. This alliance has made a great progress in fight against terrorism. I mean if we take the American-led coalition that was formed two months after Daesh occupied Mosul, it consists of about 60 countries. However, since that time until now considering how powerful the American military is and the number of countries involved, this coalition has failed to make any significant gains.
American military commanders say they are convinced that Daesh cannot be defeated for another five to ten years whereas the Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia, this alliance has defeated Daesh terrorists and terrorists in general in the region on a significantly vast scale.
Statements like this from the Americans suggest that the United States has its own agenda in the region. There are accusations that the American military assisted Daesh in Iraq and Syria and actually the Iraqi volunteer forces have evidence of military helicopters dropping aid to terrorist groups.
The other point is that American military has put conditions on Iraqi government that if for example the Iraqi volunteer forces participate in fighting Daesh, the Americans will withdrew their own support. Why are they putting these types of conditions on Iraqi volunteer forces in answering these Daesh occupied areas?
American-led coalition is a coalition that wants to establish, I believe, political goals. It does not want to defeat terrorism in the Middle East. It is a political game and especially now leading towards the elections, the political slogans we see from the Democrats and the Republicans is who will defeat ISIL first and Trump made a true statement when he said that Clinton created these terrorists just like it created al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The other point is that the leader of Daesh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in an American jail after the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi died and when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released from American prison he announced Daesh. This is an important point that hundreds of convoys between Raqqah and Mosul filled with weapons and logistical supplies were moving between Mosul and Raqqah under American surveillance. However, did America hit any of these convoys? This suggests that there is some American cooperation with these militants.
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