As we move forward from the significant August White House meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Donald Trump, many have actually questioned the intent and hopes of each side.
If you’ve followed the oil price drop and production disputes between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia, and recall the large influential presence Iran has emboldened in Iraq through Shia militias who were given official decree under former Prime Minister Haider al-Abady, then you know that economic stagnation and corruption in Iraq has significantly impacted that nation.
The ability to fight off domestic and international state and non-state terrorists within Iraq requires a massive investment in training and defense.
Additionally, the inability to gain control over a rising COVID-19 threat has further crippled Iraq’s abilities to repel attacks on Taji Airbase and in Baghdad’s "Green Zone."
This led many of Iraq's followers to surmise that Prime Minister Kadhimi and President Trump would discuss financial and political support at the time of their meeting.
According to the White House transcript, President Trump assured Prime Minister Kadhimi that, "our relationship now is better than ever before. [W]e have very few soldiers in Iraq, and — but we’re there to help. . . . We very much feel that if Iran should do anything, we will be there to help the Iraqi people. . . . We’re doing big trade deals, we’re doing military deals, and we’re doing military purchases by them, where they’re spending a lot of money on purchasing equipment and they’re building up their military rapidly, and we like to see that."
Prime Minister Kadhimi replied, "Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to thank you for receiving us in the White House today. I ’m grateful for all the support offered by the United States to Iraq during the war against ISIS. This support has built our partnership for the best interests for our nation. Mr. President, yesterday we signed many contracts with American companies. Iraq is open for American business and investment and for a better future for Iraq and Iraqi people.
"Thank you very much."
Prior to Prime Minister Kadhimi’s visit, the largest Shia political bloc within the Iraqi Parliament, the Fatah bloc, told the prime minister that the parliamentary vote to expel U.S. troops from Iraq is not reversible.
This could have been a point of tension between the two leaders, and would have thus hindered discussions over the security of the U.S. Embassy — and our military personnel.
More significantly and critically, we can only hope that, privately, the leaders discussed how Prime Minister Kadhimi and his team intend to disarm the pro-Iranian militias supported by members of parliament and key ministries in Iraq.
Tellingly, the Iraqi political situation is moving in two different directions.
The robust and strong wave of protesters continue their movement to effectuate change to their democracy and have the government recognize their freedoms.
The desire of the Iraqi youth to rid the nation of foreign influence in the existing political system that has led to massive financial corruption; this has drained the nation economically, thus depriving opportunities for the next generation of Iraqis.
The Iraqi prime minister has a very tight line to walk and must finesse the political turmoil that Iran has brought to the region. If he is too heavy-handed this could lead to sectarian wars as well as an increase in assassinations and other violence by militias in the country.
On the other hand, if the prime minister does not clearly demonstrate to the U.S., and the West, that Iraq has a plan to weaken Iran’s malignant activities in the region, threatening Iraq's stability, then this too will be unacceptable.
Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Khadimi knows he faces some difficult explanations and challenges. He knows without the U.S. and its allies, that they will fall prey to Iran and their militias.
However, the prime minister has shown some decisive and successful reform in Iraq.
Recently, he worked towards border protection forces and protecting Iraq’s sovereignty.
This was widely supported by the Iraqi people who have long-felt the borders to Iraq were too porous and unprotected from adversarial neighbors. This was especially true with the respect to the borders of Um Qaser, Iraq’s most prominent shipping port, located in the southern city of Basra.
It is here, where the Iranians wanted to command control and force tribal conflict if the elders did not accept the proxy militias' control.
This should demonstrate to President Trump that the new prime minister is working towards securing a future for his country.
He is making calculated moves to weaken Iran’s position in the country.
Thus, he requires additional help in achieving the final goal of stability.
Based on their historic meeting, it's clear that Prime Minister Kadhimi shares a similar vision with President Donald J. Trump, to "Make Iraq Great Again."
Mrs. Al Saadi is a refugee from Iraq and now a naturalized American citizen. Prior to co-founding PACEM Solutions International in Falls Church, Virginia, Mrs. Alsaadi held multiple Senior Executive positions and served with the US Department of State as a Cultural Advisor and the US Department of Defense as a Translator/Analyst in Iraq. Mrs. Alsaadi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Baghdad University and her Executive Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University. Read Rana Alsaadi's Reports — More Here.
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