Middle East Monitor – The Iraqi National Accord (INA) bloc accused the Ministry of Defence of circumventing a previous government decision to ban the installation of US Patriot systems, and put forward several principles for any negotiation with Washington.
The parliamentary bloc led by Iyad Allawi announced in a statement published on Thursday, that the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC) decided during the era of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reject the installation and purchase of Patriot missile systems with the accompanying rockets from the US.
The statement added that the decision was taken: “By majority, not by consensus, and some of the current leaders voted to abstain,” wondering: “How can we respond today to the statements of the current defence minister that the missiles were installed in two bases in Iraq?”
The statement clarified the INA’s position regarding what is being discussed in the strategic dialogue with the US, stressing that the INA’s bloc: “Is not ready to participate in the strategic dialogue with the US or even be part of the negotiation committee now.”
It also emphasised the necessity to establish “principles and rules of engagement”, which must be approved by the parliament, pointing out that the House of Representatives must also agree to the negotiations’ output; otherwise: “It will not be effective because the current government is temporary.”
The statement emphasised that Iraq must maintain a strategic agreement and good relations with the international coalition led by the US because: “Daesh and the forces of terrorism and extremism are still present in Iraq, just as the Iraqi army does not have the capacity, equipment, soldiers and support to face these threats, nor are the intelligence agencies qualified to handle this kind of battles.”
The statement made the following points regarding the rules of engagement:
- Determine the number and type of forces present on Iraqi soil.
- Determine their locations and the replacement patrol according to a military and security vision.
- Determine the locations of their camps and the type of armament.
- Determine their presence – in kind, quantity, and continuity – annually in a specific month, to be agreed upon by the Iraqi Council of Representatives and the Council of Ministers.
- Form a supreme committee composed of heads of the political blocs and some influential national powers that will meet periodically with the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces to be entrusted with making political decisions.
- Prove that these troops help to protect Iraq, not the authority, and with the approval of the state of Iraq and its government, as well as the committee referred to above. These forces are not entitled in any way or under any circumstances to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, nor may they launch exterior attacks from Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi parliament.
- Reconsider and give approval or disapproval to the rules currently used by the coalition and its role, and whether applied with Iraq’s consent or not.
The coalition also demanded that this strategic dialogue be linked to ending the remaining repercussions of the 1990s UN Security Council resolutions that imposed restrictions on Iraq’s financial revenues.