investigators say an improvised device, using military—grade explosives, was due to be smuggled onto an etihad airways flight last month, but the attempt was abandoned before the men reached security. more pressure on president trump: it's emerged that a grand jury has been set up in washington, by special counsel robert mueller, to investigate russian interference in last year's elections. it may be the first step towards possible criminal charges. a british man credited with stopping the huge cyber attack which affected computers in more than 150 countries back in may has been arrested in the us. marcus hutchins was detained as he left a conference for hackers in las vegas, on unrelated charges involving banking malwa re. it's just gone it'sjust gone for 30 it's just gone for 30 a.m., amazingly. that means it's time for hardtalk
welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. this summer has perhaps given iraqis a glimmer of hope amid all of the darkness that has enveloped their country for so long. mosul, iraq's second city, has been liberated from the jihadists of so—called islamic state, and their caliphate is shrinking fast. but will any semblance of unity and stability follow? my guest today is the veteran vice president of iraq, ayad allawi. does iraq have a viable future? ayad allawi, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you very much. let's begin with the fallout from iraq's national army victory over so—called islamic state in mosul. your prime minister, mr abadi, hailed it as a great victory for iraq. there was a sense of triumphalism in his voice. are you feeling triumphant today? not really. winning a battle or two was not like winning the war. we want to win the war against extremism and against terrorism. in mosul of course this was a good in achievement but indeed we have not to lose sight of the people of mosul, their steadfastness did, and what he international community did, the us, uk and australia and so on. but what we want to achieve, really, and i warned them that this is not the end of the story. i warned abadi, i warned the president, we need to win
the war, and winning the war should be a political win. by abolishing extremism as a whole from this society, and this can only be done by having an inclusive political process and by having a quality amongst the people of iraq. so, so, just to stick with the military situation for a second, i saw generaljubouri, one of the leaders for the iraqi armed forces in mosul the other day and he told news agencies they would retake tal afar, another town which has been under is control within days. and the military have a sense they can eradicate the caliphate on iraqi soil but you seem to be saying it's not as simple as that. i don't think we are going to see the end of isis at all. it will be with us for a long time not only in iraq but it will spread, it is spreading already.
it has reached to thailand and to the philippines eastwards, and it has reached definitely to europe westwards. but in iraq you are suggesting, what, they won't hold territory so much as conduct an underground insurgency? holding territories is finished for them. but they will do insurgency, they will perform insurgencies and they will embark on insurgencies and resorting back to the terrorist activities of explosions and killing assassinations. that is why i say we have to win the war rather than battles. one aspect of iraq's approach to the mosul conflict and the wider struggle against is is the allegation among many quarters, not least inside iraq, from the kurdish leader, masoud ba rzani, that, with the focus on the military struggle, the iraqi government has consistently failed to prepare for the post—battle political and humanitarian settlement. absolutely correct.
well, you're part of that government. you're the vice president. i follow this. i have said it. i was the first one to say this. that neither the humanitarian aspect was respected and treated well, nor the fact that, looking beyond the military activities, looking into the political horizon of what should happen, this has not happened in two areas, and i told abadi, by the way. let's talk humanitarian activities, basic human rights. i am sure, mr vice president, you have seen the shocking videos... shocking. ..of what appear to be iraqi forces executing men, we don't know who they are, in mosul after the end of the conflict. we've seen one graphic video of an individual being thrown off a cliff and shot.
how can the iraqi government allow this to happen, given the history of iraq over the last 15 years? because this plays into more extremism. because this has gone out of the hands of the government. this has gone into the militia ares and to the lawless people, and indeed a government which is unable to control the situation in mosul. this is when i refer to the collateral damage that has been happening. let alone what i have witnessed and seen myself, people living, displaced people, living really beneath what animals live in iraq. the un is saying the humanitarian crisis in and around mosul today is so pressing... is a ticking bomb, it will explode in ourface in future, i assure you. there are thousands without parents,
without families, who are coming out of tunnels and rooms in mosul and no one it seems in your government has a clue what to do with them. no, no. there is bitterness now amongst the people. the people are quite bitter, especially the people who are living in tents, who are refusing to go back to mosul, people who have had their parents destroyed in the conflict, and people who are left in the shelters and the wilderness. there is bitterness there and this bitterness will only increase with time, and it will be an exploding bomb. this is what nobody looked at. the humanitarian side. i keep reminding myself you are the vice president of the country. you may tell me that is meaningless, that you are simply a figurehead... no, no. ..0r, alternatively, what on earth are you doing about it? because your government needs to be held to account. of course, i agree. and i have raised this issue in the meetings with the prime minister
and with the president, of course. and i have been raising this issue in the media, and in the meetings, but nothing is happening. they say the military conflict should take precedence in the conflict. but the humanitarian issue is really very bad. and, indeed, the political horizon of what may happen in future is very bad. we have been talking for a few minutes and on every aspect of what we discuss in mosul and the security situation around mosul, you seem to be saying that the government you represent as vice president is incapable of imposing its will and its authority, and is actually stoking the flames of the conflict which, although we have just seen mosul quote unquote "liberated", in your view, is actually going to get worse. well, they don't want to see the reality, the government, they don't want to see the humanitarian side, although they speak about it.
and they don't want to see the political side. but i am getting a feeling that you are pretty powerless in this situation. 0n the bigger picture, that of the militias and, indeed, the popular mobilisation forces as well, we know that five of the largest of the popular mobilisation forces, including the badr brigade, for example, they receive support, money and direct assistance from tehran. now, what should be done about that? well, iran has always been a problem for iraq. and i want since a long time ago that iran is moving gradually, systematically to controlling the situation in iraq. you know, let me explain one thing which is very important. the vice presidents, the presidents, the president, do not have any executive powers. i am getting that feeling
during this interview... it's more or less of a protocol. yes. and ijoined them because of the reconciliation process, which was undermined. to be blunt about it, you are there as a figleaf. yes, yes, yes. and a somewhat useful figleaf for the government. as long as you sit as vice president, you are giving some sort of credibility to a government which you appear to be saying is, in essence, right now being run by the iranians. not run completely by the iranians but iran is making the macro and micro decisions. the macro decisions started in 2010 when we won the elections and the united states sided with the iranians then. what, you think the us and iran ensured that you, even though your coalition actually won the most seats,
you didn't take power, and you're saying it was the combination of the united states and iran...? i made it clear that it would run against allawi, and the americans were with this and this was conveyed to us of course by biden, the vice president of the united states, that we are not ready to accept that, that iran will intervene in iraq and we are going to pull out from iraq, so we will have to toe the rope with iran. i mean, prime ministeral maliki seemed close with tehran. it always seemed prime minister al abadi was somewhat less beholden to iran. yes, yes, absolutely, but he is overpowered. by? by iranian forces. for example, qasem soleimani, who is sometimes seen on iraqi
territory, he spends a great deal of time strategically planning iran's role. not only strategically, even tactically. we are talking about the commander of the revolutionary forces in iran. he spends more time in iraq and in iran. the more you tell me about what is happening in your country today as you see it, the more i am thinking that any talk of mosul‘s liberation being a watershed moment, something iraqis can hold onto as a sign that things are going to and get better — it is wrong. i don't see this happening personally. i called for political resolutions. that will lead to equality in iraq. i call that they should stop bifurcation, which happening these days.
they should really take care of the displaced. they should stop the... i spoke to the leaders of the the liberation, i told them that the only person eligible is those who joined the army and the police. iraq should not have two parallel armies, popularisation and in the ordinary army and police. and i told this to abadi and i said this to the media. but we don't have executive powers. even the president doesn't have executive powers. this is contrary to the constitution, by the way. the constitution says that the president, the presidency, should oversee the implementation of the constitution. if you are so concerned about these threats to unity in iraq, and the preponderance of militias and mobilisation units in the end represent sectarian forces inside your country,
why, oh, why have you in recent weeks decided to throw in your lot politically with muqtada al—sadr, one of the firebrand members of the political situation? no, no, i neversigned any political deal. but we are trying to explore who is closest to us in terms of the basic issues in iraq. and so far he is the closest as far as the quality, as far as anti— sectarian, as far as attacking iran. but forgive me, muqtada al—sadr is trusted by no one in the sunni community, and now you appear with your party and your coalition intent on using him to try to win power in the next iraqi election. it is opportunism. .. no, no, no. i haven't signed any agreement with him, believe me.
i am saying this on tv, open tv. i haven't signed any agreement. we are talking to all parties in iraq, sunni, shia, baathist everybody — to find who is closest to us. we want to forge any kind of coalition ultimately. we don't feel now is the time for coalitions and definitely i don't feel that i am ready to force agreements and coalition with any sectarian force at all. i am secular. i am against sectarianism. i am against proselytising religion and i am not going to move away from this position at all. let's‘s talk about the kurds.
we talked about the shia and sunnis. the kurdish regional area. injust a month or so, september 25, we are going to see a referendum organised by the ruler of the kurdish region. yes or no to kurdish independence. it is predicted that the kurdish people are going to vote yes. what impact will that have on iraq's chances of staying as a unitary state ? iraq would be lost, it would be dismantled completely. that is why i spoke to some of those in kurdistan who i am going to see once i get back to iraq. i think the referendum is pretty much sure. the dismemberment of iraq is wrong, i think that the kurds would be
losers in this case. do you believe that this referendum could hasten a future conflict between the baghdad government... yes, it will, i am sure. even the regional governments and the kurds. you mean war? well, conflict... taking it step—by—step. there will be a political conflict. i don't think any of the regions will acknowledge this. neither iran nor turkey... it has been conveyed to me that iran is putting pressure, this was discussed last week, iran is putting a lot of pressure on the kurds, because they don't accept what is happening. the iranians, let alone the kurds... your message to the kurds, as they prepare to go to the polls,
is — be careful what you wish for? yes, and rationalise even the question. this is very important. one factor in all of these publications... self—determination is something in the nature of iraq. complete independence from iraq is something else. really, the wording of the questions should be very clear. one factor we have... this is what the iraqi government should focus on when they talk to mosul. the referendum has to take place. they cannot run away from this. but there is another way of rationalising the issue of the referendum in the questioning. the statements that should come out on this issue of the referendum, if they continue to say, this is to separate iraq and kurdistan, this is going to be very bad for everybody in the region, not only iraq.
this is the promises that have been laid down, i am not blaming anybody but powers including the united states have a hand in this, when they occupied iraq... when they overthrew saddam hussein, they dismantled the whole country. i was going to ask you about the united states. one factor we have not discussed is the role of the united states. president trump, for the last six months in power in washington... do you believe the americans are actually understanding just how dangerous the situation in iraq is? i don't think they are understanding, i don't think they want to understand. i think even in the conflict on isis, they were only thinking on the military side of things. they wouldn't even look at how to prepare for post—isis, what to do in mosul and elsewhere.
that is why america have lost... america have a very distinct imagination for the greater middle east area. donald trump has made it plain that as far as he is concerned, his primary focus and responsibility is to destroy so—called islamic state and protect america from terrorism in iraq, in syria, and that is, beyond all else, his objective. fine, we don't dispute this. 0n the other hand, he should take into account care of what is legal and political, as well as... taking care of iraq and the future of iraq, because after all, they hold legal responsibility when they dismantle the country. iraqis wanted us forces out, 0bama withdrew all forces in 2011. do you think american forces need to come back? no, no, i am not suggesting this.
i am suggesting that the united states should have clear policies and they need to advise the iraqi government because they have a moral obligation to do so. they have a legal obligation to do so. they are defending the united states in the world from islamic state, but iraq is the theatre for this conflict. they need to be more careful and work more clearly with the moral as well as the other obligations. talking about the moral obligations, you are the vice president of iraq, have you met donald trump? not yet. you said not long ago, there is a vacuum in the overall leadership in the world. really pointing a finger at the americans. yes. you said the americans need
to get back to their role as the international power. yes. i still stand by this statement. not using the military. but to exercise their political role as well as the military role. there is a vacuum in the leadership. in world leadership. there is nothing. in the end, you can't blame anybody else for the state of iraq today. you and your generation... i just want to develop this thought. we have spoken several times and it seems your generation of iraqi leaders, the post—saddam generation of iraqi leaders, have failed to deliver stability, unity and the most basic security to the people of your country. i agree, and this is not because of the fault of politicians only. it is the dismantlement of the state, the institutions of the state of iraq that had
to do with occupation. we are paying the price now. not only was saddam overthrown, but the state of iraq was overthrown. the army, the security, the intelligence. the judiciary. the process of political... politicising the dismantling. the whole state was dismantled and there was a vacuum in iraq. we first spoke many years ago, and i wonder if we speak again in ten years, you actually believe iraq as we know it today will exist. we have talked about your belief that islamic state is not eradicated and that the struggle will continue, and the terror and the violence. we have talked about the kurds and your belief that there could be a conflict looming with the kurdish in the north of your country. yes. iraq doesn't seem to have a viable future?
for now, there is that sense. but it is something that is changing in iraq. the dynamics and movement of the people, talking to the clerics of the shia and sunni, as well as christians, they are calling for a civic state, for dismantling sectarianism and moving towards an equal citizenship. that is talk, and the reality on the ground is that the sectarian militias, popular mobilisation forces, these are the guys... the clerics are aware, this was due to the mobilisation of people, millions went to the streets. they went to the street to demand change. this is change. this is very clear change. the government are starting to impose these popular organisations. other issues are not being taken into account. but the mood of the populace has changed in iraq.
this is what we should encourage. ayad allawi, we have to end there, but thank you very much. thank you. hello, once again. this sphere is beginning to get a bit overworked. it's been one of those weeks. the reason? that area of low pressure has been thereabouts across the british isles for much of the past week. there are signs of a change, but it's going to be oh so slow. feeling that way across northern scotland from the word go. showers, if not longer spells of rain. that's not the only area. coming away to the opposite end of the country, showers running in up the bristol channel, getting into the northern half of devon and cornwall, up to bristol. another feed coming in from the channel itself, away towards the kent and sussex coasts.
further north, some dry weather across the east midlands, east anglia, and the rest of the south—east, but generally speaking, the further north you go, the cloud fills in and some of those showers become ever more persistent. that will be the way of it for a good part of the morning across the north—east of scotland. even here, that cloud will begin to break into lunchtime and the early afternoon. and the wind is not as much of a feature across the british isles through friday, as was the case for some of you on thursday. with that combination, less of a breeze, more in the way of sunshine and fewer showers, 22—23. we won't get to those lofty heights and i don't think anyone will shoot another 64 at kingsbarn, in fife. the rain won't be persistent, but it could be heavy at times, as it could be over the eastern borders and the north—east of england. some of those showers in the afternoon quite punchy. through the evening and overnight, keeping the showers going across northern and western parts. you're at your driest perhaps through central and eastern areas. here we are into the weekend.
that low pressure now dominant over scandinavia. a little ridge of high pressure trying to settle things down, and it will do across the southern counties of england and wales. but further north, east anglia, lincolnshire, there will be showers again. again, not too much in the way of a breeze, but it will be noticeable. temperatures really nothing spectacular for this time of year. that little ridge of high pressure that will have killed off some but not all of the showers and will make for a chilly start to sunday underneath clear skies. which, sadly, will fill in rapidly across western scotland and northern ireland too, with rain here moving in for the afternoon. generally speaking, the further south and east you are, the drier your day will be. eventually, come monday, what is left of that front will gradually stagger its way to the south—eastern quarter of the british isles. hello, this is bbc news — i'm james menendez. our top stories: police in australia
say two men charged with plotting to bring down an airliner were taking directions from an islamic state commander. we will be alleging in court that a fully functioning ied was to be placed on that plane on the 15th of july. president trump again dismisses claims of russian meddling in the us election as a grand jury is convened to gather evidence. a health scare in europe after toxic insecticide is found in dutch eggs — millions have been recalled and destroyed. one of the world's tallest residential buildings — the torch tower in dubai — is engulfed in flames for the second time in two years. i'm ben bland.