tv Sophie Co RT July 7, 2014 8:29am-9:01am EDT
well welcome to sophie and go on sophie shevardnadze general najib abed has served his nation his whole adult life first in the military under saddam hussein and then as a mayor of the town of tal afar after the u.s. invasion his efforts to combat militant extremism by working around sectarian divides managed to bring peace to the city but now as says that it's controlled far his former mayor follows that spate closely and with concern he's here with us today to explain what exactly is going on in iraq today.
as isis makes lighting fast advances in iraq the nation's armies fleeing on us showing the world how feeble the country is three years after u.s. troops left its soil what's the cause of its weakness what will it take to contain the wave of terror and can come out of this as a united nation. najim a bad algebraic slayer over iraq a town of tal afar which is now in isis hands you are now based in america and you are made a scholar it's great to have you on our show today now talent far has been overtaken by isis you were the city's mayor i know and i know that you keep in touch with your colleagues there so what's going on right now how is to sit in managing under . for witness the same thing most of the other cities did frankly speaking with the local security forces was pretty low they didn't feel
like fighting at all their commanders abandoned the soldiers locals told me about. had left his position in a secure historic fortress on the top of a high hill and moved to the airport which is an open unprotected area their commanders were involved in corruption and were only interested in raising money they were not ready for a war the army has no national spirit it was built as a religion which is wrong because religion divides. the only thing that mattered to them was being. so the army lost its commanders and morale failed in the battle against several hundred. and fighters general before we talk about why the army playing in masses i want to ask a couple of questions about itself this success since like a complete surprise to the public how did they gain so much support so suddenly.
the iraqi government took the wrong course and building a relationship with its people in fact it split them into first rate and second rate citizens for instance decisions by paul bremer is occupational authority like destroying the baath party dismissing the iraqi army and shutting down iraqi public institutions were wrong the way the government implemented all that was very harmful. to annihilate the party was taken as an order to annihilate sonic's people in western bend and then forgotten or their country did nothing for them and did not protect their rights so they took to the streets the protests continued for over a year the iraqi government paid no attention to them its it was too overwhelmed with its military potential too busy equipping and training the army but it overlooked the fact that these masses could become infuriated. in which case no
military force would stop the authorities do it with those demonstrations. strongly over sixty people were killed and. as well as in fallujah and other cities soldiers storming the square's another ramadi became the final straw sunni it's turned into a movement generating mechanism ready to fight against the government i believe it was your stories who pushed some news to the edge so they started looking to cooperate with whatever group there was beat isis troops or others ok but now your prime minister saying that saudi arabia funding. is saying is true and what's in it for riyadh saudi arabia need a taliban style extremist state on its northern border do you think it's true that saudis are financing the isis. i do not think the saudi government finances ice's or any other terrorist organizations. certain
individuals organizations based in saudi arabia or in the other gulf countries may be involved in. saudi arabia just like other countries in the region has suffered from terrorism which prompted its government regulations to criminalize any connections to such organizations it is true that saudi arabia and iran are in a religious confrontation rather a fight for leadership but i believe that there is no link between these extremists and the saudi government oh as i've already said they might be funded by individuals who have nothing to do with the government. ok now earlier on you mentioned that division that there are divisions that political parties create within the iraqi army tell me are those divisions to blame for the total breakdown of the military. i think that there is more to the crisis in iraq than just armed
conflict there are also the political differences the confrontation between various political parties and groups to squabble over privileges and high offices in the government all of this has made security vulnerable in our country at large scale corruption among. which has to. favorable conditions for terrorism to develop. political confrontation and corruption are both key factors that affect the military. remember also the criminal cases about deals to buy and sell faulty weapons and equipment which involved iraqi politicians in the military as well there's been more than one story like that the media has covered them extensively. now like we've seen the army fleeing in masses putting the. on arms but we see the kurds that they're actually the ones that are capable of repelling gases those in syria and in iraq and why is that the iraqi army isn't capable of doing that either
. the iraqi military has lost its patriotic feeling this is the key reason an army without ideology can never be a strong one and looks as if it were made up of mercenaries they do not fight for an idea for a goal for their homeland when iraq was a war with iran a script would give me. strength he was over he would go to the front line aware that with ninety percent probability of he'd be killed now the situation has taken a u. turn as far as i know servicemen receive calls from their parents who tell them do not fight for these dirty politicians. kurdish fighters are an entirely different story they have a dream no they're fighting for their homeland they want to build a state of their own their aspirations are highly ambitious they have faith and
patriotic feeling they are very different from the regular army in iraq. this morning. now so far the ass is a parading in predominantly sunni areas of iraq while their success has stalled once they move into a shia majority territory. it's not only isis that is responsible for what's happening in the sunni regions it's tribes retired officers and baathists. must be more prominent in soudan actually there are also people who sympathize with former officers who feel offended because they were dismissed and not given what they were entitled to but some time ago the government conducted a number of operations in a city. something that the government called a preemptive strike designed to curb any possible insurgency. reports from karbala
about skirmishes between the army and the guards of shia cleric. several people will note this situation in the south is also tense. there might be the so-called dormant cells in the sunni areas which could be exploited by the rebels in groups be isis or others they could exploit them whenever they want. us. to think acis have any chance of taking over iraq. i don't think so. isis is not that strong but at least the way we see it that isis acts like a shock force they can capture territory and then hand it over to other groups take mosul for. this is no longer there they took the city and handed it over to the local tribes to its supporters and some former officers who back and. according to the dot i have biases accounts for no more than five percent of the total force
acting in a sunni. so there are other groups that cooperate with them. i don't think isis has the capacity to take control of the whole of iraq that's not possible. all right talk a bit about the leader. now he was a u.s. prison there but that he was set free for good behavior saying that he was not a threat anymore what do you think is that a blunder for they hear us intelligence. absolutely . we work with americans while they were still here. these prisons are hard bits of terrorism we know that prisoners were freed to meet and talk among them were people who had nothing to do with terrorism but once they were put in any of those jails. or people with
a certain ideology they were brainwashed and left a prison with a completely different mindset. then they joined al qaeda and similar networks. there were many innocent people locked up in jails and. because they were unjustly convicted because they were down jordan they easily accepted the ideas spread by extremists. brainwashed. those jails was calm booker. there were so many moderate people who ended up being extremists after leaving this jail is. all right general we are going to take a short break right now we'll be back with. a former mayor of the iraqi town of tal afar to talk about what's next for the country stay with us.
and we're back with the g m a bad algebra with former mayor of the iraqi town of tal afar made a scholar base in america welcome back to the show now i read somewhere that you've said the u.s. has wrecked your country but you also believe that it is the united states that can save it well honestly we all remember what happened the last time u.s. intervened iraq so is that really wise. well as i have already mentioned the united states has effectively admitted that
the invasion of iraq was a major mistake. the split imposed on the iraqi public has been primarily influenced by u.s. ambassador paul bremmer. iraq never used to be like this before two thousand and three shiites didn't get killed for being shiites and likewise sunni's encouraged didn't get killed for being what they are not anywhere in iraq people didn't get killed for what their passport said. i believe the americans have admitted they had made some fatal mistakes by banning the baath party disbanding the army dismissing government institutions and forming the iraqi governing council i think that the united states as the world's greatest power player certain moral commitments. along with the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed. they should rebuild what they have previously destroyed in iraq in collaboration with the international community
and let us hope iraq won't split into three smaller weaker states in such an event we would witness an eruption of ferocious experion in ethnic violence with arabs kurds turkoman and all other iraqi communities being at each other's throats. that is why i believe the us should not distance itself from what's going on in iraq instead it should collaborate with the un security council with the regional powers and with the rest of the world to assist in rebuilding iraq and i don't just mean rebuilding infrastructure. but do you feel general i'm sorry but do you feel like the american us know what they're doing like even ten years on because i know that obama's administration is calling now for a new leadership in iraq that's number one request. but it also proves the call for fresh leadership in egypt in libya in syria it's not really working out in those
countries either do you feel like the white house knows what it's doing do you feel like it knows to peculiarities of iraqi people and iraq in general. opinion america's military might and its foreign policy exist separately from one another. the us is a formidable military power but sadly it's weak foreign policy wise that is why i'm not inclined to suspect the obama administration pursuing some secret plan directed against iraq had warned the public about iraq's security forces back in two thousand and nine. we are seeing today many people didn't agree with me then saying the new iraqi military are normally of the people and for the people and therefore there a strong will withstand anything. but at the end of the day what has happened was exactly what i had warned against that is why i think u.s.
foreign policy is weak as it fails to focus on the right issues. so do you think it could make things worse in iraq. we have practically hit rock bottom the situation is critical a u.n. report alleges more than five thousand people were killed. in iraq this month alone the purpose of the people of baghdad fear attacks from isis. and insurgent groups sunni's are afraid and so are shiites. province isis fighters are engaging government troops and targeting locals people are dying there over a million refugees out of mosul. and baghdad. they just can't get much worse and that there is fighting in karbala as we speak the situation in iraq is very difficult and we're looking at
a very grim future unless politicians manage to come up with a government that observes and pursues the interests of each and every iraqi. for now when you were a year you try to build a system in tal afar that would ignore after the sectarian lines and emphasize civil. why did you fail out in the early. and in fail. and yet thank god i succeeded and my success in tal afar was that i help people remember that they are iraqi i help people forget about their religious or ethnic differences and concentrate only on being iraqi nationals . but it ended up in a very different. unfortunately one style a far recovered and became stable and prosperous the iraqi government made sure to remind people intel or for that i used to be
a member and in general during saddam hussein's rule. unfortunately people always have their religious differences and when people were reminded of having them they stopped living in peace with each other this never happened while the americans were in there they would never have allowed something like this. lost my protection when the u.s. forces started to withdraw. received several orders to leave my post later i learned that they were circles in the iraqi government. which would do anything they could to destroy me if i refused to resign. the reason i stepped down. but i thank god that the people of color far stood by each other and protected each other despite everything that's happening there. that the local sunnis held the local shiites escape and didn't let isis kill any of them a thing of god people still feel united work hard to create
a feeling of national unity and the residents of tal afar remember that first and foremost they're citizens of iraq. you have to collaborate with americans while you are aware i mean right now european based in the united states but while you were mayor did you feel like you were collaborating with occupiers or was living liberators what's what does an average iraqi feel at that moment. i'm completely open about this when i work with them i view them as occupiers not liberators i always said that i did my best to help my people recover from the massacre and devastation and i can't deny that i met some truly good and humane people in the u.s. army all the needed was advise and they asked for it i managed to prevent my town suffering the fate of fallujah to prevent the same things from happening there you know i told them in two thousand and nine not to use any heavy weapons or air force
in their missions where i said i would resign. and they listen to me and never use those kinds of weapons everyone knows what i did for tal afar only the iraqi government unfortunately doesn't want to knowledge it just them. they know very well what i did. even the prime minister said it he commended my work in tal afar but unfortunately there are many inside the government who want to build a revenge state in iraq with a policy of revenge and violence. well one cannot build a nation state with such a policy this explains the failure where women seem today. ok so because there are so. much sectarian divide like you sat do you feel like iraq could be one country ever again or is it going to end up being divided into curt's
sunni and shia states. the iraqi people have any separatist sentiments they have been forced onto us by the government and politicians because they're losers who cannot keep their warm scene without backup from the sectarians so the problem lies with the politicians not with the people if the politicians remain shortsighted and focus only on their vested interests then yes the country will fall apart. some of them listen to the voice of their conscience and feel compelled to help the people heal their wounds and create a government capable of delivering what the majority of the iraqi people want without any preferential treatment or persecutions because everyone is equal in the face of the law the kurds the sunnis the shia and turkmen alike who is nationals of one state in that case yes iraq can rise up to be
a nation state of unity and integrity again. there's also been examples of local sunni is rising up against islamist and driving them away talking about the sons of iraq movement i'm sure you know it was that the it wakening happening now. unfortunately the present government is trying to stay afloat as soon as the americans left iraq the first thing they did was start a fight against the awakening movement they know as everyone else does that neither the american nor iraqi military would have been able to win against al qaeda if not for the awakening for the sons of iraq but the first thing the government did was turn against this movement many of its leaders were throwing. jail and deprived of the salaries. were trying to stop them but the iraqi government did not hear the voice of reason and continued its war on the awakening of the sunnis. so when this
catastrophe happened and the government realized the scale of the problem it was too late it happened after the fall of basra. many of those tribes that have participated in the awakening no turned against the iraqi government i'm not saying that they're necessarily fighting on the isis side but will remember him. who used to be a part of the sons of iraq he's currently the leader of the anti-government tribes revolutionary council so the iraqi government had been acting wisely and therefore it reached a stalemate. so bad that is already cut off from the northern oil filled the south and shiite held areas rich in oil are affected as well will iraq have the money to keep on fighting. i
don't think that isis will keep these areas for a long time i believe the iraqi government will regain its influence over the rocky territories the leaders of the sunni tribes have said many times that they're ready to push prices away their only condition would be the establishment of a national government treats all its citizens equally. but then they will be willing to assist the military or even fight isis and kick the extremists out of these areas i don't think the extremists would stay. but but how will the government work without the oil money. government still has the money to get that ninety five percent of production is located in basra which is controlled by the government in other regions the oil production is in significant. oil production was suspended in kirkuk due to an explosion on the export oil pipeline. but there is no oil production in other
territories where the arm distilleries are taking place. ninety five percent of iraqi oil production is concentrated in basra my son. and west it. is are under government control and. jerrold thank you so much for this wonderful interest thanks for explaining us what's going on in iraq we're talking tonight jim bad former mayor of the iraqi town of tal afar is our base in america and made scholar there it's been great talking to were talking about what's going on inside iraq well as these were never ever take over the iraq and what's in store for iraq that's it for this edition of. time.
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