Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has denounced a controversial US Congress bill aimed at dividing the Arab country into three states.
In a phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden, Abadi expressed concern over the bill, a statement by the premier’s office said. The prime minister told Biden that he is opposed to such a plan which is aimed at weakening the unity of Iraq, it added.
The White House also said in a statement that Abadi and Biden also spoke “about recent security developments inside Iraq.”
The draft of the US annual defense bill, which was released on April 27 by the House Armed Services Committee, urges the US government to recognize separate Kurdish and Sunni states and provide them with at least 25 percent of the USD-715-million aid money planned to be given to the Iraqi government to help it fight the ISIL terrorist group.
The draft bill also says the figure could even amount to 60 percent of the money, about USD 429 million.
The bill mandates that “the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard be deemed a country,” adding that doing so “would allow these security forces to directly receive assistance from the United States.”
In a Saturday meeting with US Ambassador to Baghdad Stuart Jones, Iraq’s Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban warned that the bill “is a serious threat to the campaign against the ISIL Takfiri group” operating in Iraq and Syria, al-Forat news website reported.
“This demand was totally rejected by Iraqi religious authorities and people because it creates disorder in unity of the nation of Iraq,” he said, stressing the importance of Iraq’s integrity.
Iraqi politicians and clerics are opposed to the idea, saying that only the Iraqi people can decide about the future of their country.
“This scenario is not new, it goes back to 2007 and 2008 when Joe Biden said that Iraq must be divided into three states; Kurdish, Shia and Sunni. Now other countries are trying to impose this project and control this situation in Iraq,” Najem Qassab, an Iraqi political analyst, told Press TV on Saturday.
Qassab, however, said that it is up to “Iraqi people to decide” about the fate of their homeland.
Hashem Haboubi, another Iraqi political analyst, also said, “The map of Iraq and the region cannot be made by the United States, it is the decision of the citizens (of Iraq) and the people of this region, we will thwart such plans.”
On Wednesday, influential Iraqi Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, also warned US Congress against passing the controversial bill.
“We are obliged to lift the freeze on our military wing … and begin hitting US interests in Iraq and outside it,” said Sadr, who once led the powerful Mahdi Army and still enjoys huge influence among the Shia population.
The United States and its allies have been launching coordinated airstrikes against so-called ISIL positions in northern Iraq since June 2014. However, they have effectively failed to provide the needed support for the central government in Baghdad, which has devoted huge resources to the battle against Takfiris in various parts of the country.