Abadi censures US commander over remarks on splitting Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has strongly condemned a top US military commander over his remarks on the possibility of the disintegration of Iraq.
The remark by US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno was “an irresponsible statement and reflects an ignorance of the Iraqi reality,” Abadi’s media office said on Thursday.
Abadi’s condemnation came after Odierno said on Wednesday that partitioning the country “is something that could happen” and “might be the only solution.”
Some lawmakers in the US Congress have been pushing for the division of Iraq through a controversial bill.
The draft of the US annual defense bill, which was released in April by the House Armed Services Committee, called on 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 allegedly planned to be given to the Iraqi government to help it fight the Daesh terrorist group.
The draft bill also stipulates 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.”
Iraqi politicians and clerics are opposed to the idea, saying only the Iraqi people can decide the future of their country.
In May, Abadi denounced the bill in a phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden, saying he is opposed to such a plan which is aimed at weakening the unity of Iraq.
The influential Iraqi Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, has warned against the bill, saying that if it is passed, Iraq will no longer be a safe place for the US, and its interests will become the target of attacks by the Iraqis who will never accept the “division of their country.”