Press TV has conducted an interview with Entifadh Qanbar, political commentator from Beirut, about Iraqi military authorities announcing that the nation’s armed forces are gearing up to enter the city of Mosul.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Sir, please provide us with first-hand information on what is taking place in these flashpoint areas, most notably Baiji in Salahuddin province and how successful has the Iraqi army been in repelling the charge of the ISIL?
Qanbar: Well I think this attack on Mosul has awakened the Iraqi giant against terrorism. Up to two million Iraqis have volunteered responding to the call of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for volunteering to fight.
However, I think the battle is not going to be easy. We are not going to underestimate our enemy. ISIL is equipped now with heavy weapons and vehicles looted from the Iraqi army in Mosul and they have plenty of cash and they have huge support from the Baathist and Saddamist remnants.
So I think the battle is going to be very fierce. Iraqis are not sure of foot soldiers and brave men and women to support their country but I again think this battle is going to be vicious battle. This is a battle of existence, of existential battle and I think the Iraqis will win and prevail at the end.
Press TV: Mr. Qanbar, talk to us about how Western countries and the UN are addressing the issue in Iraq? Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Ja’afari condemned the Western countries for refusing to call the ISIL militants “terrorists”. How do you see this inconsistency shown towards the appalling violence in Iraq?
Qanbar: Well there is a wide range of spectrum of support for Iraq. What has happened in Mosul is a threat to the whole region; it is a threat to the whole world including the Western world. The Western countries are very much aware of hundreds, maybe thousands of Jihadists coming back from Syria and promising for terror attacks in these Western countries.
So these Western countries who supported at one time the militants in Syria are now in danger by the same militants and with the current taking over of Mosul, that will embolden the stance of the terrorists and we are hearing them threatening the region and threatening holy sites in Iraq and threatening the occupation of Baghdad.
Baghdad will defend itself. The holy sites will be defended by the Muslims all over the world and they will not be able to take it over, but that shows that the challenge is bigger than ever and Iraq is getting support from the United Nations and from wide range of countries in the world.