Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has revealed, for the first time, how the US supported ISIS and intentionally allowed the terror group to gain power in Iraq so that Washington could creep back into the country.
Speaking to a local TV station on Sunday, Maliki, who served as PM between 2006 and 2014, said that the administration of former US President Barack Obama had played a key role in the creation of ISIS by allowing them to overrun Iraqi territories.
Press TV reports: According to the former premier, in 2013, the US provided Iraq with intelligence and aerial imagery pinpointing Daesh militants who had lined up behind Iraqi borders in Syria in large groups, waiting to cross into Iraq after what they thought was going to be the imminent fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
US refusal to give Iraq fighter jets
Maliki said back then Baghdad had no fighter jets capable of bombing the terrorist positions and the Iraqi combat helicopters did not have the range to orchestrate an attack.
So naturally, Baghdad turned to Washington for help and asked the Obama administration to provide the Iraqi air force with “one or two” fighter jets under the 2008 security agreement between the two sides.
Washington, however, turned down the requests and advised the Iraqi government to ask Jordan for help but that was a no-go as there was no military cooperation agreement between Baghdad and Amman at the time.
Nevertheless, the Iraqi army’s 7th Division was sent to eradicate the terrorists without air support and made some progress before landing in a deadly terrorist siege that killed its commander and nearly dismantled the whole division.
The former Iraqi PM said America’s support for Daesh did not end there as Washington proceeded to stop all supplies of helicopter parts and other military equipment to Iraq and halted a contract to sell Iraq F-16 attack aircraft even though Baghdad had paid for them in advance.
Maliki said he couldn’t still fathom why the Obama administration made those decisions, letting the terrorists get away by refusing to attack their positions.
He agreed with US President Donald Trump’s remarks during the 2016 US presidential campaign that Obama was the “founder” of Daesh by fully evacuating Iraq at the wrong time to let Daesh take over.
“We should never have gotten out the way we got out,” Trump said during a rally in August 2016. “We unleashed terrible fury all over the Middle East.”
“Instead of allowing some small forces behind to maybe, just maybe, keep it under control, we pulled it out,” he continued.
‘Iraq never asked US troops to return’
The former prime minister addressed the ongoing debate in Iraq over the legality of America’s military presence in the country, saying that Washington never asked for permission to return to Iraq after its full troop withdrawal in 2011.
Over the past years, Iraqis have been able to recapture almost all of Daesh-controlled territories. With the Takfiri group on its last legs, Iraqi officials have been increasingly calling for an end to the US military presence.
Trump said earlier this month that while Washington was planning a major withdrawal from Syria in the wake of Daesh’s demise, about 5,500 US troops currently stationed in Iraq needed to stay there in order to “watch” Iran,even though the country has played a key role in the Arab country’s defeat of Daesh.
Maliki questioned Washington’s decision to extend its military intervention in Iraq, saying apart from some authorized US military trainers and advisers, his government never asked the Pentagon to send in its forces.
According to Maliki, during his time in office, military ties between Iraq and the US were limited to weapons deals, similar to Baghdad’s dealings with Russia, China and a number of other countries.
However, he said he could not confirm whether his successor, Haider al-Abadi, had taken a similar approach.
Maliki advised the current government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to exercise caution in its dealings and not to get on the wrong side with Washington, arguing that the Trump administration was causing Iraq trouble.
He said the current situation in Iraq was in many ways similar to 2014, when Daesh was gaining power and the US was unwilling to help Baghdad due to its positions on the situation in Syria and a host of other issues.
Alawi warns of ‘third generation’ of terrorists
Ayad Alawi, the leader of the al-Wataniya faction in Iraq’s parliament and a former prime minister, warned Sunday that the current political status quo in the region was paving the way for the emergence of what he called the “third generation” of terrorism.
Noting that the financiers of Daesh had charted a new role for the terrorist group, he warned that a “new Daesh” was in the making and the signs were abundant.
Earlier, a member of Iraq’s Conquest (al-Fatah) Alliance warned that the US was recruiting Daesh leaders in Iraq to train them and slip them into Iraqi resistance groups.