Dubai: The Iraqi government, which is in a political stalemate, remained defiant with its number two official saying that there is no crisis and that Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki will be re-elected in the next election.
Dr. Khudair Al Khuzaie, Vice-President, affirmed that the political process has not reached a dead end and the country is going through a ‘highly developed democratic process’ where it moved from a totalitarian rule to the one of freedom.
“Even if the opposition were united, I believe that Al Maliki’s chances are high and on the rise. However, the next election, which will be in two years’ time will reveal what Iraq wants through the voters and it is only the voters who will decide the identity of Iraq’s next prime minister,” he told Gulf News.
Al Khuzaie said that the US never attempted to interfere in Iraq’s affairs as “they know they were never able to do so even when they had 160,000 of their troops on Iraqi soil”.
“We have always pointed out to the Americans that it is not in their favour if Iraq gets splintered after their withdrawal. In all frankness, the only way the US has interfered in Iraq was by encouraging all political blocs to run a dialogue together and reach an understanding amongst them. They do not have the power to affect Iraqi political players nor will they ever try to influence anyone,” he said in an interview.
There were reports of a series of intertwined political crises that began with accusations that Iraq’s prime minister was consolidating power which have escalated into calls to unseat him, and paralysed the country’s government.
The protracted drama has seen Al Maliki’s deputy revert to decrying him as a “dictator” and the leader of the autonomous Kurdish region calling for him to go on one side, while the premier insists he has sufficient backing to stay.
To a question of Iraq having a Corruption Perception Index score of 1.8 as a result of political instability that has lead to a poor economy and widespread corruption, he said that corruption had been present in Iraq even before the ousting of Saddam Hussain’s regime.
He said the new governing system has overcome huge corruption obstacles but that the problem lies in the “anti-government media and political opponents who direct this media and control it.”
He believes that minute errors are blown out of proportion to validate an anti-Iraqi agenda. Naming Iraq as the tenth most corrupt country is a media fabrication set up by enemies of new Iraq, he added.
He said that Iraq is also affected by the Syrian crisis especially as the borders have become porous and Al Qaida militants are moving freely from one country to another.
“We are living in a global village” Al Khuzaie, said. “All the repercussions in Syria are affecting the whole area and not just Iraq. We have taken all possible measures to face these challenges, calling for flexibility and understanding by all parts of the conflict.
“We shall always give our advice but we will never interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Terrorists used our borders with Syria to come into Iraq and we filed an official complaint in the UN.
However, our concern is that Syria and the Syrian people remain safe. We also need Syria to remain unified and intact.” He added.
And although there are reports that say Iraq is dealing with the Syrian crisis on a political and not a humanitarian level, Al Khuzaie said that any political activity entails security, economy, and humanitarian aspects.
“We cannot segregate these thin lines as they are all in one basket,” he added.
“We are weary of opening our borders to terrorists, but people suffering humanitarian conditions on our borders are allowed to come in and we do everything to treat them well.”
“We are dealing with Syrian refugees on a humanitarian level, but in a manner not devoid of a political agenda. We are dealing with their issue politically and humanitarianly, without overlooking the security side. We have to remember that both Syria and the Syrian people gave the Iraqi opposition prior to 2003 a safe haven and we cannot forget their kindness.”