Abadi to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Waged Comprehensive War against ISIS

Abadi to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Waged Comprehensive War against ISIS

Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 08:00
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. (AFP)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi stressed that his country waged a “comprehensive war” against the ISIS terrorist organization.

A year since he declared Iraq’s victory against ISIS, he explained that the war was not only waged on the field, but on the cultural, security, intelligence, media and economic levels.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “At the heart of the story was the management of a colossal battle by Iraq, its leadership and people, during very difficult political, economic and social conditions and very complicated regional and international conflicts.”

“Managing the war was actually more difficult than the battles on the ground as we had to manage them by bringing together very contradictory and conflicting forces and conditions,” Abadi stated.

The value of the victory, he went on to say, lies in defeating ISIS’ regional agenda that aimed to re-draw borders and societies according to geo-sectarian lines.

“Through their blood and will, the Iraqis saved the region and world from the greatest” project of division, he remarked.

“ISIS the agenda is grander and more comprehensive than ISIS the organization. The world must realize the importance of Iraq’s victory that broke the group’s project,” as well as its military capabilities, he continued.

Commenting on the situation in Iraq a year after its victory, Abadi said: “The country emerged stronger on the social, military and security levels. It is still tackling all repercussions of the war.”

On the international anti-ISIS coalition, he noted that the majority of its members are serious in contributing to the war and providing relief aid to the people.

“I thank them, but stress at the same time that the victory belongs to Iraq and the world played a supporting role” in the war, he stated.

“The world must not rob us of the victory and its glory,” he demanded.

“We have ended ISIS’ project and incapacitated its military capabilities. It will no longer be able to seize territories again because our countries are safer and more fortified than ever before,” he remarked.

“Our military and security agencies are more capable and we have overcome sectarian societal disputes,” he explained.

He did, however, acknowledge the presence of ISIS pockets and sleeper cells in various Iraqi regions, but this issue is being addressed by the military.

“We must continue to eliminate ISIS’ ideology, culture and media. This is an international issue, not simply an Iraqi one,” Abadi added.

Moreover, he expressed concerns that the victory against ISIS will be squandered by poor political management in Iraq and sectarian and foreign agendas playing out in the country.

Such developments may create the same circumstances that originally led to the emergence of the terrorist group, he warned.

On the international level, he said he was concerned that some countries have not yet realized the danger of terrorism and its ability to destroy societies.

He explained that some countries were still employing violence and terrorism as a means to achieve strategic interests.

He therefore called on local, regional and international powers to derive lessons from the Iraqi experience and “deepen dialogues and bolster agreements to overcome tensions and achieve peace and security in our societies.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had declared December 10 an official holiday to mark one year since ISIS’ defeat.

The United Nations, meanwhile, recently announced that some 50,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in Iraq in the war against ISIS. The battle displaced some 4 million people and destroyed some 200,000 houses. Unemployment in liberated areas stands at 60 percent and the cost of reconstruction has reached more than $100 billion. The military effort cost around $300 billion and 8 million tons of rubble have yet to be removed.

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