Iraqi PM Says He’s Opposed To Arab Air Strikes In His Country

In an interview with BBC News, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he is “totally” opposed to Arab-led air strikes hitting ISIS targets in Iraq. So far, only the U.S., U.K. and France have conducted aerial attacks inside the borders of Iraq, indicating that al-Abadi may have voiced his concerns behind closed doors. The protest may complicate the mission against ISIS, which includes support from several Arab countries.

Previously, the Iraqi prime minister said that there were times when the U.S. wasn’t coordinating with Iraqi ground forces,

“Our forces are moving forward and, when they are moving forward, they need air cover, they need air support. That air support is not forthcoming.”

At the same time, it seems that the leader does not want the support if it comes from Arab countries in the region.

In the BBC interview, the Prime Minister said that western powers had “filled many gaps.” Perhaps meaning there’s nothing left for the other countries in the coalition to do?

The prime minister was initially instrumental in alerting the world to the danger of ISIS and encouraging the international community to respond. Nevertheless, he’s always drawn lines in terms of what he wanted in Iraq’s borders, taking a sharp stance against having foreign ground troops in the country. Saying in an interview with the AP,

“Not only is it not necessary. We don’t want them. We won’t allow them. Full stop.”

The prime minister has also been cautiously optimistic about the air strikes against ISIS saying,

“I personally am happy that everybody is seeing this danger, so that they are going to do something about it. And I hope they… do it right, and they don’t do it their own way.”

He later elaborated, explaining that he hoped ISIS wasn’t crushed, just to have another terrorist group fill the vacuum after it’s gone. Despite the mixed messages, the interview with BBC is the first time the prime minister has publicly objected to air strikes from Arab countries.

It still isn’t entirely clear why the prime minister makes such a distinction between Arab countries and Western countries. The terrorist threat might end up creating a touchy situation with regards to national sovereignty.

Arab countries are still committed to the air campaign in Syria. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the UAE has even sent their first female pilot to battle against the terrorist organization ISIS.

[Image Credit: Caycee Cook/Wikimedia Commons]