Middle East/North Africa

Iraqi president: Stability after years of fighting ISIS could easily unravel

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Iraqi President Barham Salih said Sunday that the the stability in Iraq after years of fighting ISIS could “easily unravel” amid increasing tension between the U.S. and Iran. 

Salih told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that the country is already seeing signs of ISIS returning. 

“I think the environment is so unstable, so dangerous, we all need to be worried and concerned, and certainly in the case of Iraq — and I go back to Iraq as well — Iraq is very fragile, very precarious. The stability that we have acquired after years of conflict against ISIS was not easy. It could easily unravel,” Salih said. 

 “We are already seeing signs of ISIS coming back. The implications of the conflict in Syria, the dynamics in Idlib are all very, very serious. We are now talking about a regional conflict,” he added. 

The Iraqi president said it is a “dangerous moment,” adding that the region doesn’t need “another conflict.” 

Zakaria asked Salih if he mentioned this to President Trump. 

“We had a very candid conversation. And the need for basically restraint, calming things down — this is not the time for another conflict,” he responded. 

The Iraqi Parliament called for U.S. troops to leave following Trump’s decision to order a drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. 

“There are many people in the United States who worry that were U.S. forces to leave, both symbolically and actually, it would result in greater and greater Iranian influence in Iraq,” Zakaria asked Salih.

Salih said that “no Iraqi wants to go back to a state of conflict or war with Iran.”

Tags Barham Salih Donald Trump Fareed Zakaria Iran Iraq

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