Davos 2015 - Iraq and Syria: the strategic context

Top diplomats discuss the instability Iraq and Syria and the regional ramifications

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Al Arabiya News Channel, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, brought together in Davos on Thursday Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi and Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to share their thoughts on how the security emergencies in Iraq and Syria are reshaping the geo-economics and geopolitics of the region.

During the session, moderated by Al Arabiya’s senior news anchor Rima Maktabi, Allawi said there was “insufficient coordination” between regional and international powers in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Allawi said Iraq does not accept foreign ground troops being involved in the fight against the extremist group. “ISIS should be fought with military and reconciliation among Iraqis,” he said.

The Iraqi official revealed that his government was only exchanging intelligence with the United States and Britain and that there was “yet no intelligence sharing with Arab countries.”

Regarding the Kurdish question, while Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways said the Kurds were still aspiring for their own state, the vice president said the timing was not yet suitable for a Kurdish state.

Allawi said the Kurds would not need to separate if there is a just government in Iraq that that is fair to all its ethnic and religious communities.

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal and Canadian Foreign Minister Baird blamed Iran for the deterioration of the situation in Iraq and Syria.

Al-Faisal pointed out to recent announcement by Iran’s Brigadier General Hossein Salami that Iran has popular armies in four countries in the region. He said this declaration on the part of Iran shows its involvement in the regional hot sports of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

On his part, the Canadian foreign minister said the “Iranian regime plays a negative role in the region,” urging it to change course.

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