Iraq snubs Iran’s offer to help it fight al-Qaeda militants

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By Saadoun Shakir

Azzaman, January 9, 2014

Iraq has rejected an offer from Iran to help it fight al-Qaeda militants who are currently in control of a strategic town and parts of a provincial capital in the western parts of the country.

“Iraq is not in need of Iran’s assistance and intervention in its fight against al-Qaeda,” said Mudher al-Janabi, a member of the parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security.

Iran’s chief of staff, major-general Mohammed Hujazi. has said that Iran was ready to come to Iraq’s assistance in its battle against ISIS.

ISIS is the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its active in both Syria and Iraq. Large numbers of its militants have attacked cities in Iraq’s western desert, which they have turned it into a major stronghold.

Iraqi troops are reported to have pushed back the militants but the strategic city of Falluja is still under their control. Fighting was reported to be still raging in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province.

“Hujazi’s remarks to come to Iraq’s assistance against al-Qaeda are tantamount to meddling in the country’s affairs,” Janabi said. “The Iranians are not Iraq’s trustees. Iraq has an army which is capable of fighting.”

The government has adjourned an attack by the army to retake Falluja, saying it does not want civilians to suffer.

Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki has urged Sunni Arab tribes in Falluja to dislodge the militants and spare their city another military assault.