Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Iraqi FM: Iran Can't Strike Israel, Yet Targets Friendly Ally

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein
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Iraqi FM: Iran Can't Strike Israel, Yet Targets Friendly Ally

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein

Hours before Iraq lodged a complaint against Iran at the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein criticized Iran’s attack on Erbil, calling it an “attempt to export its internal problems.”
Speaking to Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Hussein stated that Iraq has taken political and diplomatic steps in response to Iran’s attack in Erbil, denying Tehran’s claims about Israeli intelligence on Iraqi soil.
Tehran’s assault had killed four civilians in Erbil on Monday.
Hussein linked the attack on Iraqi Kurdistan to rising tensions between Iran and Israel due to the Gaza conflict, suggesting clashes between Iranians and Israelis.
When asked about additional measures Iraq is considering in response to the targeting of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Hussein said: “Iraq is responding to Iran’s aggression with diplomatic, political, and legal measures.”
“We've summoned the second-in-command at the Iranian embassy, delivering a protest note about the attack in Erbil and the loss of Iraqi lives.”
“We've asked our ambassador in Tehran to return, and a joint investigation committee has been formed at the directive of the Prime Minister, set to report its findings on Wednesday.”
“Apart from these steps, we've filed a complaint with the UN Security Council.”

As for Iran's claim about targeting an Israeli Mossad headquarters in Erbil, Hussein affirmed that there’s no evidence of Israeli intelligence on Iraqi soil.
“The Iranians are deflecting internal issues onto others. Similar false accusations were made a year ago when Iran targeted a residential house, falsely claiming it was a Mossad base,” he said.
Noting that Iran seems unable to confront Israel directly, Hussein pointed to Tehran choosing to target Erbil instead.
The top Iraqi diplomat also mentioned that even with Iranian presence in Syria and on the Israeli border, Tehran appears unwilling to directly confront Israel.
Regarding the motive behind attacking Erbil, Hussein said that the whole assault is perplexing since Erbil is part of Iraq, a neighboring and friendly nation with strong historical, geographical, religious, cultural, and economic ties to Iran.
“In the past, Iraq supported Iran diplomatically, working to improve its relations with Arab and European countries and the US,” reminded Hussein.
“Now, Iran's attack on Iraq, its ally, is a strategic mistake that will likely be realized over time,” he added.
“It seems there are understood rules of engagement between Israelis and Iranians,” highlighted Hussein.
“The attack on Erbil might be viewed by some in Tehran as a response to the Kerman terrorist incident claimed by ISIS Khorasan.”
“Iran claims to fight Israelis, suggesting there are rules of engagement, but for domestic reasons, Iranians targeted the militarily weaker link, Iraq, their friend, rather than confronting their enemy directly,” noted Hussein.
In relation to the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, Hussein mentioned that Iraq aims for a negotiation process with the US, noting Washington’s readiness for talks under normal circumstances.
“The Iraqi government insists on resolving the issue through talks, not force,” he affirmed, adding that Iraq is in ongoing discussions with the US about starting these negotiations.
“Despite recent violence, the Americans are open to discussing their presence in Iraq under normal conditions,” asserted the minister.
“We invited them in the past, and we can now ask them to leave, but it should be a mutual decision,” he explained, noting that Iraq is working towards an agreement to kickstart negotiations.
Recent weeks saw increased hostilities against US interests in Iraq, leading to Washington targeting Iraqi factions with ties to Iran.
On Iraq-Saudi relations, Hussein mentioned they are in excellent shape, expressing Iraq’s desire to boost economic cooperation and encourage Saudi investment in the country.
“Iraq and Saudi Arabia currently enjoy excellent political relations,” said Hussein.
“We've played a key role in mending ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and this is something we're pleased about. Iran is a neighbor, and better relations between Arab countries and Iran benefit Iraq,” he added.
Hussein further explained that tensions in the region negatively affect Iraq, so positive relations are crucial.
“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is exceptional,” he affirmed.
As for Baghdad and Riyadh working on ways to collaborate in trade and the economy, Hussein said: “We consistently work together on oil issues within OPEC, coordinate internationally, and engage within the Arab League.”
“Looking ahead, we aim to strengthen economic ties and attract Saudi investment in Iraq. Foreign investment is vital for building Iraq's economy,” said Hussein.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Hamdok Optimistic for Burhan-Hemedti Meeting

Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum)
Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum)
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Hamdok Optimistic for Burhan-Hemedti Meeting

Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum)
Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum)

Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), is optimistic about a potential meeting between Sudan’s army leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti.”
Speaking to Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt on the sidelines of a Cairo conference for Sudanese political forces, Hamdok said: “A meeting between the two sides is possible through the African Union’s Presidential Committee led by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.”
Hamdok highlighted that this committee “is a positive step, providing a mechanism to bring the conflicting parties together, which didn’t exist before.”
In late June, the African Peace and Security Council formed a committee led by Museveni to bring together Sudan’s military and RSF leaders promptly. They proposed an urgent African Union summit to address Sudan’s situation.
Hamdok called it a historic step, noting it’s the first mechanism at the presidential level. He hoped the committee could influence both sides and achieve peace.
He praised the recent African Peace and Security Council meeting for showing Africa’s concern for Sudan.
At the Cairo conference for Sudanese political forces, Hamdok highlighted it as a crucial gathering since the crisis began, focusing on ceasefire strategies and a sustainable political resolution.
He emphasized there’s no military solution to Sudan’s conflict and advocated for political negotiations.
The Cairo conference united Sudanese political and civilian forces under the theme “Together for Peace,” addressing ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and a political roadmap.
Hamdok pointed out that Sudan is undergoing the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, with 25 million people inside Sudan facing famine.
“Starvation is claiming more lives than bullets,” said Hamdok, highlighting the urgent need to reach war-affected populations.
The former premier urged action to deliver aid across Sudan’s borders and ensure it reaches those in conflict zones.