Iraqi Ambassador to Cairo, Habib Hady al-Sadr, during his interview with Egypt Today, January 13, 2018 – Egypt Today/Ahmed Hendy
CAIRO – 13 January 2018: Iraq has been through a very difficult and exhausting time battling its way to end terrorism and rebuild itself, not to mention the suffering of its people among all the blood shed by the Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda and other armed groups.
Iraq has finally won its battle against terrorism, and now it is ready to start over and reconstruct what had been damaged by terrorism over the past decade, requiring an international conference to rebuild the torn country.
During his interview with Egypt Today, Habib Hady al-Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to Egypt and its permanent representative in the Arab League (AL), revealed the details of the conference and what role Egypt played in helping the brotherly country.
How many countries are taking part in the international conference to reconstruct Iraq? How much funding does it take?
Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Khaled al-Jarallah officially announced holding the conference from February 12 to 14. It will be attended by officials and experts. Jarallah affirmed his country’s support for Iraq’s efforts to reconstruct and gain stability.
The conference will include a development axis and will witness the participation of private-sector companies, while the World Bank will be one of the major participants providing the necessary guarantees for all participating countries.
Secretary-General of the Iraqi Cabinet Mahdy al-Allaq affirmed that the conference will witness the announcement of investment opportunities, besides unveiling an evaluation of all damages caused by terrorism based on specific field studies to estimate the needed amount to reconstruct the country, and it [the study] will be available on the official website of the conference.
The conference will tackle several issues, like humanitarian aid to the zones freed from IS domination, the role of international development institutions in reconstruction, policies of developing the infrastructure in Iraq and the role of civil society to rehabilitate individuals.
A few days ago, Iraq celebrated the 97th commemoration of establishing its national army. What does the army need after defeating IS?
The Iraqi army is one of the oldest Arab armies and the one most supportive of its brotherly armies in every battle, and it presented several brilliant military leaders in the region, some of whom became presidents.
Our army went through a fierce battle against terrorism and managed to liberate Iraqi cities from terrorists. But what it needs now is to develop its armaments and training capabilities, and to raise its readiness to defend the country against any outer threat.
What is the nature of military cooperation between Egypt and Iraq? Did any terrorist elements make their way to Sinai?
The Iraqi armed forces have complied with the orders of Commander-in-Chief Haider al-Abbadi not to let terrorists flee the battlefield – so they had two options: surrender or die. So it is safe to say that terrorist elements in Sinai are not from Iraq, especially as Iraqi forces conducted sweeping operations along the mutual borders with Syria and the desert areas, searching for fleeing terrorists to eradicate.
That’s why the Iraqi leadership was surprised by the statements of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, where he blamed Iraq for the IS elements in Sinai, which we completely denounce. But all indications prove that Libya and other countries have become passageways for terrorists to Sinai, and that is what Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan affirmed recently.
Regarding the collaboration between the two countries, there is an Iraqi decision that Egypt has the absolute priority in the counterterrorism field, as our security apparatuses have a direct order to share all intelligence information with their Egyptian counterparts. Egypt and Iraq have an evolved relationship when it comes to intelligence collaboration and military training and armament, since they have a mutual interest in eliminating terrorism.
How would you evaluate Egypt’s role in the region, especially in Iraq?
Egypt has honorable stances. It supported Iraq in its war against terrorism, whether on the level of the Arab League (AL) or the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC), out of its care for regional Arab security. We in Iraq appreciate Egypt’s significant role in the region and its balanced international policies when it comes to smoothing crises in the Arab region. Moreover, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi supported Iraq completely, stood by Iraq in its battle against terrorism, and supported our unity and sovereignty.
Egypt has constructive efforts in the region, including the reconciliation between the Palestinian factions, which is a victory for Egyptian diplomacy and proves Egypt’s capability in solving difficult issues in the region. It also managed to build balanced, positive relations with its Arab and African neighbors.
In Iraq, we see that Egypt’s heaviness enables it to suggest initiatives that can solve crises in the region, since Egypt can bring rivals together at the negotiation table to reach joint solutions and mutual visions. Egypt can also positively contribute to finding a Syrian solution, as it managed to reconcile the rivals in South Sudan after a civil war displaced thousands of people, it defused the recent Lebanese crisis, and it seeks to bring together all parties in Libya to end the state of division.
What was the reason behind the spread of corruption and the fallout of the Iraqi army in 2014?
There are some reasons that led to what happened in 2014, like the rampant corruption in some important joints in the state then; security institutions were in desperate need to be reformed, not to mention the political crisis the nation suffered from, and also the troubles in the region and the external interference, which resulted in a political, social and military awakening that brought about the rebirth of a new, strong Iraq. We will defeat corruption, the same we defeated terrorism.