March 1, 2024

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The Iraqi leader rejects American efforts in the Middle East – Politico

The Iraqi leader rejects American efforts in the Middle East – Politico

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — Iraq's prime minister on Thursday mocked U.S. efforts to curb Israel's military campaign against Hamas and lay out long-term plans for a more peaceful Middle East, suggesting Israeli leaders are not on board.

In his comments at the World Economic Forum, Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani in particular rejected earlier, more optimistic statements by Secretary of State Antony Blinken about how the crisis raging in the Gaza Strip could be an opportunity to get back on track toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Blinken, who was in Davos on Tuesday and Wednesday, stressed that doing so must include broader efforts to improve Israel's relations with Arab countries it has long avoided.

“This is not new, what Mr. Blinken said. Everyone said the same thing, basically. Al-Sudani said during a session moderated by John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico International magazine. “What Blinken says is rejected by the Israeli government. Even the post-war scenario is rejected by the Israelis.”

The Iraqi president added: “The international community has failed.” International organizations have failed. International institutions have failed in this unjustified and unacceptable death that is evident before us in Gaza.”

These statements highlight the obstacles and uncertainties the United States faces in the Middle East as it tries to rally countries to help it find a way out of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and broader regional tensions.

Washington is trying to prevent the battle from expanding into an all-out regional war, but it is also urging Israelis and Palestinians to start planning for post-war scenarios. This includes the crucial question of who will govern Gaza, which has been the scene of much of the fighting and has long been under the control of Hamas militants.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resisted American plans calling for reform of the Palestinian Authority to eventually take power in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority rules parts of the West Bank, but Netanyahu has long viewed it as an unacceptable partner.

Since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, Israel's military response has killed more than 22,000 people in Gaza, while displacing hundreds of thousands.

Iraq is one of the countries affected by the repercussions of the crisis. This is largely due to its ties with Iran, the main backer of Hamas and other militant groups in the region.

American forces stationed in Iraq came under fire from Iranian-backed militias, and responded in kind. The United States implemented a A drone airstrike killed an Iranian-backed militia commander in Baghdad.

This has prompted the Iraqi government to say it is looking to end the US military presence on its soil, which has helped Baghdad, as part of an international coalition, fight ISIS.

Al-Sudani insisted that at some point the US-led coalition had to end its role in his country.

Speaking through a translator, he said: “The sooner we withdraw the coalition, the more necessary it will be for the stability and security of Iraq.”