Roundup: Iraq rejects US proposal of peacekeeping forces from its neighbors
( 2003-09-09 16:49) (Xinhua)
A saying goes "neighbors are dearer than distant relatives." Iraq, however, has rejected the US- sponsored idea of dispatching multinational peacekeeping forces from its neighbors, as it doubts the purpose of these countries.
This rejection came in a statement by Iraq's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Hoshiar al-Zibari in the wake of reports saying that the United States had asked Turkey, Iraq's northern neighbor, to contribute to the planned multinational forces to help maintain law and order in Iraq.
Zibari, a Kurd and official spokesman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), whose chairman Masud al-Barzani is a member of the American-picked 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, also said Thursday that any neighboring state of Iraq, when sending forces to Iraq, would carry out its hidden agenda, indicating Iraqis' doubts about the purpose of these states due to historical, religious and cultural differences.
The United States Thursday tabled a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to set up a multinational force to be sent to Iraq for peace-keeping purposes after the US-led coalition forces failed to stabilize the troubled post-war country.
In its first reaction to Zibari's statement, Ankara Monday expressed its dismay and asked both Washington and Baghdad for explanations.
Iran, the eastern neighbor of Iraq, on Friday announced its readiness to send troops to Iraq to maintain law and order in the two holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in central Iraq.
Iran is a Shiite country and millions of Iranians wish to make pilgrimage to the holy shrines in such Iraqi cities as karbala and Najaf.
In late August, a huge car bombing in Najaf killed scores of people, including some Iranian pilgrims. Iraqi top Shiite religious cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, who had special connections with Iran, was also among the victims of the blast.
Observers believe that the Iranian offer to send troops to Iraq came as part of the Iranian-Turkish rivalry for influence in oil- rich Iraq, which for the past five centuries has been a theater for a bitter Iranian-Turkish struggle.
Observers also believe that Iraqis in general reject any Turkish or Iranian interference in their internal affairs.
Last month a delegation representing Arab tribal leaders in western Iraq, where the Turkish forces are due to be deployed, visited Turkey and cautioned the Turkish government against sending troops to Iraq.
They warned that their tribesmen in Ramadi, Falluja and other towns and villages would treat the Turkish soldiers in the same way they are treating now the occupying forces, whose casualties in these areas are the highest in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the southwestern neighbors of Iraq, expressed reservations toward the idea of sending their troops to Iraq unless there is a mandate from the United Nations.
As far as Syria, Iraq's western neighbor, is concerned, observers believe that the United States, which has overall control of Iraq, would certainly refuse the deployment of Syrian troops in Iraq.
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