Sep 19, 2019 14:42 UTC
  • Iraq will not join US-led Persian Gulf patrol force: Foreign Ministry

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Baghdad will not join a US-led mission in the Persian Gulf purportedly seeking to protect maritime navigation, warning that such a military force will “complicate the political and security situation” in the Middle East region.

The ministry’s spokesman, Ahmed al-Sahaf, warned in a statement on Thursday that the US State Department's plan for the formation of a military force to allegedly protect the strategic water body will only escalate tensions in the region.

Sahaf further opposed Israel’s possible participation in that coalition, stressing that ensuring security in the Persian Gulf was the responsibility of its littoral states.

The remarks came on the same day that the United Arab Emirates followed Saudi Arabia in joining the US-led Persian Gulf force.

The UAE’s official Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported Abu Dhabi’s decision to become a member of the so-called International Maritime Security Construct on Thursday – a day after Riyadh said it was joining the alliance.

Back on August 12, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim expressed his country’s opposition to the Israeli regime’s possible involvement in the US-led maritime force in the Persian Gulf, warning that the presence of foreign forces, including Western countries, in the strategic water body will be fueling tensions.

“Iraq rejects the participation of Zionist forces in any military force to secure the passage of ships in the [Persian] Gulf. The [Persian] Gulf littoral states can together secure the transit of ships,” Hakim wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page.

“Iraq is seeking to reduce tension in our region through peaceful negotiations,” he said, warning that “the presence of Western forces in the region will increase tension.”

Iran has also called into question the US motive for such a coalition, saying the United States seeks to sow insecurity in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz to use it as an excuse to form a maritime force in the region.

Tehran has also scoffed at the idea of Israel’s participation in such a coalition.