In his speech on Saturday on the Syria crisis, President Obama instanced Iraq among the countries that might suffer if the Baath regime were allowed to get away with using chemical weapons.
The elected government of Iraq, however, says thanks but no thanks. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki categorically rejects a Western strike on Syria. Sectarian struggles lie behind this reaction.
The Iraqi government has announced that it won’t permit the US to fly over Iraqi territory in the course of any operation against Syria.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, of the Shiite ‘Islamic Call’ party, has forcefully rejected any outside attack on Syria. His government is said to fear that a US strike on Syria will produce social “chaos” that stretches from the Sunni areas in Syria into Anbar province (with its Sunni majority).
Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari admitted that Iraq was unable to stop the weapons flow from Iran to Syria.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the hard line Sadr II bloc among Shiites, completely rejected any Western strike on Syria. Unlike most Iraqi Shiites, al-Sadr supports the Syrian revolution and says Syria should have free and fair elections so as to create a truly representative government. But al-Sadr reminded Syrians of the disasters visited on Iraq by sectarian faction-fighting and by American military occupation, and urged them to avoid both. Al-Sadr called for the Iraqis peacefully to demonstrate against any prospect of a US strike on Syria.
The radical Shiite group Asa’ib ahl al-Haqq threatened retaliation against any US strike.
In contrast, the Iraqiya Party that represents most Iraqi Sunnis is in favor of US military intervention against Syria.