Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear spoke with Raed Jarrar from the American Friends Service Committee about whether the US presence in Iraq will change or remain the same under Trump.
Before departing for the US, the al-Abadi released a video statement claiming his country was in the final stages of eliminating Daesh from Iraq, but Jarrar told Sputnik that he is doubtful about the country’s future.
"There’s a possibility that ISIS can be eliminated with force in Mosul," he said, "but the question is would that lead to more stability, and that is something I am very doubtful of because there is no liberation when Iraqi forces take over territories from ISIS or other violent militias because the Iraqi forces are nothing more than another violent militia."
He claims that the Iraqi Security Forces have "been committing human rights violations that in some cases are worse than ISIS," and that they are not "putting Iraq on the path to peace and stability," but are instead "another example of the cycle of death and destruction."
Loud and Clear host Brian Becker noted that Trump gave US Secretary of Defense James Mattis 30 days to draft a plan to defeat the extremists, saying that he intends to take a more aggressive military stance than his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
Jarrar suggested that, "The mere fact that military personnel have been tasked with beating ISIS is a sign of a lack of a comprehensive strategy," and that Trump’s plans are "based on the same theory the US has been operating on the last decade and many Iraqis, people in the region and Americans have been speaking about the need for nonmilitary tools to defeat violence and extremism in Iraq and the region."
He added, "So regardless of what the plan is, the mere fact that we’re talking about military plans to drop more bombs and send more troops, with the hope of stabilizing Iraq, does not sound like a new strategy; it does not sound like something that would change events on the ground."
The Iraqi journalist said he was "skeptical" about any considerable change in US policy in Iraq, saying, "It seems like what Iraqis are witnessing is nothing other than more of the same old policies and processes."
Becker noted a recent joint statement released by three minority groups in Iraq calling for their own autonomous states, asking if this signaled a new trajectory. Jarrar said that this desire can be attributed to Washington’s desire to divide and conquer the country.
"This has been the trajectory since the fall of Baghdad in 2003," he explained, "and the US introduced the idea and the foundation that would lead the partition of Iraq into ethnic and sectarian and religious enclaves … The governing model that was introduced by the US in 2003 encouraged these identity politics to become the main ruling model for Iraq. So instead of Iraqi thinking of Iraq as one unified country, all of these sub-identities came to replace the national identity."