The arrival of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and the “threat” that continues to represent the Islamic State (IS) group, author of the bloody attack in Kabul, are the subject of all concerns at the regional conference which opened. this Saturday in Baghdad, in the presence in particular of Emmanuel Macron. Thanks to this regional conference, Iraq also intends to “defuse” the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which no longer have diplomatic relations since 2016, according to an adviser to Moustafa al-Kazimi.
“We all know that we must not let our guard down, because Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIS) remains a threat”, declared the French president after a meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Moustafa al -Kazimi, as a prelude to this conference where the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers and King Abdullah II of Jordan are also expected. “I know that the fight against these terrorist groups is a priority of your government”, he added to the address of Moustafa al-Kazimi.
Iraq, where ISIS cells continue to carry out attacks four years after its military defeat, and France “are key partners in the war against terrorism,” replied the head of the Iraqi government. Paris provides Iraq with military support, especially air support, with an average of 600 men on site as part of the international coalition which continues to fight against ISIS.
Iraq intends to “defuse” tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia
The statements of Emmanuel Macron and the Iraqi Prime Minister on ISIS have already set the tone for this conference. After the Taliban seizure of power in Afghanistan and the attack on Thursday at Kabul airport by a branch of ISIS, which killed dozens, including 13 American soldiers, the fight against the jihadists should dominate the debates.
The situation in Iraq, however, is different from that in Afghanistan. The army was still fighting four years ago with the international coalition against ISIS, before declaring “victory” at the end of 2017. Four years later, jihadist cells continue to carry out occasional attacks. The latest major suicide bombing claimed by ISIS killed more than 30 people in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad in July.
Emmanuel Macron in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday
ISIS “still has tens of millions of dollars at its disposal and it will undoubtedly continue to restore its networks in Iraq and Syria,” notes Colin Clarke, research director of the Soufan Center, a New York-based geopolitics think tank. .
Iraq’s relations with its big Iranian neighbor should also be discussed during the conference on Saturday, as well as the tensions between Tehran and Riyadh. As for the French president, he will go tomorrow, Sunday, to Iraqi Kurdistan, where he will salute the struggle of the Kurds against ISIS, then to Mosul, symbol of victory against the radical group that occupied it from 2014 to 2017.