Oct 27, 2019

Iraqi president Barham Salih to America: “We need you”

In an interview with Jonathan Swan for "Axios on HBO," Iraqi President Barham Salih called for renewed dedication to the U.S.-Iraq alliance: "We have to be together in this. You need us, and we need you."

The big picture: The U.S. has maintained a presence in the Middle East for decades, and many countries from the area have developed policies based around America's influence.

  • Iraq itself is currently struggling with unemployment, a lack of public services and allegations of corruption. Protests calling for Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to step down in recent weeks have left more than 100 dead and created civil unrest after roughly two years of stability.
  • The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 caused extreme destabilization for the nation, wrecking its infrastructure, creating significant instability and weakening the federal government's control of the country.

What they're saying:

"Help us make it. Success here matters. And it is not about simplistic solutions. This is about an interconnected world. Your security and our security is intertwined. And what is right for your country is right for mine too."
— Salih to "Axios on HBO"
  • "We also need jobs. We need a good education system. And we need to defeat extremism," Salih added.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Iraqi president: Allies are "worried about the dependability of the U.S."

In an interview with Jonathan Swan for "Axios on HBO," Iraqi President Barham Salih said U.S. allies are worried about America's dependability in the era of President Trump.

The big picture: The U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria has called into question Trump's loyalty to allied causes. The removal of U.S. troops in the region caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Kurds after Turkish forces invaded.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019

The unstable future of Iraq’s leadership

One of the most remarkable — and telling — parts of Iraqi President Barham Salih's interview with "Axios on HBO" was when he refused to predict whether Iraq’s prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, would still be in office in a week.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019

Exclusive: Iraq president reveals Trump fears; warns of war, ethnic cleansing

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Iraqi President Barham Salih — long known as a pro-American leader — says he is no longer sure he can rely on the U.S. as an ally and may be ready to "recalibrate" Iraq's relationship with other countries, including Iran and Russia.

Why it matters: In an extraordinarily candid interview with "Axios on HBO," Salih said he still values his country's alliance with the U.S. 16 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He wants to keep that alliance — but made clear that the Trump administration's policies are making that difficult.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019