To the Americans, every day they are looking at both as one theater because of that urgency. We have an immediate challenge ourselves, and we think that regional powers have to discuss the threat because of more or less the zero-sum theme in the region that is not helping anybody. We expect to have more cooperation in this. Regional powers could provide a win-win approach to the situation. So we don’t see why shouldn’t the Iranians and the Turks and the Saudis and the Iraqis and the Jordanians and others, and the Lebanese and others, have a serious discussion as to how we can carve off this tumor in our body.
That is what we are talking about. It can engulf the whole region, nobody is immune — all countries in the region are fragile to this situation. I would say even European countries are fragile from jihadists going back to their homeland or going back to the United States. That’s why we are saying this is a regional issue.
Al-Monitor: You were in Baghdad this week when Secretary of State John Kerry met with Prime Minister [Nouri al-] Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. Are you pleased with the extent of US political and military support for Iraq at this stage? What messages are you carrying in your meetings with US policymakers?
Faily: Iraq is a democratic country. We recently had a democratic, fair election. The US is our strategic partner of choice. We have a strategic framework agreement with the US. Our current situation is an important acid test to the strength of that relationship between the two countries. Serious questions are being asked back home as to how much support will the US provide to a democratic government who is under an aggression from an international terrorist organization.
That question is still pending. Secretary Kerry and other officials have highlighted and have specifically said that they will provide help and support. However, the serious questions are related to the sense of urgency in providing us support. We understand that there are processes in the US that have to be followed. We welcome that, but we also know that the situation on the ground may not allow for a long protracted methodological process of decision-making in the US because of the urgency on the ground.
That is the key question. A lot of people in different positions in government in addition to the people of Iraq are asking us, would the US support a democratically elected government in this war of aggression by an international terrorist organization? That is a serious question for the US to answer.
Al-Monitor: What is Iraq’s position on Turkey’s role in the current crisis? Has it done enough to close its borders to ISIS infiltration?