Mafia-like Groups "key Threat to Iraq’s Future"

By Julian Pecquet for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

US singles out ‘mafia’-like groups as key threat to Iraq’s future

The United States welcomes Iraq’s desire to be a “bridge” to its neighbors but will not accept “malign” Iranian influence that undermines Iraqi sovereignty, two top State Department officials told Al-Monitor.

In a joint interview Wednesday at the State Department, Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Denise Natali and Deputy Assistant for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek emphasized the primacy of Iraqi sovereignty in US policy and a desire to work with Baghdad to address Iranian-backed militias that operate outside the control of Baghdad.

The pair encouraged “balanced” state-to-state relations between Iraq and all of its neighbors after returning from a delegation to Iraq earlier this month that was led by Natali and also attended by Peek.

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