PM's advisor shares details on talks

Baghdad and Washington negotiating rules of engagement for forces in Iraq

BAGHDAD, November 7 — Khaled Al-Yaqoubi, security affairs advisor to Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani, revealed on Monday that Baghdad has been engaged in negotiations with Washington for the past two weeks regarding rules of engagement for its forces operating in Iraq.

Al-Yaqoubi refrained from disclosing details on sensitive military discussions but commented on recent instructions to “disperse Iraqi tanks and aircraft,” calling them precautions for a scenario in which the conflict extends beyond the Gaza Strip.

Al-Yaqoubi spoke with journalist Karim Hamadi and said:

Blinken praised Iraq’s role in regional stability, and if Iraq did not play a role, its voice would not have been so influential at the Cairo conference. If the world did not see Iraq’s role at this stage, Blinken would not have come to Iraq; he could have simply invited Iraq to the joint meeting that took place.

When these factions come and threaten American advisers who are in agreement with international laws within the bases and under the protection of the Iraqi state, it causes embarrassment to the Iraqi government. There are over 50,000 ways to exert pressure on the United States, and this is just one of them.

Sudani did not mince words with Blinken and informed him that Iraq does not accept American alignment with Israel, and we cannot remain silent on what is happening in Gaza.

There are details that we are not authorized to speak about in the media, but Iraqi sovereignty is being upheld in major issues. Today, I am part of negotiations taking place during these two weeks, similar to what happened in 2014, regarding the real rules of engagement, respecting them, and not exceeding them.

We had important meetings, and the Americans have gone to the extent of asking us to alert them if they make a mistake or exceed boundaries with us in these matters. They mean: alert us, and do not take direct action, because the government has taken direct actions in response to some violations, and we do not discuss them in the media because they are related to sensitive military matters, and we do not want to agitate them.

What is happening in Gaza cannot be predicted, and what will happen later depends on the American role, which may have repercussions on us. In the face of this scene, it is the state’s duty to take precautionary measures if one of the existing scenarios unfolds, which is the expansion of the war if other parties become involved.