Home Politics Hennis: Iraqis fear that country will become a battlefield for the US and Iran

Hennis: Iraqis fear that country will become a battlefield for the US and Iran

Jeanine Hennis, the envoy of the United Nations for Iraq, fears “major, nasty consequences” of the American liquidation of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. She says that in an interview with Nieuwsuur. “I could hardly understand it when I heard the news because I realized that the impact is very big for Iran, Iraq and other countries.”

Hennis was in the Netherlands, but after the attack she “immediately went back” to Iraq to hold talks with the president, prime minister and other political leaders “about what to do next and what the message should be to safeguard stability and unity in Iraq “.

“Everyone is pragmatic at the moment. They are mainly trying to see what they should do now to prevent Iraq from getting involved in a large-scale war.”

Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said yesterday that he was also afraid of escalation. But she also said she understood the liquidation. “If you look at what Iran has done there, it is also terrible.”

Hennis does not want to say whether she also understands the liquidation of Soleimani. “Ultimately, we must deal with the consequences of an attack. As a UN representative, I look at the facts and do my best to advise the Iraqis as well as possible.”

It takes into account possible revenge actions by Iran against Americans on Iraqi territory. “People here fear mainly small attacks that could turn into a major war. Then Iraq will again be the scene of battle for countries that still have to settle an account with each other. The Iraqis have already seen so much misery.”

“Uncertainty is an asset. Certainly because Iran is known for its strategic patience. A response can only come in the longer term.”

The attack on Soleimani came after attacks by pro-Iranian militias on American targets in Iraq. Not everyone who speaks Hennis in Iraq has a negative opinion of the general. “They know him as someone who is not undisputed, but also as someone who has helped Iraq enormously in the fight against IS. He is therefore also praised here.”

“He was also known as someone who could still play an influential role in keeping certain militias calm. That means that many Iraqi authorities have lost an important contact person who at some point had a stabilizing influence in Iraq.”

At the same time, there are many people in Iraq who were “really fed up” with Iran, Hennis emphasizes. “They are a bit more relieved. But with the elimination of Soleimani, the influence of Iran in Iraq, but also in Syria or Lebanon, has not suddenly disappeared.”

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