Shiite parties slam Saudi investment in Iraq
A number of Iraqi Shiite parties are condemning Saudi investment in Iraq, accusing the kingdom of trying to “seize” large areas of Iraqi land after Riyadh decided to increase investments in the neighboring country.
“This deal results in a violation of the rights of Iraqis and opens doors to a new colonization under the title of investment,” claimed former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition in a Saturday statement sent to Rudaw.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq agreed in 2017 for the former to turn one million hectares of Iraqi desert in Anbar and Muthanna provinces into farmlands and poultry farms, as reported by Al Jazeera.
The kingdom announced in mid-October it would increase their investments in Iraq by 10 billion Saudi riyals ($266,648,670 USD), as reported by Saudi Press Agency.
“The party finds in this decision a lot of doubt and questions regarding the timing of its occurrence considering that it has been suggested during previous cabinets and rejected multiple times considering strategic water sources and security,” the statement adds.
Leader of Iraqi Shia party Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Qais Khazali also released a statement slamming the Saudi projects, claiming that the investments in Anbar, Najaf, Muthana, and Basra will damage Iraq’s security and stability.
“This will also hurt Iraq’s underground water reserves due to the crops that will be planted in order to take advantage of Iraq’s water,” he further adds. Source