The Baghdad Post

Iraqi president refuses country to become a battleground for U.S.-Iran fight

Iraq’s President Barham Salih told CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi that he’s talking to both the United States and Iran to keep Iraq from becoming a battleground.

“Iraq has been living through hell for the last four decades,” Salih said.

“Certainly, Iraqis do not want to see this country yet again turn into a zone of proxy conflict.”

Iraq currently hosts around 5,000 U.S. troops as well as the Iranian Militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS), which is an umbrella organization composed of some 40 militias that are mostly Shiite groups, all loyal to Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned yesterday that if Iran wants a fight, it would be the “official end” of Iran.

His tweet came after a rocket landed near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Sunday.

No casualties were reported, and no group has taken responsibility.

Iraqi authorities are searching for whoever fired the rocket.

“These militias, some of which are aligned with Iran, are answering to Iraq, but there may be rogue elements?” asked Saberi.

“We do have problems with some rogue elements,” Salih said, “and the government is intent on putting those people under control.”

“Have you basically sent a message to cool it?”

“Absolutely,” he said. “We are telling everybody, cool it. This is not the place to have your battles on.”

It was a message he also shared with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who made a last-minute visit to Iraq earlier this month.

“I think the Iraqi government is doing a lot in order to provide the necessary protection,” Salih said. Source