News / Middle East

Iraqis Hope Kerry Visit Revitalizes Ties

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Iraqis Hope Kerry Visit Revitalizes Tiesi
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March 25, 2013
Iraqis say they hope Sunday's visit to Baghdad by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will help revive ties they say have languished since the withdrawal of the last American troops more than one year ago. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Baghdad.
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Scott Bobb
— Iraqis say they hope Sunday's visit to Baghdad by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will help revive ties they say have languished since the withdrawal of the last American troops more than one year ago. 
 
Iraqis reacted positively to the visit Sunday by Secretary of State John Kerry.  In Baghdad's Karada district, coffee-shop owner Raid Fahmi said stronger ties with the Americans would help Iraqis deal with their many problems.
 
“The Iraqi people hope [the Americans] can bring better security, jobs, electricity, clean water, things like that," he said. 
 
Singer Raed Fakher noted that there have been clashes between Sunnis and Shiites in parts of Iraq.  And bombings by Islamic extremists continue to kill Iraqi civilians.

He was glad Kerry voiced concern over the violence.
 
“The Americans can force Arab countries that are supporting the terrorists to stop their interference in Iraq.  And they have the power to do it," he said. 
 
The U.S. withdrew the last of its combat troops from Iraq 15 months ago.  A reporter for Al-Mada newspaper, Sarmad al-Ta'ee, said Iraqis have not forgotten the abuses during the eight-year occupation.  But now, he says, U.S. involvement is needed to prevent abuses by the Iraqi government.
 
“We have a million-man army that is armed with American weapons. Maybe we need some support in intelligence and information, but not the military. We want the Americans, now, back politically on the Iraqi scene," he said. 
 
Kerry's visit was the first by an American secretary of state in four years.  Baghdad University Professor Muntasser Idani says the U.S. needs to re-engage with Iraq in order to balance growing influence by regional powers like Turkey and Iran. 
 
“Iraqis do not receive signals about USA policy and international policy in Iraq.  And Iraqis see only Iranian signals in Iraq and Turkish signals in Iraq.  And this is very dangerous," he said. 
 
He says more forceful U.S. diplomacy is also needed to address the Syrian conflict, which is aggravating Sunni-Shiite divisions across the Middle East.

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Comments
     
by: Kinnison from: Idaho
March 24, 2013 11:07 PM
"Revitalize ties" is Iraqi-to-State-Department-speak for, "Perhaps the Americans will give us more money in foreign aid..."

In Response

by: RC from: Arizona
March 25, 2013 12:58 PM
@Kinnison

Amen. It looks as though two Americans have figured this out right away! I wonder how long it will take our politicians to "get" this, too.

Need better security? Stop killing each other.
Need jobs? Work in the oil fields instead of giving the jobs to China.
Need electricity? Build a power plant with your oil money.
Need clean water? Build a filtration plant with your oil money.

We need to invest in the U.S.A. and our people.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 25, 2013 12:56 PM
Kinnison got the point straight. "Foreign Aid". Another name for it is slush fund - money set aside to bribe gullible heads of governments in gullible countries. It's a hook, a string used to glue corrupt officials to funds to keep them from doing the right things for their home governments and peoples and is used to fish them out when they stop playing according to their mentor's rule.

China appears to be beating us in the game once again in using the slush fund - too bad the case of pipping around to detect abuse is not yet operational in China, hence they can give and take foreign bribe in broad daylight. But my fear is that Iraq may have been wiser than we think, in that they may want the money, playing the game of Oliver Twist asking for more while continuing their allegiance to their arabic and islamist cause. Just see it the way Pakistan has been playing it. Only Iraq does not have nuclear weapon to taunt USA with! Most of this foreign aid to neighbours of Iran is a waste of time and resources because the free flow of funds from China easily counteracts it, with their islamist agenda always in forefront to guide them.

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