Iraq's ambassador to the United States has urged the next U.S. administration not to abandon his country, saying if Iraq becomes a failed state, it will pose a threat 100 times worse than Somalia.
Samir Sumaidaie said Monday that if Iraq with its vast oil wealth falls into chaos, it will be a huge threat to the security of the region and the world.
In a wide-ranging speech in Washington, Sumaidaei said Iraq has turned the tide against terrorism, arguing it is the first time al-Qaida has been defeated on Arab, Muslim territory.
He added Washington must address the root cause of terrorism, which he said has the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at its core.
Asked about possible tensions between Iraq's federal government and leaders of the Kurdistan region on military and economic matters, the ambassador said both sides agree that Kurdistan is an integral part of the country. He acknowledged tensions, but added that progress in the region, including increased foreign investment is a model to be emulated by the rest of the country.
He added that any discussion of foreign military bases in Kurdistan would be a matter for the federal government to decide.
The Iraqi envoy also said that his country's Arab neighbors are coming to accept that Iraq is going to be a "successful project."
As for Iran, he said it was threatened by the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, but argued that Washington did it the "biggest favor" by removing its arch-enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power.
Separately Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that he believes there will never be peace in Iraq or the Middle East as long as Iran's current leaders are in power.