The Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan overshadowed a summit in Iraq on Saturday in which French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Islamic State jihadists were at risk.
The meeting comes at a time when Iraq, a longtime victim of jihadist militancy, is trying to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran.
After meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa, Macron said, “We all know that we should not reduce our defenders because ISIS remains a threat and I know that the fight against these terrorist groups is your government’s priority.” ۔ الکاظمی
Kazmi replied that Iraq and France are key partners in the war on terror.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II attended the summit, while the foreign ministers of regional enemies Iran and Saudi Arabia were also present.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah and Foreign Minister of Turkey were also present.
– ‘More important than ever’ –
Sources close to Iraq said that Iraq is trying to play a united role in dealing with the crises that have shaken the region.
Oil-rich Iraq has for years been caught in a delicate balance between its two main allies, Iran and the United States.
Iran has a strong presence in Iraq through allied armed groups within the Hashad al-Shabi, a powerful state-sponsored paramilitary network.
Baghdad has been in talks since April 2016 to improve relations between the US ally Riyadh and Tehran, which were severed in 2016.
A French diplomatic source said it was not easy to keep Saudis and Iranians in the same room.
But an adviser to Qadhi said the mere presence of two foreign ministers was a “success” in itself.
His office said Macron’s goal was to highlight France’s role in the region and its commitment to advancing the war on terror.
He added that the French president considers Iraq “necessary” for stability in the troubled Middle East.
Macron said the Baghdad conference would make it possible to build a framework for co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
An IS-linked group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kabul on Thursday that killed hundreds of people, including 13 US soldiers.
Analysts say the attack has revived global fears that the militant group, which occupied Syria and Iraq before leaving the two countries, is re-emerging.
The blast came in the last days of the US-led withdrawal from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power.
A decade after the US-led ousting of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, IS declared a “caliphate” in the occupied territories of Syria and Iraq in 2014, defeating a well-prepared Iraqi army without a fight. And occupied almost one-third of the country.
France was part of a US-led coalition set up to fight extremists.
Iraq declared IS a regional defeat in December 2017, but the group still maintains sleeper cells and claims bloody attacks.
IS’s new development
One of the bombings in July was in a crowded bazaar in Baghdad, killing more than 30 people during a major Muslim holiday.
According to Colin Clark, a senior research fellow at the Sufan Center, “millions of dollars are still available and he is likely to continue rebuilding his network throughout Iraq and Syria.”
“At the moment, its main goal is to keep its affiliates afloat until they can significantly rebuild their base in Levant,” he said.
“(IS) belongs to sub-Saharan Africa and now Afghanistan will have a chance to move forward in the coming year.”
In July, President Joe Biden said US combat operations in Iraq would end this year, but that US troops would continue to train, advise and assist the country’s military in the fight against IS.
Washington currently has 2,500 troops in Iraq.
Rasha al-Aqidi, a senior analyst at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, said coalition forces believed Iraqi security forces could thwart another IS advance.
“They may not be ideal, but they are good enough for the United States to leave the country and believe that Iraq will not last in 2014,” he said.