Iraq can defend itself, no need for foreign combat forces: PM Sudani
Energy-starved Germany receives the Iraqi Prime Minister to discuss gas trade.
On his trip to Berlin to discuss bilateral cooperation in various fields, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani says his country does not need foreign combat forces on its soil.
Speaking in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, Sudani said that the Iraqi security forces are more than capable of defeating terrorism and that his country does not need combat forces from the international coalition.
According to the prime minister, Baghdad is re-evaluating the size and type of remaining advisory forces that remain in the country.
Approximately 2,500 US troops remain inside the Arab country on an "advisory" mission, according to Washington. In July 2021, US President Joe Biden and Iraq's then-Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi declared that the US mission in Iraq would shift from combat to "advisory" by the end of the year.
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Following the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, and the region's anti-terror commander, Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, in 2020, Iraqi lawmakers ratified a bill requiring the government to withdraw all foreign military forces led by the US.
Iraqi gas export to Germany
The German official revealed that both parties have discussed gas import from Iraq.
“We also talked about possible gas deliveries to Germany and agreed to stay in close contact,” he said in the press conference as Berlin is seeking to diversify its energy resources.
However, no further details have yet been revealed on the volume of gas to be imported from Iraq.
With regard to energy ties, Sudani said Iraq wants to help meet global energy needs while also stimulating its domestic economy. He added that Iraq's gas can pass through Turkey before being delivered to Europe.
He suggested that German companies could aid Iraq with the problem of gas flaring because the latter lacks the facilities to process it into fuel for local consumption or export. Opportunities, he maintained, have been offered to German firms to invest in Iraq’s gas industry.
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Moreover, Iraq signed a deal with German company Siemens to upgrade its power grid. The deal aims to increase Iraq's power generation by 11 gigawatts.
“Iraq is already one of the countries most affected by the climate crisis, and the challenges will continue to grow in the coming years,” Scholz said, adding that Germany wants to help Iraq diversify its economy from fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint, including through the use of solar power and hydrogen.
It is noteworthy that in late December 2022, Wolfgang Kubicki, the Vice-President of the German Parliament, warned that Germany could soon become a dysfunctional, bankrupt state if it stays on the same path it is currently on and fails to deal with the ongoing energy crisis in light of its imbalanced financial policies.
"If we continue that way and want to provide energy assistance for years, then we could face state bankruptcy rather than state socialism," Kubicki told the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper.