Iraqi PM says his country won't be playground for international conflicts
In a speech marking the centenary of the Iraqi Army's establishment, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday, January 5, that Iraq will not be a playground for regional or international conflicts and must not be used to settle scores between foreign countries.

 “Iraq's sovereignty over every inch of its land will not be a mere slogan for political deliberation, but rather a tangible act,” Kadhimi said.

 “It is truly regrettable that Iraq, which is the descendant of civilization and the gate of history, has turned into an arena for settlement and challenges of a global and regional war on its soil. We have a duty to protect our country from the repercussions of this dangerous conflict,” the prime minister continued.

Tensions rose in recent weeks between the US and Iran ahead of the January 3 anniversary of US assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad last year.

Iraqi leaders have long urged both countries, with which Baghdad has close relations, not to use Iraq as a battleground.

Kadhimi has also been more rhetorically aggressive in addressing violations of Iraqi sovereignty with Turkey, another serial offender which has more than a dozen bases in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and routinely conducts cross-border airstrikes.

This year the Turkish ambassador was summoned twice after Turkish airstrikes killed civilians and Iraqi border guards. Kadhimi also delayed an official visit to Ankara until well after he had visited most other countries in the Middle East, Europe, and the US.

 “We have a duty to bring Iraq and the people of Iraq to safety,” Kadhimi added in his speech on Iraq Army Day.

Reporter's code: 50101