Brussels, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) press release - At a conference in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 18th March, Iraq experts and cross party panellists from both Houses of Parliament discussed the current crisis in Iraq and the essential components for a successful policy to defeat terrorist groups like ISIS and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias.
The conference's keynote speaker Struan Stevenson, who chaired the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014) and President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA), presented his comprehensive report on Iraq which concludes that Iran’s strategy for regional supremacy has facilitated the rise of extremist groups like ISIS.
“The Iranian regime has manipulated the current crisis to spread their theocratic domain across large swathes of Iraq, under the pretext that they are protecting sacred Shiia shrines and fighting a war against terrorists…Yet, ironically, the inspiration for all of these jihadist groups is the theocratic regime in Iran”, said Struan Stevenson.
He expressed his concerns regarding the ensuing offensive on Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, arguing that “Thousands of innocent civilians will be killed in the ensuing aerial and artillery bombardment” and warned that “Even if the combined Iraqi military and Shiia militias eventually recapture Mosul, it will be at such cost in Sunni lives that the flames of sectarian conflict will be fanned and may engulf the Middle East”.
Struan Stevenson concluded that “The only way to eradicate ISIS is to recruit the Sunni tribes. They rose up once before and defeated al-Qaeda during the American “surge”. They can do so again, but only if their hated enemies – the Shiia militias are driven from Iraq… By backing Shiia paramilitary forces in Iraq, Tehran breaches UN Security Council's arms embargo aiming to divert attentions from the domestic crisis and to crush the Iranian people's aspiration for democratic change. It is madness for the Americans to support Iran in this catastrophic adventure.”
Others attending the conference were: the Rt Hon. David Jones MP, former Secretary of State for Wales; Sir David Amess MP, Co-chair of the the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF); Dr Tahar Boumedra, former UN Human Rights Chief in Iraq; Steve McCabe MP; Sir Roger Gale MP; the Rt Hon. Lord Dholakia; and the Lord Maginnis of Drumglass.