In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, the former head of NATO and the multinational forces in Afghanistan and CIA director, US General David Howell Petraeus warned against the threat by the Iranian regime in Iraq.
General Petraeus described the activities of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian regime’s Quds Force in Iraq, as ‘disturbing.’
Excerpts of the interview with General David Petraeus:
LE FIGARO: Do you think the frustration of Sunnis against al-Qaida, decisive in 2007 to turn the tide in their favor, could happen again vis-à-vis the Islamic State?
General David PETRAEUS: Islamic State (IS) is not the greatest danger facing Iraq. It will be defeated sooner or later, and Iraq will preserve its territorial integrity. If the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Parliament manage to reassure Sunnis, give them reasons to support the new Iraq, then these will help them get rid of IS.
LE FIGARO: What real danger do Shiite militias that often fight on the front line against the IS represent?
General David PETRAEUS:The fear is that these militias do not just clean the conquered areas, but they also deport Sunnis and seek to alter the demographic balance in some places, such as Diyala province, north of Baghdad and some mixed neighborhoods of the capital.
LE FIGARO: One of your most bitter enemies, responsible for the deaths of many American soldiers during the "Surge" reappeared in bright light. Does the growing influence of Iran in the field seem worrying to you?
General David PETRAEUS: Yes, Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, works surprisingly openly, which is amazing for someone like him more used to operating in the shadows. This is ... disturbing.