US: Gulf states must support Iraq

Defence secretary tells ministers that help will counter threats to Baghdad by Iran.

    Gates has urged Gulf states to provide support to Baghdad as part of their own interests [File: AFP]

    "Iran trains and supplies groups trying to destabilise the elected Iraqi government, more often than not through violence and attacks on Iraqi security forces, government installations and officials," he said.

    Strategic element

    The US is prepared for Gulf states acting against possible threats from Iran but governments in the region should also try to strengthen links with Baghdad, Gates said.

    "As I have said before, the Iraqi people want to be your partners ... Given the challenges in the Gulf, and the reality of Iran, you should wish to be theirs," he told the defence leaders.

    Gates said he understood that Arab states are still reticent to trust Washington more than six years after US-led forces invaded Iraq.

    But he urged Gulf states to take a pro-active stance towards boosting links with Baghdad.
     
    "I am aware that, in international affairs, old wounds do not heal easily," Gates said.

    "However, if we look closely at Iraq's economic and political potential, it is clearly in the Gulf nations' strategic interest to support the new government and the people of Iraq."

    Governments across the Gulf region should also examine whether to share intelligence information with Baghdad, Gates said.

    Regional administrations should also consider allowing Iraq to become a member of groups such as the Gulf Co-operation Council, he said.

    On the subject of the disputed June 12 election in Iran, Gates said differences over the veracity of the poll should be settled within the country.

    "While this is an issue that should be decided within Iran by the Iranian people, we firmly believe that the Iranian people deserve to have their voices heard free from violence and intimidation," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.