In this interview with Iraqi Kurdish TV station Rudaw, American Middle East analyst Michael Pregent expresses frustration with the policy of US President Donald Trump, after Trump refused to support Iraqi Kurds currently under attack by Tehran-backed militias and Iraqi forces.
Speaking on Monday October 16th as the invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan began, Pregent, a former intelligence officer for the US Departments of Defense and State who served as an advisor to the Kurdish Peshmerga in Mosul between 2005 and 2006, asserts that Iran’s regime has not taken Trump’s warnings seriously, adding that its activities in Iraqi Kurdistan are effectively a “slap in the face” for the president.
In this segment of the interview, Rudaw journalist Rebaz Ali says to Pregent: “We saw the speech by the president on Iran, but now we see that Qassem Soleimani has been going around in Iraq, meeting with the prime minister and ordering the Hashd al-Shaabi and other militias against the Kurdish Peshmerga, as you said, less than 60 hours after the president’s speech. What does that say about the US involvement in Iraq? Do you think after this or tomorrow, are we going to see less support for the government of Iraq and Prime Minister Abadi from the US government, after what they have seen in the last couple of days, the Iraqis dealing with Qassem Soleimani and the IRGC?”
Pregent responds: “Well, this shows the president that the Iranians didn’t take him seriously. They heard the speech and they’re scoffing at it. This is a slap in the face to a US president by conducting these types of activities after this speech.
Baghdad is part of this, so Baghdad is doing the same thing. I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, but I do know that Secretary Mattis issued a statement and Abadi promised the United States he would not conduct an offensive operation against the Kurds. That operation is ongoing now. I truly believe that even if Abadi didn’t want to do it, the Iranians could still make this happen.”