Following are excerpts from an interview with Iraqi MP Mithal Alousi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on September 19, 2008.
Mithal Alousi: [Iraq] is indeed occupied. It is occupied by Iran. The official Iraqi state, the parliament elected by 12 million people, and the Iraqi government, with all the good and bad... We signed [an agreement] with the U.N. Security Council, which includes Qatar, Syria, Egypt, Russia, and Japan. All these countries are U.N. members. We requested the Security Council to extend the duration of the international forces. What occupation are you talking about...
Host: I am talking about occupation by means of the American bases in Iraq, by means of tens of thousands of American and non-American soldiers in Iraq. These are the manifestations of the occupation in Iraq.
Mithal Alousi: My dear, these manifestations exist in the country from which you broadcast a sovereign country that we respect as well as in other countries. I want there to be military bases in Iraq, but on condition that there are agreements which guarantee the rebuilding of the Iraqi army, and guarantee the strategic military balance, so that I can prevent a war and an Iranian takeover of Iraq.<.p>
My friend, the largest American military base in the world is in Qatar. Does this constitute occupation? I congratulate the tiny, budding and creative state of Qatar for gaining a political role in the region. This is a good thing. This is what I want for Iraq too.