Moscow: The United States and NATO are not occupying Iraq, but they are interfering in the country’s internal affairs, Russian Ambassador to Iraq Elbrus Kutrashev told Sputnik.
“The situation in the country [Iraq] is very ambiguous. There has been no occupation per se for a long time, but there is interference in internal affairs. It is aimed, among other things, at preventing Iraq from cooperating with those outside the good graces of Washington and its allies,” Kutrashev said.
The NATO mission in Iraq was officially launched in July 2018, to train the Iraqi security forces but never to participate in combat with them. The alliance suspended its military training mission in Iraq after an unsanctioned attack by the US military at Baghdad airport in January 2020, which killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. The Iraqi government responded by saying the country’s cooperation with NATO must change and respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
In April 2020, the foreign ministers of the NATO countries agreed to expand the mission in Iraq. In particular, they agreed that the NATO mission would train non-commissioned officers, sappers, and the Iraqi federal police.