'Iraqi Shia cleric and the leader of the National Wisdom Movement says his fellow countrymen and women reject both a permanent foreign military base on Iraq’s territory and the deployment of foreign combat forces to the Arab country.
“Iraq is a sovereign state, not a subordinate or subjugated one. In this sense, we say no to foreign military bases, to foreign combat forces, to foreign missions, to unilateral provocations, or to attacks on neighboring countries from the Iraqi territory and airspace,” Ammar al-Hakim said during a Saturday ceremony marking the 16th death anniversary of senior Iraqi Shia Muslim cleric and political leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, who was assassinated in 2003 in the city of Najaf.
He added, “There is an attitude that wants Iraq to be entrenched and a prisoner of interests and narrow ideas.”
“And there is another that wants the country to perform its natural role in the (Middle East) region and decide its own fate. This will not come true unless we build a strong and independent state plus efficient institutions in accordance with a unified national strategy,” he added.
“Let us work together to build a strong and capable state, an independent, stable and prosperous Iraq. Let us work together to develop the existing political system. Systems that do not respond to reforms are doomed to failure,” Hakim pointed out.
During a meeting with Jeanine Hennis- Plasschaert, the special UN chief’s representative for Iraq and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in Najaf on February 6, Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani fiercely criticized a statement by US President Donald Trump that American forces must remain in Iraq so Washington can keep a close eye on neighboring Iran.'
Read more: Iraq rejects foreign forces deployment, military bases on its territory: Shia cleric