Press TV has conducted an interview with Nabil Mikhail, professor at George Washington University from Washington, about a video posted on the internet showing the militants of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) indiscriminately opening fire on people fleeing Iraq’s northern city of Mosul.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: First of all, our previous guest was a political commentator from Iraq and he was saying that the support that these terrorist groups are getting from other countries is ruining the prospects for national reconciliation in Iraq that would help the country deal with this crisis.
What is your opinion about the support and the financing that these groups are getting?
Mikhail: Let us focus on the domestic situation. Let us not deceive ourselves. Yes, there could be some funding from outside but Iraq is in a crisis like what the guest in Beirut said. The very first question I am asking from Washington, will the people of Mosul resist and form armed resistance against these extremists? That is the most important thing.
The second, as I speak from the capital of the United States, what will the Obama administration do? The Obama administration is responsible because it deteriorated the influence, the widespread movements of these groups and I am quite sure that this is an outcome of the crisis in Syria.
The United States should have tackled the crisis in Syria earlier otherwise it could have because it could have basically preempted its regional implications. The Syrian crisis now is becoming a regional crisis. Iraq could be another Syria, God forbid, so the question is United States should work hard in order to stop the insurgency in Iraq and to stop the insurgency in Syria and they have to coordinate with the government of Iraq. There is a functioning government in Iraq. This is what the United States and the Pentagon in particular should be doing and should be the point of departure.
Press TV: What we are hearing a lot in some of the mainstream media at least is that the Sunnis in Iraq were supportive of this armed resistance against the government or even of the ISIL. But it looks like now these terrorist attacks are threatening the lives of Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, everyone.
Do you agree now that there is this threat of terrorism not only for Iraq as a nation but for the region as well?
Mikhail: Absolutely you are right. This is why I said the crisis in Syria is not becoming a sectarian crisis like what Obama said at West Point almost two weeks ago and he was totally wrong. This is a regional crisis. It is not just threatening, like say the Sunnis, it is threatening the Shias, it is threatening Christians, Kurds, innocent people so it is very dangerous.
This is why when I answered you I said what kind of decisions will the Obama administration [take]? What kind of reaction? I am quite sure that the Pentagon is monitoring the situation but everything [is] on the domestic capabilities of Iraq. I think Iraq can defend itself and I am quite sure that there will be important decisions but also we have to be careful do not send the Iraqi army on a mission ill-defined without enough equipment and without understanding the demographics of the situation clearly.
And also you have to take some measures to stop a refugee crisis. The area is affected will be Kurdish areas, Turkey, Iran, other surrounding areas so action has to be done. You have to act thoughtfully and quickly and the situation is becoming very dangerous. The future of Iraq is at stake and I hope the Obama administration is fully recognizant of this.
Press TV: And Mr. Mikhail just before we let you go, what do you think about the external factor though? I mean do you think that Saudi Arabia is involved in this, is financing these groups for an objective to create unrest or instability in Iraq?
Mikhail: I do not know about this … The only question is these extremists because this is not the religion of Islam. Islam is a very tolerant religion. My friends are Muslims. I mean I was born in Egypt and Egypt is dominantly Muslim. So this is not the Islam that we knew. These are extremists.
So you have really to confront them and the Obama administration has to take an action.
Press TV: But where are they getting their financing and equipment?
Mikhail: I mean you have many, I do not know much actually about how they are getting this but I am quite sure that they have many sources for this but the problem now is to establish law and order in the whole of Iraq and basically proceed from there.
Iraq has to be unified, the civil war in Syria has to be stopped and you have to stop all the negative regional implications for the crisis in this part of the Middle East.