THE MINISTER – This time in Iraq, we’re talking about a terrorist group of unlimited cruelty which is getting closer and closer to the capital. The group’s aim is to take control of a state – a wealthy oil state, moreover – with a view to creating a caliphate by disrupting not only Iraqi unity, of course, but the entire region: Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and a few others… probably with repercussions vis-à-vis the Kurds.
So the danger is considerable. Here too, what dictates France’s conduct will be the search for peace and security – in particular our Iraqi friends’ ability, in very difficult circumstances, to recreate some national unity, which hasn’t been the case recently. The international community must then be able to intervene, but with a concern – because we know the long-standing and recent origins of all this – to ensure it’s not something that further shatters unity. (…)
Q. – Is there a relationship between this response and the Iranian role in the crisis in Iraq?
THE MINISTER – One of President Rouhani’s assistants said the Iranians could consider acting with the Americans if the nuclear agreement was reached. So he introduced a link, firstly in time; if we do something in Iraq, we’re not going to wait very long, because ISIS is extremely threatening. I’m not sure the two elements must be explicitly linked, but I don’t want to carry out public negotiation. (…)
Q. – Iraq has this evening called for United States intervention, airstrikes, to halt the jihadists’ advance. Earlier on, you mentioned the political situation in Iraq, the lack of national unity. Do you think the conditions exist for such an intervention, if it were to take place? And would France – like last year, at the time of the strikes on Syria that didn’t occur – be ready to get involved in strikes with the United States?
THE MINISTER – The situations are very different. We’re consulting our partners. I’ve spoken by telephone to my Iraqi colleague and a lot of other partners. Meetings of the Arab League and the OSCE have been held. We’re observing how the situation develops.
As I said in the National Assembly, we believe ISIS’s intervention, presence, advance is a very serious danger. If that terrorist group gained control of Iraq, there would be disastrous consequences for Iraq, for the region, for Europe and for the world.
Moreover, we condemn the hostage-taking and acts of violence.
Finally, we think the solution involves the formation of a national unity government. The causes of the current crisis are diverse, but the recent confrontation between the different players facilitated the terrorist group’s very reprehensible breakthrough. Consultations are planned in the coming hours and days, and that’s when I’ll give an answer. (…)./.