Exclusive.. A Gulf proposal to settle Afghan refugees in Iraq in exchange for privileges and an Iranian request
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Shafaq News/ Three informed sources revealed a proposal presented to Iraq, leading to the settlement of Afghan refugees in Iraqi lands, in exchange for privileges obtained by Baghdad, in what appears to be an attempt to find a way out of the confusion in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Although no official Iraqi party has adopted this settlement plan, the various reactions to it suggest that it will be a time bomb if it is moved forward.
The United States succeeded to a large extent in securing the withdrawal of its military forces from the Afghan arena before the deadline for exit on August 31 last,
but it was late to the point of failure in dealing with the file of Afghans collaborating with it, to the extent that tens of thousands of Afghan citizens flocked to the airport Trying to find a safe exit the capital, Kabul.
These scenes, including Afghan attempts to hold on to US military planes while they were taking off, in addition to the suicide bombing that targeted crowds gathered at the airport and inflicted dozens of casualties, including 13 American soldiers who were killed, constituted a great embarrassment for the administration of Joe Biden and the allied countries that tried to expedite the steps to address the file of collaborators
They are in the tens of thousands at least, and by transporting them by military planes to neighboring countries, including Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain, as temporary shelters, in the hope of arranging their settlement in other countries.
And because Washington is considered responsible for them - less morally - it announced its intention to expedite the procedures for resettling thousands of them on American soil, but the number of fugitives is greater than a single country can accommodate.
While the European Union is floundering about the idea of resettlement, after its countries have absorbed tens of thousands of refugees over the past years, from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries, and that is why Europeans find it difficult to take a unified position on the resettlement plan, the possibility of Turkey taking the initiative to absorb them was discussed, but it even Now, don't look at the idea.
Informed sources indicated, during an interview with Shafaq News Agency, to a regional-international convergence on the idea of resettling these people in Iraq.
The proposal appears to have been put forward by the Emirati and Qatari side during the Baghdad summit,
and the desire is mainly American, and
it seems that the Iranians welcome it in principle, but according to a specific standard. , which is the inclusion of the resettlement of Afghan Shiite refugees in Anbar.
But it is clear that the file is within the political-sectarian bazaar market in Iraq, through attempts to reach an understanding on the Sunni-Shiite division of the refugees who are supposed to be resettled in Iraq, according to what the information says.
The sources added that the Emiratis and Qataris proposed during the Baghdad summit the idea of resettling 10,000 Afghan refugees as a first stage, to be followed by other payments.
In return, Iraq would receive privileges, including one billion dollars to be paid immediately.
According to the sources, who provided the details to Shafak News, among the places that were proposed as a location for Afghan refugee camps, is Anbar Governorate, specifically in the vicinity of the American base of Ain Al-Assad.
While Anbar Governorate rejected the project to resettle Afghans in its areas, informed sources confirmed that the project is under study and the selection of suitable cities geographically to accommodate them according to specific controls.
Anbar Governor's advisor, Sufyan al-Ithawi, said in a statement to Shafak News Agency, "If the information we have about this is confirmed, it will be rejected by all Anbar residents."
Al-Ithawi said, "As the official spokesman for the Anbar clans fighting terrorism, I announce that all those who oppose the security file of the province will face such projects with rejection, as well as confront terrorism in all its forms and with the security methods available to us, especially since the province suffered a lot before its liberation by the various security forces and in cooperation with the tribal mobilization." And the people, and therefore fierce confrontation, will be inevitable to bury these plans.”
For his part, a Shiite leader told Shafaq News Agency, "The matter so far is to feel the pulse of the Iraqi street before taking any step in that, as it is under study to determine the geography of their settlement, in addition to dealing with the Afghan displaced, if their convoys arrive in Iraq, it will be very cautious." So that the scenario of fighting with ISIS during the fall of Mosul in June 2014 would not be repeated.
The leader, who asked not to be named, said, "The Iraqi authorities may allow the entry of Afghan women and children, taking into account their humanitarian conditions, and will limit their residence near the camps for the displaced in the north of the country to block the way for the trolls with murky water."
He added, "The numbers that may be allowed to be accommodated in the areas of Iraq will be simple."
He added, "Some of the province's notables who were leading resistance factions against Al-Qaeda, which was active in the western parts of the country, welcomed the project."
He pointed out that "the Afghans may be sheltered near the al-Hol camp, close to the Iraqi-Syrian border, to avoid any consequences."
However, a member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, Ammar al-Shibli, confirmed in a contact with Shafak News that his committee did not hear about any secret agreements regarding the sheltering of Afghans, but in general the file remains left to the government.
Attempts to obtain government comment on this file failed.
For his part, Malik al-Najars, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Pride Party, which is part of the Solidarity Alliance, which is active in Anbar, confirmed in a statement to Shafak News that he "was briefed on such information regarding the existence of a regional proposal to settle thousands of Afghans near the Ain al-Assad base, which includes American military units,
and this matter In itself, it is troubling because it represents a time bomb, but we fear its repercussions."
He added, We fear that the project will be an agreement between the eastern neighbor Iran and America to protect their interests in the country,
but if the proposal of the project is only American, we can say (evil is lesser), but if the agreement of the two parties referred to, it may inevitably return sectarian strife to the province, which we reject and confirm our rejection The project, if it is implemented on the ground, and we will use all the simple means available to us to express our rejection."
He added, "If the settlement of Afghans is an endeavor from the eastern neighbour, it is inevitably seeking to protect its interests on the one hand and to extend its influence in the province on the other hand, especially if the matter is limited to settling Shiites from among the Afghans exclusively."
It is noteworthy that the US Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, announced, in statements during his recent visit to Kuwait, that he discussed the issue of resettling Afghans "temporarily", without revealing the details of these discussions.
On the same level, Shafaq News Agency spoke with several leaders in the Popular Mobilization, and another in Najaf, where they confirmed that the project "will not pass peacefully."
She explained that "the project to resettle Afghans or others of other nationalities does not serve the security and stability of the country, especially the liberated provinces,
but it did not deny the existence of information that Iran does not object to the idea of the proposal, but with the addition of settling Shiite Afghan families in Anbar."