Don't meddle, Saudi envoy tells Britain, US

Saudi Arabia has warned against Western or regional intervention in Iraq, as the country's ambassador to London joined international calls for a new government to be established in Baghdad.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud said the turmoil affecting Saudi Arabia's neighbour since the surge by jihadist group Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) last week should be sorted out between Iraqis alone, describing it as a product of the sectarian divisions in Iraq.

As Washington considered an Iraqi request to undertake air strikes against Isis, which has seized a swathe of the north including Mosul, the second city, the Prince signalled that Saudi Arabia was implacably opposed to any new military intervention.

His comments can also be read as a firm statement against Iranian involvement in the fightback against Isis. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's special forces, is reported to have been active in Iraq assisting Shia Muslim militias.

"We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other Government. This is Iraq's problem and they must sort it out themselves," the Prince wrote.

"Any Government that meddles in Iraq's affairs runs the risk of escalating the situation, creating greater mistrust between the people of Iraq - both Sunni and Shia."

The ambassador laid the blame for the rise of Isis on Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's Iranian-backed Prime Minister, and supported US demands for Maliki to take responsibility for the failure of his sectarian policies.

"His unashamedly sectarian agenda, which has included violent and fatal action against Sunni protest groups in the past, has alienated Iraq's Sunni population, many of whom have 'disappeared' under his regime," he wrote. "Our view and that of many international observers is that the way forward is for a new national government to be formed which represents all the people of Iraq - Sunni as well as Shia."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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