AFP: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak delivered a stern warning to Tehran to stay out of Iraq, in an interview published Thursday. CAIRO, Jan 11, 2007 (AFP) – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak delivered a stern warning to Tehran to stay out of Iraq, in an interview published Thursday.
“Iran is trying to gain support in Iraq and in the region and I say to all: don’t touch Iraq,” said Mubarak in remarks carried by the Egyptian weekly al-Osboa.
“Iraq is capable of maintaining its unity if the regional and international forces stop interfering in its affairs. But if the current situation continues, the fear is that Iraq will be transformed into warring states.”
“The situation in Iraq is regrettable, and is getting worse, the divisions are increasing and Iraq is experiencing a kind of civil war,” Mubarak added.
Such a conflict would “threaten to partition the country, and this is a danger for the national security and the Arab identity”.
“Those looking to destroy the region must understand that the dangers of partition (of Iraq) will have negative reprecussions on the whole world,” he added, noting that “sectarian or ethnic wars are a threat to oil resources.”
Mubarak — who is expected to see US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her ongoing Middle East tour — sparked a controversy in April when he said that Iraq’s Shiites were more loyal to Iran than to their own country.
The Egyptian president also revealed in the interview that he had convinced the United States to drop a plan — promoted by US general Norman Schwarzkopf — to charge into Baghdad during the first Gulf war in 1991 and arrest Saddam Hussein.
“I firmly warned against the plan and said to them: this could well inflame the situation in the Arab world,” he said. “When President George Bush (senior) heard this warning and advice, he backed off and the whole matter ended there.”
A close ally to the United States, Egypt was a major participant in the coalition against Iraq in the first US-led war against Iraq in 1990, but declined to be involved in the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam’s regime.
Al-Oboa, whose editor Mustafa al-Bakri was a strong supporter of Saddam, included a free poster of the recently executed Iraqi leader that read: “He lived a hero, and he died a man”.