Middle East: Security

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 7th January 2020.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace The Secretary of State for Defence 3:37 pm, 7th January 2020

I am grateful for the hon. Lady’s comments. Our support for the US is not unquestioning at all; we talk to our allies a lot. Indeed, I talked to my US counterpart about being told in advance and not being told in advance; I have those discussions. We are friends and allies, but we are critical friends and allies when it matters. We are also focused on Iraq, which is on the frontline of both Iranian meddling and Daesh attacks on a daily basis. That is why we have been invited into Iraq by the sovereign Government at the moment to try to help build their capacity to help them defend themselves. That is the most important thing for us at this moment in time; the Iraqi people are at great risk of both Iranian militia antagonism and Daesh. We will be speaking to them and we are continually trying to get them to say that it is in their best interest for us to remain, but we will respect Iraqi sovereignty. If they require us to leave, that is their right and we will respect it. Interestingly, no one has yet asked in the media why an Iranian general felt it was his job to parade around Iraq, given that Iran is not invited into Iraq’s affairs.