Al-Askari told al-Hurra TV tonight that the chief commanders in the ministry had been discussing this subject with great interest for a long time and that:
If al-Dulaimi gets a second term he will be working hard to convince the parliament about the necessity of joining the NATO as this falls in Iraq's strategic interests….the recent changes in the Middle East region and Iran's intentions to pursue nuclear weapons is encouraging us to move in this direction.
We have got to think of a suitable deterring capability to protect Iraq from aggressions and we think being part of the NATO will provide Iraq with the best protection it can get because the NATO represents the base for peace and security in the world.
When asked about a statement given by the minister some time ago about Iraq's plans to equip the new army with Russian weaponry al-Askari responded:
We had no choice but to depend on Russian weapons for the time being because our army personnel are familiar with those weapons and cannot switch to western and American weapons overnight. We have suffered from the disadvantages of Russian weapons and that's why we have plans to switch to American weapons on the mid and long term.
Thank God we still have leaders in Iraq who have a logical vision for the future and a rational understanding for the changes in our world.
What a difference between someone who wants to stand by Iran and someone who dreams of joining the NATO!
I hope we can get more of the latter and get rid of the former…