President, Visiting Defense HQ, Lauds National Sacrifices and Emphasizes Iraqi Sovereignty. “We Will Not Be a Battleground For Others.”


President Barham Salih visited the Headquarters of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense today. 
His Excellency was received by the Iraqi Minister of Defense Najah al-Shammari as well as other senior military commanders and officers.
The President inspected the Guard of Honor, which represents all formations of the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi national anthem was played during the official reception. 
In his remarks while meeting with the Minister of Defense, senior commanders and officers, the President emphasized that there is a national consensus for continuing to support the military because it is widely understood to be the cornerstone for a secure future for Iraq and all Iraqis.
His Excellency noted that Iraqis are now in the process of completing the construction of state institutions, and that Iraq continues to realize great progress towards Constitutional rule and federal democracy.
President Salih noted that the Army should be strengthened by all means possible given its crucial role. 
The President explained that Iraq today is undergoing important transformations in addition to challenges. Construction and reconstruction, possible because of the victories against terrorist groups thanks to the sacrifices from the Army, Police, Popular Mobilization Units, the Peshmerga, and the sons of tribes, is chief among these positive developments. The President also highlighted the need to move forward by providing job opportunities for unemployed youth, as well as ensuring that the country’s great resources are used in the service of all Iraqis. 
His Excellency stressed that Iraq does not want to again become an arena for rivalry and conflict at the expense of the Iraqi people. Ensuring this depends on a robust and capable Iraqi Army, a national and historic state institution that rises above politics, protects the system and the Constitution, and defends the Iraqi homeland.
The President indicated that Iraqi national security and foreign  policies, can be understood as “Iraq first.” The nation will not allow others to turn it into a land for competition. 
His Excellency commended the sacrifices made by the heroes of the security forces in the battles against ISIS, and emphasized that the war waged by the Iraqi Army is not fought only in defense of the Iraqi people, but in defense of all humanity. 
The Minister of Defense thanked the President for his visit to the ministry, as well as for his interest in supporting its members. The Minister stressed that the members of the armed forces have renewed their commitment to the nation, and are ready to defend Iraq against all adversaries. 


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