The Syrian Civil War was the result of a plot by Israel, certain Arab states and the United States, according to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Speaking with Iran’s Al-Alam television on Dec. 24, Maliki, who served as Iraqi premier from 2006-2014, said that the regime’s fall “would not have meant the end of the story, but only the beginning.” Its collapse would have been followed by an invasion by Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terrorists, “and Israel would also enter the picture,” said Maliki. This in turn would have sparked a “major regional crisis,” he added.

To prevent this, Iraq had been prepared to send its army to Syria, said Maliki.

Referring to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the former Iraqi premier said, “So the stance of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, along with the mujihadeen who rose up and fought in Syria … we all rose up. I am not afraid to say that we rose up and said: ‘If we see that the Syrian regime might fall, we will take the Iraqi army and fight in Syria, because the fall of the regime in Damascus will spread the turmoil throughout the region.'”

Maliki went on to say that it was Soleimani who had led this effort, and that it was for this reason that he was assassinated by the United States on Jan. 3.

“Hajj Qassem led the way in preventing the collapse of the Syrian regime, and he played a similar role in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. So it was only natural that the United States should target Hajj Qassem Soleimani, because, to put it simply, he was destroying their plans,” he said.

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