Iraq for the Iraqis

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

WABDULRAHMAN AL-RASHED HAT is hap­pen­ing to­day in Iraq and Syria is due to decades of con­flict be tween Iran and the Arabs. It be­gan with the 1979 Ira­nian revo­lu­tion, and con­tin­ued with threats to ex­port the revo­lu­tion through­out the re­gion, and with the Iran-Iraq war that lasted eight years. Things only calmed down for two years, then Iraq in­vaded Kuwait, trig­ger­ing in­ter­na­tional in­ter­ven­tion.

The 2003 USled invasion of Iraq led to the emer­gence of Al-Qaeda and then Daesh.

The tur­moil will con­tinue as long as re­gional pow­ers are un­able to cre­ate a political or mil­i­tary bal­ance via agree­ments.

We must un­der­stand the logic and mo­tives be­hind Tehran’s de­sire to main­tain the strug­gle in Iraq, the Gulf, Syria and Pales­tine. Iran wants to ex­pand. It is aware that the West will not eas­ily ac­cept this, as the coun­tries that Iran is eye­ing are im­por­tant en­ergy sources.

This is why Tehran has at­tempted to dom­i­nate in dif­fer­ent ways, though it has not suc­ceeded much un­til re­cently. Daesh un­doubt­edly serves Iran, which joined the western and Rus­sian coali­tion un­der the flag of fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

Iraq is the most im­por­tant coun­try for Iran be­cause it is its western gate. The lat­ter will only be able to con­trol the for­mer in­di­rectly. Dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, Iran played dif­fer­ent roles to con­vince Wash­ing­ton that it would be a ben­e­fi­cial part­ner in Iraq by help­ing it so­lid­ify se­cu­rity. It was the only coun­try, maybe ex­cept for Jor­dan, that co­op­er­ated with Wash­ing­ton then.

At the same time, how­ever, Iran re­sorted to dif­fer­ent meth­ods to desta­bi­lize Iraq. Along with its ally the Syr­ian regime, Tehran en­abled Al-Qaeda and armed Iraqi op­po­si­tion groups to sneak from Syria into Iraq to sab­o­tage the se­cu­rity and political sit­u­a­tions and in­flict losses on US troops. When Barack Obama be­came pres­i­dent, he with­drew all US troops, open­ing Iraq to Ira­nian in­ter­ven­tion at a time when armed groups be­gan to re-emerge.

Now, Iran is in Iraq with the ex­cuse of pro­tect­ing it from Daesh. Tehran sup­ports cer­tain Shi­ite groups against oth­ers.

It is be­hind the es­tab­lish­ment of the Popular Mo­bi­liza­tion Units (PMU) as a com­peti­tor to Iraq’s army to weaken the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

I be­lieve that Iran is one of the mas­ter­minds be­hind Daesh, but it is dif­fi­cult to prove that. How­ever, it is the only party ben­e­fit­ting from Daesh, whose threats gave Iran an ex­cuse to en­ter Iraq.

Tehran brags that had it not been for the Ira­nian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iraq would have fallen.

Saudi am­bas­sador to Iraq, Thamer AlSab­han, re­cently said: “Some­one is try­ing to cre­ate a rift in re­la­tions be­tween Saudi Arabia and the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the Iraqi peo­ple.”

He means Iran, and this is the first time an of­fi­cial state­ment re­flects sit­u­a­tion in Iraq. Tehran wants to dom­i­nate Iraq and its riches, but Saudi Arabia wants to pro­tect its bor­ders and de­ter Iran’s ex­pan­sion.

The Saudi pres­ence in Iraq was de­layed for years be­cause Riyadh re­jected par­tic­i­pat­ing in the US-led oc­cu­pa­tion and the es­tab­lish­ment of the new Iraqi gov­ern­ment.

Tehran, how­ever, co­op­er­ated with the Amer­i­cans, and in ex­change gained in­flu­ence that re­sulted in the sta­tus quo.

Saudi Arabia’s in­ter­est matches that of the Iraqi peo­ple: An Iraq free from for­eign dom­i­na­tion and in con­trol of its own wa­ter and oil re­sources.

Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf coun­tries are rich and do not need to con­trol Iraq. They want a regime that does not re­sem­ble Sad­dam Hus­sein’s, and is not a pup­pet of Iran.

Gulf coun­tries are now aware that the spread of Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Syria and Ye­men tar­get them first and fore­most, and that coun­tries such as Iran ben­e­fit from th­ese ex­trem­ist groups and use them to weaken re­gional pow­ers and in­ter­fere in their af­fairs. —Cour­tesy: Arab News

JI­NAN: A Chi­nese peo­ple’s armed po­lice force soldier takes part in a climb­ing ses­sion at the Moun­tain Tai in Ta­ian, east China’s Shan­dong prov­ince.

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