IRAQ & IRAN: one step further for the former, one more threat for the latter 🇮🇶 🇮🇷

Sonia Harim

By Sonia Harim

Iranian Consulate in Najaf, Iraq, after having been burnt down by protesters in the past week. Credits: New York Times

Iraq’s president resigned amid heavy protests against corruption and the whole government: this may seem, for most all over the world, like a much expected victory. It is not. Iraq’s problems have not finished yet.

History seems to repeat itself: revolution, corrupt leader, Iran’s hands hiding in the darkness, and American intervention. It is indeed worthy of blame that Iran has a visible hand in Iraq, may it be religiously or with the Iraqi Shia militias it backs, but what should raise the alarm is that the United States’ interest in “helping” Iraq is just to control Iran. The pattern in the Middle East keeps on being the same.

Now, what does that mean for Iraqis?

The United States of America invaded Iraq in 2003, in what generally was conceived as a maneuver to allegedly save Iraq from its own government, which – US Intel claimed – had chemical weapons. Then, it was proven that there were no chemical weapons, but Iraq became a dungeon for the US to play in the region, and suffered terribly its consequences. Iraqis have learned the lesson – giving Iran an opportunity to meddle in it. Iraqis don’t want their own government, they don’t want sectarianism, they refuse Iran’s involvement in Iraq’s politics, and this same refusal applies to the US. The political system that was established after the US invasion is the one that has been applied ever since, giving rise to corruption and sectarian-based tension. 

It is important that the US and other Western forces acknowledge what has been going on in Iraq in these last two months, especially when it comes to human rights violations and about 400 civil victims among the participants in mostly peaceful demonstrations. If Iran has led those militias that have spread fear and death around, it is rightful to think about condemning Iran and implementing cautionary measures against it – not only for the fight against Iran’s hegemony in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria and Iraq) but also for the rights of the own Iraqis.

It would be extremely unfair for the rest of the countries of the Middle East to see themselves involved – and paying the consequences – for a fight that is not directly theirs. It seems that even Ali Al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shia leader, is also supporting the demonstrations – as long as they are peaceful – and reportedly hopes for democratic elections without foreign interference, may it be Iranian or foreign.

  • Will Iraqis be finally heard, both by the ruling class and by Western powers?
  • How will Iran manage its own revolts and keep up the power they so want in Iraq?

Recommended Readings

“Muhasasa, the political system reviled by Iraqi protesters” by Arwa Ibrahim

“US blacklists Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders over protests” by Al Jazeera Impact

“Iraqi Prime Minister Resigns in Deepening Political Crisis” by Alissa Rubin

“Iraq’s riots threaten Iran’s plan for Middle East dominance” by Dov Dakheim

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