By Farid Ma’soum, Iran Probe
Monday, 9 May 2016
Through its entire propaganda/intelligence/military machine, and allocating billions of dollars of the Iranian people’s national wealth, the Iranian regime is attempting to portray this image in the minds of people across the region, especially Arab countries, that Tehran is the caretaker of all Shiites across the globe, including Iraq. However, in recent weeks we have witnessed that in Iraq, being the most strategic area for the Iranian regime in the region, people – especially the Shiites – have united in chanting, “Iran, Out – Out.”
Unfortunately, with the formation of the quota system based on sectarian divides in Iraq, coupled with incorrect policies adopted by the United States in the region and Iraq, along with tête-à-tête talks between Washington and Tehran, have all provided this opportunity for the Iranian regime to plant its operatives such as Nouri al-Maliki in power in Iraq. Through such measures Iran was able employ its influence on the Iraqi government and this country’s armed forces’ command. As the former government of Nouri al-Maliki literally handed over control of Sunni provinces to the terrorist Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS), the people’s relative rule in these provinces literally disappeared and was placed into the hands of a fundamentalist terrorist group. From a perspective point of view, Daesh and the Iranian regime are considered two sides of the same coin. This time around Iran became even more involved in Iraq through a new face, the Popular Mobilization Forces, led by Hadi al-Ameri, the known Iranian regime operative who has overtly expressed his all-out obedience to the mullahs’ regime, from the Iran-Iraq War back in the 1980s onward. The PMF, and in reality Iran, have sought to assume the role of the savior of Sunni provinces. Taking advantage of the absence of Iraqi army armed forces, who evacuated Mosul and other areas under Maliki’s orders, Iran issued orders to dispatch 7,000 Revolutionary Guards commanders and armed forces and the terrorist Quds Force into Iraq under the pretext of defending the country from Daesh. These measures were aimed at Tehran taking full control over all Sunni provinces in cooperation with the PMF.
Tehran has attempted to maintain control over Iraq’s central and southern provinces through its die-hard local parties. On the other hand, Iran adopted various measures to literally destroy local economy, agriculture and industry in Iraq, and forced these areas to become economically dependent to Tehran. Here are just a few examples:
1 – Closing 32 Iranian waterways, including Karoon and Alvand, from flowing into Iraq’s Tigris River.
2 – Arresting and killing Iraqi fishermen in the Shattal Arab waterways (southeast Iraq) under the pretext of trespassing water borders.
3 – Forcing large factories to close, including metal and steel factories in Basra.
4 – Exporting Iranian agriculture products at very low prices to southern provinces in Iraq, and as a result destroying the region’s agricultural industry and making locals completely dependent on Iran’s agriculture industry.
5 – Exporting low quality and even expired Iranian goods to Iraq’s southern provinces at very low prices, and as a result destroying the local Iraqi industry and creating markets for Iranian goods.
6 – Establishing currency exchange networks and opening bank branches in the south with the objective of bypassing international sanctions.
Iran is also supporting corrupt figures in the face of Iraqi nationalist and patriotic movements. As a result, Iran prevented Maliki from being handed over to the judiciary despite the Iraqi Parliament Defense and Security Commission issuing a damning report that clearly held him responsible for the fall of the cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Tikrit to Daesh.
Therefore, it is of no surprise when Iraqi demonstrators and protesters, especially the Shiites, are seen chanting “Iran, Out – Out” as they are fed up with corruption, grant and lack of services. Prior to this, time and again Iraq’s Sunni community were seen chanting similar slogans. This is a force uniting all nationalist movements in Iraq far from any sectarian quota systems. The time has come for all to know that Iraqi Shiites are not dependent to the mullahs’ regime. In fact, Iraqi Shiites consider this regime and its senior officials, including Khamenei and Rouhani, as enemies of the Iraqi people.