By Ihsan Aktas, Daily Sabah
Saturday, 7 May 2016
After the occupation of Iraq by the United States, we visited Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Armenia as a group of Turkish intellectuals. Our visit to Iran was, to a large extent, organized by the Turkish state, where we met with the manager of a mainstream journal in that country. The chief editor of the journal is a former diplomat who had worked with Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign affairs minister, for 10 years, and thus, provided significant information about regional geopolitics. In short, the editor argued that the United States seems to work in favor of the geopolitical interests of Iran in the Middle East. Under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, Iraq had posed a great threat to Iran. After the occupation of Iraq by the United States, however, Iraq no longer posed a threat to Iran. In a similar vein, the fierce threat of the Taliban in Afghanistan against Shiite Iran was eliminated by the United States, as well.
After its occupation by the United States, Iraq was left to its former enemy Iran's zone of political influence. In this process, the United States could have prevented the al-Qaida attacks on Shiites in Iraq, which further deepened the political chaos in the region. What is worse, the United States envisioned Iraq as a country in which the political influence of Sunnis was eliminated and was totally controlled by Shiites and, thus by Iran, instead of a united and stable country. On the other hand, rather than working for stability in Iraq, Iran nursed Shiite anger by taking advantage of the fierce attacks by al-Qaida. In this respect, the main objective of the seemingly clumsy management of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been nothing but the consolidation of Shiite Iraq.
"Iran targeted taking over Iraq by expelling Sunnis through its Shiite militia, which appears to be as ferocious as DAESH. Regarding the existence of DAESH in Syria and Iraq, neither the Syrian nor Iranian regimes seem to be discontented."
Today, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political position and the occupation of parliament cannot wholly be explained by the unsuccessful implementations of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government. One year ago, when Iranians wanted to cross the Iraqi border to visit Karbala without stopping at the control points, Sadr's supporters considered it disrespectful to the borders of their country. In other words, Iran used its millennia-old tradition of state and diplomacy to weaken Iraq by turning it into one of its satellite states instead of stabilizing Iraq as a country left to its zone of political influence.
When the DAESH trouble emerged, while the United States aimed at identifying DAESH with Islam, Iran targeted taking over Iraq by expelling Sunnis through its Shiite militia, which appears to be as ferocious as DAESH. Regarding the existence of DAESH in Syria and Iraq, neither the Syrian nor Iranian regimes seem to be discontented. Just like the United States and Iran, the Syrian regime aimed to take over the Sunni and Turkmen lands through DAESH hostility.
After its occupation by the United States, Iraq is now under the political influence of Iran. The Iraqi people have already begun to raise their opposition to Iran's puppet administrations in their country, including that of Sadr. Day by day, it is becoming clearer that Iran will rely on its militias, rather than aiming at a united and stable Iraq. As Iran sees the specter of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, that specter will most probably continue to determine Iran's Iraqi policy.