Major protests against Iran’s interference in Iraq and its government at the beginning of this week are a real threat to Iran’s so-called “strategic depth” and threaten Tehran’s ability to create a Shi’ite crescent across the Middle East.
This is nothing new. Last October, the Iraqi people began their “October Revolution” with the same anti-establishment sentiment. In the southern Shiite-majority provinces, people came to the streets chanting slogans against the ayatollahs and calling for their proxy groups to be dismantled.
Iranian government reacted by sending their proxy terrorist groups to assassinate Iraqi activists to try and stop the protests, which is also what they do with domestic protests because their rule is based on domestic oppression and the export of terrorism. But the protests continued because, just like in Iran, the people of Iraq are less scared of dying than living under the thumb of the ayatollahs.
The Keyhan daily, known as the mouthpiece of Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, expressed fear on October 25 of losing control in Iraq.
“Last year, the first protests were against corruption, unemployment, and the government’s failure to provide public services. The protests overthrew several governments and overshadowed the entire Iraqi political situation,” they wrote.
How did the ayatollahs ruling Iran achieve this influence in Iraq? Well, following the power vacuum left by the second Gulf War, the ayatollahs were able to expand its influence, even paying off high-ranking politicians, like Minister of Labor Hadi-al Ameri. They’ve spent 17 years trying to occupy Iraq.
But why do this? Iranian government sees Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, as the perfect place to expand their control over the Middle East, which is one of the reasons they prolonged the Iran-Iraq war for six years after Iraq sued for peace.
The trouble is that the Iranian government’s malign activities have resulted in increased international pressure and further isolation, so in a bid to keep power, Tehran increased its terrorist activities. Thankfully, the West was able to do one thing this year to slow the terrorism down, which was conducting a drone strike on the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
“Now, after having its puppet governments toppled one after another in Iraq, Iranian authorities fear losing control if the [terrorist proxies] or corrupt politicians are ousted. Yet, the Iraqi people have shown they will continue their protests until achieving the goal of ending the [Iranian] regime’s presence in Iraq. Thus, for the crisis-riddled regime of Iran, that faces a restive society and growing international isolation, there will be more regional pressure,” the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote.