Stop Iran in Iraq

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Washington Times: The crisis over Iran’s nuclear dossier is viewed as one of today’s most important world challenges. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation”: “This is the most grave situation that we have faced since the end of the Cold War, absent the whole war on terror.” Washington Times

Commentary

By Abollah Hasan Rashid Al-Jubori

The crisis over Iran’s nuclear dossier is viewed as one of today’s most important world challenges. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation”: “This is the most grave situation that we have faced since the end of the Cold War, absent the whole war on terror.”

Many observers evaluate Iran’s venture toward a powerful atomic project as an effort to create a strategic shield against foreign pressure and foreseeable turmoil in Iran’s near future. Others view it as backup for Iran’s policy to wield hegemony over regional Arab and Islamic nations.

However, for Iraqis who studied the Iranian threats for a long time there is a forged relationship between developments in Iraq and escalation of Tehran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

The connection between Iran’s new nuclear offensive policy and its interferences with Iraqi affairs can be examined from various viewpoints. In the 1990s, Iran became the foremost beneficiary of Iraq becoming a pariah and the focus of the most tumultuous international political and military crises.

Therefore, Iranian support for terrorism and efforts to take over Iraq first became a marginal issue and eventually sank into oblivion. Next, many who sought to neutralize Iraq began viewing Iran’s anti-Iraq bent as an effective pressure factor.

Now it has become clear Iran’s government eagerly awaited the first Gulf war and did everything it could to prepare the grounds for it. Former Iraqi officials later acknowledged Iranian officials promised to back Iraq in Kuwait.

What made Iran the main winner of the Gulf war was the rise in oil prices, isolation of Iraq and the opportunity to avert international attention from Tehran’s support for terrorism and its threat to regional security and stability.

The years between the first and second gulf wars were nothing but a repetition of the same scenario — year after year that let Iran create two shields to use in defending its regime.

• First, with the escalated threat of an Iraqi nuclear program and weapons of mass destruction, Iran was able to cast a shadow over its own projects. Now it has come to light some of the misinformation on Iraqi WMDs originated with Iranian intelligence.
• Second, Iran joined international opponents of the former Iraq government to conceal its ambitions to dominate Iraq.

Nevertheless, Iran took the most advantage of the postwar circumstances and regime change in Iraq, using it to gain a solid foothold by infiltrating all of Iraq’s vital agencies. This widespread influence has endangered Iraq’s political and social life but does not reflect the realities of Iraqi society, nor indicate a pro-Tehran tendency from some social sectors.

The Iranians like to portray Iraqi Shi’ites as seeking an Iranian-style regime. However, developments in the last two years, particularly the last 10 months, must be seen as an organized bid to spread Iran’s influence in Iraq by taking advantage of a gap in U.S. policy and political imbalance in Iraq.

For the last 28 years, Iraq’s political balance had prevented the Iranian regime from taking control of it and utilizing the country to carry out its strategic goals. In the last 10 months, Iran staged a massive campaign in which it employed paramilitary forces to dominate all of Iraq’s security and political agencies.

Hoping these forces would eradicate terrorism, the Multi-National Force and U.S. officials turned a blind eye on this other form of terrorism and religious fascism.

As a result, an imbalanced situation emerged that gave Iran the upper hand in many Iraqi political and social matters. Everybody knows the Iranian regime will use this to overcome the crisis it created by its confrontational policies inside Iran and with the international community. And, once again, Iraq and its people will be the victims.

Why has the Iranian regime boldly trespassed international red lines to resume uranium enrichment and nuclear activities? We can simply conclude it is utterly confident there will be no reaction from the international community.

The Iranian regime has decided that, with its progress meddling in Iraq, it has paralyzed and neutralized the international community.

The Iranian government has become certain Mujaheedin-e Khalq has been disarmed as a power balance against its meddling in Iraq, and the U.S. is bogged down due to insecurity in the last two years. Over the last few days, the Iranians have said repeatedly they won the Iraqi elections, just as they have repeatedly said the international community can do nothing about Iran’s nuclear activities.

Though nuclear experts believe the Iran regime has still not manufactured a nuclear bomb, by playing with developments in Iraq and clearly interfering there, it is trifling with something more dangerous than a nuclear bomb.

The Iranian regime wants its nuclear project to guarantee its interference in Iraq, its meddling in Iraq as a guarantee for advancing its nuclear project, and both for dominating neighbor states. Ultimately, it seeks to use this superiority to counter the international community.

Iran is using Iraq’s political imbalance for its own purposes, exposing the Iraqi public to more bloodshed and danger.

Stopping Iran’s progress in Iraq requires use of all balancing factors against the Iranian regime’s meddling. To stop Iran’s nuclear projects, Iran must be stopped in Iraq.

Abollah Hasan Rashid Al-Jubori is an Iraqi political expert and was governor of Iraq’s Diyala Province 2003-2005. He is a graduate of Britain’s University of Manchester and is currently a member of the Iraqi Maram Coalition.

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