Iran's to blame for Iraq's social, economic woes
The Iranians had doubled their gains after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
The political scene in Iraq, since its creation in 1921, has been different than that in any other Arab country. From an overthrown monarchy to the republican system under Abd Al Karim Qasim to the Baath party's power grab in 1968, which remained until the US invasion in 2003, Iraqis have strived to attain a better life.
Iraqis, after 2003, finally reached a model they saw fit to govern in their own country, even if it was a form of consensual democracy focused on sectarian and national divisions. Regardless if Iraqis are satisfied with their governing system or not, and despite protesters demanding the deposition of the incumbent regime, the main issue with Iraq is not the system, but the level to which Iran has wittingly exported its revolution to the country and secured interference in its internal affairs.
The Iranians had doubled their gains after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. On the one hand, they got rid of an arch rival, and on the other, they benefitted from forces that make up Iraq's deep state, allowing them to grow increasingly influential in the Middle Eastern country.
Just like in demonstrations that swept Lebanon, Iran considered itself the main target of the protests blooming in Iraq. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, has gone as far as accusing Iraqi protesters of belonging to Daesh!
Major general Mohammad Bagheri, a military commander currently serving at the most senior military position in Iran, has claimed that enemies stand to gain from the waves of protests in Lebanon and Iraq.
A year ago, demonstrators attacked the Iranian consulate in Basra, chanting the famous slogan, "Iran out out." It is no secret that Iranian influence had spread across all political classes.
Even major Iranian companies linked to the Revolutionary Guards have become part of the Iraqi economic fabric and put their interests above the Iraqi national interests. Trade between the two countries, which share a common border of 1,400 kilometers, is growing, whereby Iraq is considered Iran's largest market for non-oil exports.
This level of Iranian interference is enough to foster endless corruption in Iraq. Iraq, since 2003, has seen parties rise and fall out of power, many governments and successive elections.
The one constant next to the corruption was the Iranian interference, proving it to be the only factor that is supposed to change if Iraqis want to turn their misery around. Any other change will serve as a palliative and useless remedy rather than tackling the root of the problem.
The real cure for Iraq is to cut off all Iranian intervention. Otherwise, it will increase economic, political and social losses for Iraqis, and eventually suppress demonstrations.
Indeed, as Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said, the clerics' influence is hundreds of times more dangerous than the atomic bomb.
-Asharq Al Awsat
Salman Al Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al Awsat newspaper
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