When I stated a few months ago that the Iraqi government’s involvement in Syria was serving the Iranian regime, I did not have enough evidence. I made these comments based on Iraqi-Iranian stories and happenings in Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza and Syria. Today the picture is much clearer and there is plenty of evidence. Nouri al-Maliki’s government is actually playing a major role in supporting Iranian plans, from complete financing to military involvement in fighting against the Syrian people.
Maliki, who is supposed to be the prime minister of a coalition government because his party — the Islamic Da’awa Party — did not have enough seats to form a government on its own, has gradually turned into a complete dictator. Like the president of North Korea, he is prime minister and minister of defense too, appointing Saadoun al-Dulaimi as deputy defense minister.
Maliki has also taken in charge the finance ministry from Rafaie al-Esawi after accusing him of being a terrorist. From the beginning, he gripped a hold on security and intelligence apparatuses. What is strange is that he is also head of the central bank because of his unparalleled hunger for power, under the pretext of electoral democracy where he already failed when he got lesser seats than his rival, Dr. Iyad Allawi. He is behaving in a dictatorial fashion and serving the Iranian regime.
Offering services for free
Iran is economically besieged because of its nuclear program; it can only sell a small part of its oil, and cannot trade with many countries of the world. It cannot even transfer dollars because of the U.S. sanctions. Maliki is now offering his services for free, spending billions of dollars from Iraqi people’s money on Iranian political projects. Iranian bills are sent to Maliki to finance Hezbollah and Hamas and he has also offered a $3 billion to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi without interest, while Qatar had offered a similar sum but with a high interest.
With the collaboration of Hezbollah, Maliki is now fighting alongside Assad’s forces, abiding to Iranian orders.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Maliki made a generous deal with Moscow to buy arms and finance Assad’s regime with what he needs, from money to ammunition. He has even taken care of his external expenditure, supplying him with fuel for the past two years. This is why the regime’s military vehicles are still functional even though the Syrian refineries have stopped working.
Maliki succeeded in lifting the economic siege on Iran, enabling it to continue with its external military adventures. He succeeded as well in wasting the money of the Iraqi people who are still one of the poorest populations in the Arab world. Maliki has been ruling Iraq alone since 2006; he makes and takes all the decisions. When the Americans withdrew from Iraq, they handed him $70 billion, which was left from Iraqi funds. Meanwhile, he sells even more oil than Kuwait.
The problem is not just deprivation and poverty, but it has to do with the instability that he engendered. Iraqi people have already suffered from a war that lasted eight years under its previous dictator Saddam Hussein against Iran, 12 years of war against Kuwait and the seven years after that, fighting terrorism. It is as if the years of bloodshed and chaos have not taught Maliki anything. He has not granted the Iraqis any security, peace or development, but rather he has opened doors to personal fights against Sunni leaders who were allied to him like Mutlaq, Hashimi and Issawi on the one hand, and Shiites like Muqtada al-Sadr on the other, along with his Kurdish allies who helped him become president. Now, he launches a new fight to support the drowning regime in Syria. Last week, the world was surprised to see Maliki sending 20,000 fighters to the border with Syria under the pretext of “fighting al-Qaeda.” In fact there is no al-Qaeda, he is afraid of Syrian rebels, so he started “liberating” villages that Assad’s regime had lost, trying to open up the seized crossings and move on to a new war!
With the collaboration of Hezbollah, Maliki is now fighting alongside Assad’s forces, abiding to Iranian orders. Iran had already stated that it won’t allow the regime in Damascus to fall whatever the human cost is, whether it’s Lebanese and Iraqi lives or Iraq’s central bank money.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 1, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.