Why does Iraq keep surprising the U.S.?

The Americans have no right to be surprised by anything that happens in Iraq. They’re reaping what they’ve sown

Khairallah Khairallah

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In the beginning, the American administration was surprised. It then forgot all about it, or pretended to have forgotten it, after a media fuss which didn’t last more than one day. The issue was linked to Washington’s discovery that the Iraqi government has sealed a weapons deal with Iran. Is there a deal? Is there something worth stirring fuss over when everyone knows that the Iraqi government is operated with a green light from Tehran? Does the deal change anything in the status quo which America cannot but recognize?

In the end, the issue is not linked to Iranian weapons - which Iraq buys within the context of the ongoing confrontation in the Anbar province. The issue goes beyond Iranian weapons and the “war on terrorism” which Nouri al-Maliki’s cabinet claims to be fighting in specific Iraqi areas. The issue is only linked to the Iranian presence in Iraq, a presence felt at all levels. It is a defect that affects the balance of power regionally, not just in Iraq.

This defect originally resulted from the American occupation of Iraq in 2003, of Iran’s direct and indirect participation in the American military operation and of all the acts that led up to the current situation of which the most recent incident is the Iranian-Iraq arms’ deal.

The surprise

In brief, the surprise itself lies in Washington’s surprise at the relationship between Tehran and Baghdad. It’s a relationship between master and follower. Baghdad’s attainment of Iranian weapons and paying cash for them fall within the natural context of issues. It’s on this basis that it was surprising for the American administration to issue one statement after another on the Iraqi-Iranian deal as the latter is nothing but a drop in the sea of the unbalanced relation between the two neighbors. Such statements only show that the Americans underestimate the intelligence of Iraqis, Sunnis and Shiites - that is of those who aspire to take their country away from any foreign dominance be it Iranian or any other.

The Americans have no right to be surprised by anything that happens in Iraq. They’re reaping what they’ve sown

Khairallah Khairallah

Moreover, what the American administration has done reveals there’s no hope that one can depend on it in any issue and that the agenda it has for itself is only concerned with avoiding any new war.

This is an administration that does not want to learn from the mistakes of the past. It simply appears to insist against realizing that Iran is the only victor of the war it launched against Iraq to topple the Baathist regime. It’s no secret that the Iraqi regime must have been toppled after all it committed against the Iraqis - to say the least. But was it necessary for the U.S. to work on facilitating Iran’s control over Iraq upon a sectarian and religious basis?
This administration must ask itself why Barack Obama - in his own style – is repeating George W. Bush’s mistakes in Iraq?

Losing out in Iraq

Perhaps Obama wanted to militarily withdraw from Iraq despite the consequences. Is there still someone who doesn’t know that the Americans lost Iraq since day one of the military campaign when they thought they would turn the country into a model of “a new Middle East?”

Is there any Arab who doesn’t know that occupying Iraq, disbanding the Iraqi army and establishing the Iraqi governing council upon a pure sectarian basis that marginalizes Sunnis will serve Iran and the sectarian militias linked to it? There’s nothing that calls on the American administration to be surprised of an Iraqi-Iranian deal especially that it wasn’t previously surprised that Maliki couldn’t attain the premiership post following the March 7, 2010 elections until after a green light from Tehran.

Has the American administration been surprised with Maliki’s complete shift towards the Syrian revolution. Maliki, under Iranian influence, shifted to supporting Assad after he demanded that he be tried in an international court for sending terrorists to Iraq. Has the U.S. been surprised that Iraqis are now fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria just because Iran wants that? Is the U.S. surprised that Iraq has become a passage for sending Iranian arms to the Syrian regime?

All this because Obama does not want new wars. He wants to be different to George W. Bush. He doesn’t even want to recognize that the American administration’s interest is serving the Israeli scheme in the region via the Syrian regime’s continuous act of slaughtering its people and destroying the entire country.

No one buys into American policy. Those who have accepted ongoings worse than the arms deal will find no problem in accepting this deal. The latter is nothing compared to what the Americans overlooked in Iraq. He who launches a war like the one they launched must bear the repercussions. The first of these consequences is Baghdad’s transformation into an Iranian city and the Kurds’ preference of autonomy - this is one of their rights if we take into consideration the injustice they’ve been through in the past.

In the end, the Americans have no right to be surprised by anything that happens in Iraq. They’re reaping what they’ve sown. They launched the war with Iran’s participation, they withdrew and Iran stayed.

This article was first published in al-Arab on March 3, 2014.


Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer who has previously worked at Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper, he then moved to London and began writing political columns in Arabic language newspapers, including Al-Mustaqbal and Rosa El-Youssef.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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