How does Iran seek to control Iraq?
(1) military presence and the forces of “popular mobilization”
Some of the brigades and brigades in Iraq came after the US invasion of Iraq, and others came a long time earlier, such as the Badr Corps, which was founded in 1981. Most of these brigades and brigades rely on the Iranian supply of money and weapons. Popular forces are militias composed of most of these corps supported by Iran. The popular crowd may have come in response to a historic moment, the emergence of a “preacher.” Popular mobilization forces According to several international organizations (such as Amnesty International), according to some officials (the last of which is Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister), sectarian violence is committed in the exact same way as advocacy. Practices carried out by these militias towards mostly Sunni people and civilians, including the execution of a child in Diyala province, Iraq. The demolition of more than a thousand houses for the year, rape of women and other charges.
The Americans have repeatedly expressed their fear of the growing military capabilities of the military militias in Iraq, backed by Iran. The former president of cia David Petraeus considered the real long-term danger in Iraq and the whole region to come from the growing capacity of Iran-backed grass-roots militia, not to be discouraged!
Support for these militias does not depend on armament, but the leader of this militia is Gamal Muhammad Jaafar, who is referred to as the right hand of the commander of Qods Force Qasim Soleimani. The Iraqi government has repeatedly denied Iran’s support for the militia but has finally been forced to admit that Iran is already supporting it. A leader of the National Alliance has revealed that the Revolutionary Guards are the ones who equip the militias with arms and combat equipment and structure the forces.
According to the research paper published in the Center for Linkages for Research and Strategic Studies, researcher Huda al-Nuaimi:
After the escalation of events in Iraq and the withdrawal of the Iraqi army from a number of volatile provinces, security officials in Iraq revealed that Soleimani is in Iraq and that Baghdad notified Washington before his visit that he would come. Sulaymani, according to them, was observing Iraqi defenses and had set up a room to coordinate operations between Shiite militias. The former US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has confirmed the presence of Soleimani and strongly in Iraq through his remarks also.
The military dependence on Iran goes beyond all these interventions to two important points:
First, many Iraqi officials openly acknowledge their request for support from Iran. For example, national security adviser Faleh Fayyad said Iraq would seek support from Iran and America and Iraq’s first reliance on popular mobilization.
Second: The Iraqi government is already fully dependent on the popular mobilization. In the 2015 budget, it allocated $ 60 million to build the capacity of the popular mobilization. In total, everyone in the popular crowd receives $ 500 a month. Popular forces have become involved with the Iraqi army on multiple fronts inside Iraq in a confrontational confrontation. Not to mention the largest number of members of the Iraqi army!
In total, the number of popular mobilization forces is 100,000, according to the lowest estimates, while others are estimated at 250,000 and estimates of up to 400,000 fighters!
(2) economy: the hand that is never tainted
“Iraq imports 72 percent of the total domestic Iranian goods and receives 70 percent of Iran’s technical and engineering services. Trade relations between Tehran and Baghdad will continue to be unequal and in favor of Tehran. ” * Researcher specializing in Iranian affairs: Tamer Badawi
Wholesale Iran exports to Iraq first oil products, and non-oil products II (these include cars, foodstuffs, household items, technical and engineering services). According to reports, Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq in 2012-2013 amounted to 6.2 billion dollars or 19.30% of the total Iranian exports. This rate fell last year but is likely to increase this year, especially as the world is surprised to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, which means that the rules will change now.
As mentioned above, Iraq imports 72% of all domestic Iranian goods and ranks as Iran’s primary trading partner. The volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2014, $ 13 billion, some observers expect to reach 20-25 billion dollars in the coming years. The event, which was presented to Iran, Iraq (economically) on a plate of gold, was an uphill climb. The organization that managed to control entire areas of Iraq and Syria left Iran with the opportunity to 1. Form the Shiite militias that are the “popular crowd” we talked about. While Tehran accounted for 17.5% of the Iraqi market after an encouraging rise, compared to pre-consensus, where the ratio was only 13%. 3 – the control of the advocates of parts of Iraq reduced the economic presence of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which opened the door wide for Iranian traders, of course. 4 – The economic losses left behind in its battles in Iran have given another dimension to investing in Iraq, through involvement in infrastructure projects in Iraq. For example, Iranian contractors occupy the largest proportion of the project for the construction of housing units launched by Baghdad and the number of these units 2 million units.
(3) Shiism: a new reference and representative of Khamenei in Iraq
With the success of the Iranian revolution, Iran began to move within countries that contain a Shiite component in its population composition. Iraq is the most prominent of these countries for many reasons. In general, Iran has tried to attract Shiites in Iraq to the theory of the rule of the jurist founded by Khomeini and ruled by Iran. Many Iraqi Shiite clerics did not support the mandate of the jurist, although their political positions differed from Iran. Focus on this axis on two points, including:
1 – Dawa Party; the ruler since Saddam; and the relationship with Iran
The Islamic Dawa Party was founded in the 1950s in an attempt to reform the situation of Muslims. The prominent Shiite thinker and cleric Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr played a major role in establishing the party. A. Baqir al-Sadr Several books discuss the role of Islam and its relationship with economics, philosophy and other fields and scientific fields. The beginning of the conflict with the authority in Iraq in the late sixties with the anti-Baath party of the Islamic Dawa Party because it felt that the party is increasing its popularity. He launched a media war against the party, which made the party respond with demonstrations calling for the overthrow of the Baathist regime and the launching of an Islamic state. Which made the Iraqi regime arrests some members of the party, and after a few years issued several death sentences for some of the leaders.
With the victory of the Iranian revolution (1979), the party supported the Iranian revolution but retained its authority within Iraq. With the Iran-Iraq war, the party supported Iran in its war on Iraq, making the regime of Saddam issue a decision to execute all members of the party. He was at the head of those who were executed in 1980 Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr and his sister Nur al-Huda. Some leaders have fled to Syria and some have embraced Iran, including former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who joined the Dawa party since 1970.
From here, the relationship between the Dawa Party and Iran, the party that did not recognize the mandate of the Faqih in any way, was the same party that received Iranian support until after the Iraqi invasion. It is the only party that has controlled the government in all its sessions since the 2003 invasion. The government of Haider Abadi, the leader of the party.
2 – Personal Representative of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution
The Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution has been appointed as representative in countries with Shiite masses who owe allegiance to him. The task of this representative is to collect the five and speak on behalf of the guide and other missions on his behalf. In Iraq, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was the Shiite cleric Muhammad Mahdi al-Asafi, who was one of the founders of the Dawa party and was persecuted by the Baath party leadership. He was held by Iran after the victory of the Iranian revolution. Al-Asafi withdrew from the party in 1999 by resigning the cause of the failure of the leaders of the party to associate the decisions of the ruler, what I understood then that the political leadership must be subject to the theory of the mandate of the jurist!
Asefi was the Shiite representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iraq. Until his death last July. A few days ago, the Office of the Supreme Guide announced the appointment of a new representative in Iraq, Mr. Hosseini Mojtaba. The appointment came after Jawad Zarif’s visit to Iraq on days and his meeting with the Grand Mufti in Iraq Ali al-Sistani, leading some analyzes to say that the appointment of the new representative came after the agreement with Sistani, and we could not be sure of these analyses, especially as other analyzes strongly oppose them.
In general, the representative of the guide collects the Zakat and Al-Khamis funds for the jurist and promotes his doctrine in the Wilayat al-Faqih politically and culturally. Following the appointment of Hosseini Mojtaba, some newspapers reported the arrival of a delegation from the office of the supreme leader of the city of Najaf to present Husseini to officials of the Iraqi government and hold some meetings with the religious authorities as well.
Of course, there are what observers call the “conflict of references” between Iran and Iraq. Where Najaf and its scientific possession is the source of the great Iraqi authorities and its center, while Qum and its scientific possession is the source of the Shiite references, which taught and graduated from the current guide, Khamenei. The two properties differ: 1 – believes the Qom mandate absolute rule, while opposed by senior references Najaf estate, including the largest current reference in Iraq Ali Sistani, who objected more than once to Iran’s interventions in Iraq, and objected to Iran’s intervention in Syria, and sent A letter to Khamenei warning him against the consequences. 2 – See the references to Najaf adults and the prevailing line so far not to interfere with politics and religion. The two positions are supported by the positions of Mr. Ali al-Sistani, who did not assign his followers to the jihad of the US invasion in 2003, saying that this fatwa is not their time, nor did he take a position on the Iran-Iraq war. But he has some positions that are criticized by him, as he is not a political participant, so how he called his followers to Jihad Jihad? And how to support the United Iraqi Alliance in the elections?
What appeared to many analysts and observers of the Iraqi issue that the appointment of Hosseini Mujtaba alternative to Asefi, who died last month is only a conflict references and attempts by Iran to isolate the authority of Sistani and try to impose the authority of the Wali al-Faqih again a man of first-class in Iran, especially under the statements of Iranian officials on the extent Controlled by the capital Baghdad and the appeals of some clans and Sunni tribes that Iran controls the situation in Iraq. Will Husseini Mujtaba be the “soft” Iranian attempt to take control of Iraq and impose the mandate of the Faqih on it?
By Abdul Rahman Nasser
Journalist, researcher, an Egyptian writer.
Translated by Bahdin Sevo Sindi