Friday, August 19, 2016

                       When Will Washington Get It?                       Iraq IS a Proxy War with Iran

   by Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

  Final Jihad, July 17, 2007                                                                          Omedia, July 18, 2007                                                                                Human Affairs, July 25, 2007  (“Iraq IS a Proxy War with Iran”)

On July 9, 2007 it was reported that the Iraqi government of Dr. Nouri Kamal al-Maliki had failed to meet many of the benchmarks set for it.[1] Although there are mixed reports about the success of the “surge”—significant successes in bringing Sunnis to battle against al-Qaeda[2] versus horrific daily casualty rates from suicide car-bombings[3]—it should not come as a major surprise that the current Iraqi government is not fulfilling its duty to produce a greater success rate and to foster reconciliation among the three major Iraqi ethnic/religious groups.

Why? Why shouldn’t we be surprised at al-Maliki’s failure to meet fully even one US benchmark?

First, let’s review a little bit of background information. Iraq’s multi-party political system seems to be difficult for many Westerners to understand. It is essential to overcome this failure of comprehension and come to a realization that within Iraq’s three major ethnic/religious communities there are many, many different political parties and groups. [4] However, one major dividing line within Iraqi society is not that between ethnic/religious communities (Shi‘ite, Sunni, and Kurd) but rather between fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist interpretations of the Islam that is the common religion of the bulk of Iraqis.

Although the political groupings and coalitions remain complicated, one basically may say that the non-fundamentalists are willing to build a united independent Iraq; the radical fundamentalists desire to resurrect the Muslim caliphate. As such, these fundamentalists[5]—be they Sunnis tied to al-Qaeda, Kurdish members of Ansar al- Islam/Ansar al-Sunna, or Shi‘ites supporters of  Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim’s SCIRI/SIIC (Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, aka Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council) or Moqtada al-Sadr’s Jaish al-Mahdi (the al-Mahdi Army, which is the militia of the al-Daawa Party, and not coincidently also Nouri al-Maliki’s political party)—these Iraqi radical fundamentalists are supported by[6] and beholden to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Put simply: al-Maliki is not independent; he receives support and is subservient to the mullahs of Tehran. As long as al-Maliki and his radical fundamentalist Shi‘ite coalition lead the Iraqi government, Tehran will be calling the shots.[7] It doesn’t matter that Dr. al-Maliki and his colleagues wear ties and western suits—they are still Islamist radicals nonetheless and allies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[8]

Given the overwhelming evidence of Iranian support[9] for both the extremist militias of the Sunni al-Qaéda and the Shi‘ite Badr and Wolf Brigades and al-Mahdi Army[10] that have caused so much chaos and destruction to Iraqi society[11], it should be a clear sign that Iran is in control when both Iraqi President Jalal Talabani[12] and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki[13] make frequent visits to Tehran to consult with Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It should not come as a great surprise that the al-Maliki government is not meeting its commitments to the US. Ayatollah Khamenei doesn’t want to see America help create a real democracy in Iraq,[14] and al-Maliki is following Khamenei’s orders to prevent the rise of an independent, secular Iraq.[15] Although subservient to Iran, al-Maliki’s radical Shi‘ite government currently holds the reins of power and is content with such an arrangement in which the Sunnis remain odd-man out. No wonder that there has not yet been any success in enacting a law for equitable distribution of the oil wealth among the three ethnic/religious communities.

So what is to be done? What the American and Western press has failed to report is the fact that nearly half of the Iraqi electorate has gone on record to indicate opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interference in Iraqi national affairs. Out of an electorate of 11 million potential voters, over 5.2 million have pledged their support to the Solidarity Congress, an Iraqi coalition of anti-fundamentalist Shi‘ites, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians that is led by Dr. Abdullah Hassan al-Jabouri, former governor of Diyala Province.[16] The Solidarity Congress is the voice of the silent anti-fundamentalist majority, the good people of Iraq[17] who oppose fundamentalism, violence, extremism and sectarian prejudice.[18]

If the Solidarity Congress is able to stand in a new national election—an event that may occur within the next half year should the al-Maliki government suffer further political erosion and a non-confidence vote--Iraq could find itself with a government that believes in a united, secular, democratic Iraq, an Iraq that is neither a satellite of Iran, nor a candidate for the 51st state. Such an Iraq is just what is needed for the land of the two rivers.

On the other hand, if the United States and its allies leave Iraq too precipitously, all the current successes in opposing al-Qaeda will be reversed, and the Solidarity Congress will never be given a chance to run for elections—Iran’s radical Iraqi allies and the Sepah-e Qods agents of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps/Pasdaran will carry out an horrific assassination campaign that will smother Iraqi democrats just as done to Iranian democracy advocates in Iran for the last 28 years.

Without a doubt, the American initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 was carried out without sufficient thought to the consequences of shifting the delicate balance of power that existed between Iraq and Iran. Nevertheless, having ended the tyrannical reign of Saddam Hussein, an action that few regret, given his penchant for cruelty and mass murder in the extreme, it behooves the United States to assure the Iraqi people that it did not simply exchange a secular tyrant with its radical religious replacement. Not only would that be an act of supreme cruelty to the Iraqi people, but, given the stated intentions of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his vocal puppet, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it would guarantee a major victory for the forces of Islamist radicalism and constitute a major defeat for the West and its way of life. Although the war in Iraq is messy, as Natan Sharansky recently pointed out,[19] now is not the time to cut and run—the consequences are too dire to allow for such a short-sighted policy.

There remains one additional point that needs to be emphasized. As former US Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (for President G.H.W. Bush) Jed Babbin wrote in his essay  “Let’s undo the concessions to Iran”,, July 9, 2007,[20] the Iranian opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq, currently proscribed for illegitimate political reasons on the American and EU terrorist lists, as the oldest, best-organized, and most popular Iranian opposition movement—and the one which Tehran genuinely fears—is capable of  changing the regime in Tehran to one that is at peace with the world. The Iraqi Solidarity Congress and its allies[21] firmly support the MEK,[22] as they share a genuine abhorrence of the Islamist fundamentalist radicalism that Iran [23] and its extremist Shi‘ite allies[24] in the Al-Maliki government profess. Removing the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran from the US and EU FTO lists is the first step to winning the war in Iraq and defeating and removing the mullah regime from power in Iran.[25] The quicker that is done, the sooner the Middle East will return to a sense of normalcy and serenity.

Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching our elected officials and the public of the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism and the need to establish genuine democratic institutions in the Middle-East as an antidote to the venom of such fundamentalism.


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