https://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2019/02/20/feature-01?di_exp_001=true&locale_switch_001=true

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Politics |

Iraqis resent Iran's interference in their affairs

By Faris Omran

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Qassem Suleimani, commander of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, has become the public face of Iranian interference in Iraq, observers say. [Photo circulated on social media]

The Iraqi public has grown increasingly resentful of Iran’s blatant interference in the sovereign affairs of their country, Iraqi observers told Diyaruna.

The most prominent figure associated with Iranian meddling in Iraq continues to be Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC-QF).

Suleimani's regular public appearances in Iraqi cities are provocative to Iraqi civilians as they underline Tehran's strong influence in Iraq, observers said.

Pro-Iran media outlets and social media accounts regularly post photographs of Suleimani in Iraq, meeting with the leaders of Iran-backed militias who work for the interests of the IRGC.

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Qassem Suleimani, commander of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, meets with a group of Iraqi militia leaders in 2016. [Photo circulated on social media]

Iran is encouraging Suleimani to visit Iraq during times of tension "to confirm that it is the main player on the Iraqi scene and holds all the solutions for the most intractable issues", said Hilal al-Obeidi, an Iraqi writer and political analyst.

"We have seen Suleimani [in public] on several occasions, the latest of which was the Iraqi parliamentary elections in May 2019 and during negotiations to form the government and appoint cabinet ministers," he told Diyaruna.

"Iran and the IRGC authorised Suleimani to take over the Iraq portfolio since he is influential in the country and has strong relations with Iraqi militia leaders," he said.

Suleimani is considered to be the "de facto commander of all pro-Iran militant factions and groups in the country", al-Obeidi added, noting that he is widely seen as being the most influential Iranian leader in Iraq.

Discontent in Iraqi street

There is "great discontent in the Iraqi street regarding Suleimani’s interference in the country’s political, security and economic affairs", strategic and military analyst Rabie al-Jawary told Diyaruna.

"Iraqis are concerned due to Suleimani's dominance over several Iraqi factions, political parties and armed factions," he said, noting that the Iranian commander constantly seeks to exert influence on Iraq and its decision making process.

Armed militias in Iraq that are directly linked to Iran include the Badr Organisation, Kataeb Hizbullah, Harakat al-Nujaba and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

"Iraqis do not consider Suleimani a friend, and they are fully aware that his successive visits to Iraq and his activities and meetings with [Abu Mahdi] al-Muhandis [deputy head of the PMF], and other militia commanders is not in their country’s interests," he said.

"Iran intends to position Suleimani as the leader with the final say in any Iraqi decision," he said, and to also send a strong message to the world that it will continue to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and deplete the country's resources.

Iran's hegemony and its ongoing targeting of Iraqi political opponents has reached a critical point, he noted, "with the only solution being a firm international stance from the international community to halt Iran's plans".

Iranian interference 'reprehensible'

The IRGC has large numbers of advisers dispersed among Iran-backed Iraqi militias, al-Jawary said.

"These Iranian advisers have thousands of militants under their command that are willing to do anything that Iran asks them to do," he added.

"Suleimani’s actions and his interference in our internal affairs is reprehensible," Muhannad al-Fahdawi, 41, told Diyaruna.

"He should focus on the affairs of his country and leave us to govern our own country, free of Iranian tutelage," he said.

"We are not optimistic concerning Iranian officials, be it Suleimani or any other," said Ayman Ali, a 35-year old government employee.

"They only want to weaken and destroy Iraq," he told Diyaruna.

Ali called for deterrent measures to put an end to "suspicious activities of Iranian officials and to adopt strong positions against their influence and blatant meddling" in Iraqi affairs.

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He is wrong. If it wasn't for Iran, ISIS would now be beheading every one of them and capturing their women. Long live the zealous Suleimani. Down with the Saudi, the United States, and Israel. They intervene even more.

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I sacrifice my life for Soleimani ... Had it not been for Soleimani, Iraq would have lost its honor.

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At the time when the ISIS had captured Mosul and had advanced all the way to the gates of Baghdad, when they killed thousands of Iraqis and raped thousands of women and girls, when the Saudis sent suicide bombers to Iraq, and when the United States refused to help Iraq, and instead sent down ammunition to ISIS using parachutes, at that time it was only Iran and Suleimani who, on the request of Baghdad, mobilized everything it could - from ammunition to forces and even its fighter aircraft. It was them who came to the help of [Iraqi] army and Popular Mobilization. Those who are protesting are either unaware, or ignorant, or perhaps are agents of the cursed Al Saud, U.S., Israel, the remnants of ISIS, or members of the Baath party. But the people of Iraq are noble. They must be very appreciative of these services, considering all the common interests. As for those who protest, they must know that if it were not for the resistance of the popular mobilization, Iraqi army, and the help from, then their mothers, sisters, and wives would be ISIS's sex slaves.

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Thanks for the explanation.

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thanks for printing the truth

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Is there really an official holiday in all provinces tomorrow, or is this news not true?

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Unfortunately, most of those who talk about politics don’t understand much about it. All world states, including Iran, look for their interests, even if at the expense of other states. This is in case those states are weak, like Iraq. As to equal states, they adopt the principle of common interests. This is how states have always been since they were first created.

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May God avenge the Iran of evil!

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what are you talking about? you make no sense at all it isnt eveil it is about power and corruption

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A powerful Iraq is capable of self-governance. Now, however, Iraq is right in our next-door and we must remain vigilant about our own situation. That is it! Otherwise, we are not an enemy of Iraq. Nevertheless, we cannot remain indifferent in this situation, for we are going to have problems.

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One hundred percent accurate

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You deserve the likes of ISIS who humiliated you. We are the ones who should be asking you and making you accountable for 8 years of compulsory war. Apparently, [you act as if] we are the ones who owe you something! Long live Gen. Soleimani!

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