The Iranian campaign to crush the Iraqi October uprising continues because the protests’ success would spell the end of the political regime in Baghdad.
Militias loyal to Tehran resorted to one option in dealing with the uprising — killing and kidnapping protesters. The documented death toll stands at 473 with about 22,000 wounded, of whom 3,900 were left permanently disabled, and about 12 kidnapped whose fate is unknown.
In these 75 days of uprising, has Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani’s conspiracy defeated the Iraqis? The answer is a resounding: “No!”
The intensity of the sit-ins has multiplied and the slogans raised have become more radical. The revolution has a clearly drawn agenda for the future of Iraq after ridding it of all murderous and corrupt factions.
This is why the repression campaign has intensified with more killings, kidnappings and violent attempts to penetrate and break the sit-ins, especially in Baghdad.
Failure, however, dogs the militias’ operations. The Nasiriya and Najaf operations failed and the Arab tribes in the southern governorates chose the side of their angry children. The latest attempt to provoke sedition among protesters in Baghdad, by feigning a murder scene and hanging the corpse of the presumed assassin to smear the demonstrators and the peaceful character of their protests, also failed miserably.
Soleimani was not about to stop his bloody repression while his acolytes in Baghdad were in the grips of terror and anxiety. International condemnation from human rights organisations is escalating and the UN Security Council has taken a belated position by asking the rulers in Iraq to stop the brutal repression of the demonstrations.
The Americans saw fit to condemn Iran’s hegemony over Iraqi resources, even though it was the Americans who put this backward and shabby model of politicians into power in Iraq.
The messages of the slogans of the uprising and its political programme have reached the circles of power in Baghdad and Soleimani. A first step was taken, which was the dismissal of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, amid popular demands to bring him and his military and security team to justice for the assassination of protesting Iraqis. In the meantime, protesters continue to insist on comprehensive change.
One of the aspects of Soleimani’s conspiracy was an intensive media campaign by the parties’ satellite TV channels and their armies of internet trolls aimed at tarnishing the image of the uprising and smearing the protesters. They even recruited marginal figures who have always exploited the contradictions of the political process and its sectarian predicament.
Using their skills in hypocritical and rhetorical tactics learnt from their Iranian masters, some of those figures assumed the role of political opposition, taking advantage of the void created by the regime’s repression.
The real function of this pseudo opposition, however, was plain cheap political power trading, for it never reneged its ideological loyalty to Tehran and, when it makes claims of liberalism, it is always within the context of those power trade-offs.
Lately, however, when the conflict between the project of a sovereign Iraq and that of Iraq as an Iranian satellite reached a decisive point, some in the opposition dropped the mask and used the rhetoric of their real affiliations unabashedly attacking the Iraqi revolutionaries.
Another feature of this stupid campaign was exploiting the lack of organisational leadership for the uprising. Indeed, the uprising does not have a defined leadership that manages its media and political activities and would manage the dialogue with leaders of the ruling parties and those behind them.
This organisational shortage may have its logistical justifications and the fears of any revolution, let alone the current Iraqis’ struggle against one of the most dangerous, oppressive and corrupt regimes of the modern era. It is normal for the protesters to be concerned about penetration of their ranks by the power in place, the physical assassination of their potential leaders and about the planting of pseudo-political leaders among them for the purpose of killing the movement by sowing discord within its leadership. Obviously, not having a publicly visible leadership confuses the enemy.
Considering Soleimani’s inability to find a replacement for Abdul-Mahdi and in the face of the uprising’s insistence to have a prime minister who is not designated by the political parties, the stalemate in Iraq continues.
The problem and risk, in Soleimani’s view, are not in finding a candidate for the prime minister’s position but lies in his fear that giving in to the masses’ demands’ in choosing the prime minister would have a domino effect on the rest of Iran’s control apparatus in Iraq. Next, the protesters would demand dissolution of the parliament and the electoral law and then amending the constitution by removing the religious and sectarian parties. This is where the fears of the Iranian regime lie.
Recent Iranian military provocations to US military presence in Iraq were met with stern and strong US reactions. More than anyone else, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei understands their significance in relation to the political chaos in Iraq and to the prospects of accelerating the dismantling of Iranian influence in Iraq following an Iranian withdrawal.
Despite Iran’s arrogance, based on the availability of piles of Iranian weapons in the hands of thousands of poor lost souls on Iraqi soil and who, incidentally, turned out to be closely monitored by the US military machine, Tehran remains afraid of going to the military confrontation game because that would end its presence in Iraq, an end that would be cheered by the Iraqi people.
It won’t be easy to make Iran abandon its project in Iraq and while most of Soleimani’s cards to prevent the people’s uprising from achieving its goals have been burned, he has others to play. His new strategy would be to react to the slogans of the revolution. In doing so, he may be acquiescing to naming a new prime minister who would be acceptable to the revolutionaries but he will maliciously reject other terms of the desired change, such as dissolving parliament and amending the electoral law and the constitution. The protesters must deny him, and his agents, this opportunity.
What we are witnessing in Iraq is the implementation of the regime’s choice of bloody repression after it had put in place the option of corruption and looting since 2003. A historical moment has opened to the people. The time for Soleimani’s departure from Iraq is near and he will soon be mourning his terrorist past of assassinating Iraq’s youth, displacing the people of Mosul, Saladin, Diyala, Fallujah and Jurf al-Sakhar from their homes and arrogantly striding up and down Iraqi mounds and valleys, boasting and defying the people of Iraq.
He should remember that his ancestor Khosrow ended up abandoning, in defeat, his palace at Madain, east of Baghdad.
Source » thearabweekly