As the American war drums against Iran grow louder, we are beginning to hear their joyous echoes in the hearts of Iraqi parties who view the war as “liberation” from the Iranian occupation. The enthusiasm and excitement have reached the point of some tweeting and congratulating each other for the approach of salvation, threatening Iran with America’s strength and President Trump’s relentless blows.
We have seen statements and messages on Facebook, as well as cartoons expressing emotions and positions that could have been justified under the pretext of saving the country and getting rid of the occupation if these same groups and parties did not stand firm against the American invasion in 2003. Other Iraqi parties justified this occupation also under the pretext of “liberation”. This was a rapid change of positions, at least in terms of moral values, and it presents an image of fluid principles that, until recently, were regarded as firmly established.
How did the invading Americans turn into the promised saviour? What prompted these parties, who opposed the American occupation of Iraq to see the Americans as rescuers in a war with Iran? Is there anything that guarantees the stability of American policy towards the people of the region?
In the network of internal and external factors that are politically, economically, and militarily intertwined, in addition to the violent religious-sectarian conflict over Iraq’s spoils, the complexities of a relationship that is one of a love-hate nature become apparent. This relationship between the American administration and the Iranian regimes has its highs and lows. The focus of this relationship is Iraq, the goose that lays golden eggs. This relationship is different from the other relations between the coloniser and the colonised we have known throughout history, as Iran was not directly occupied by the US, as was the case with Iraq. This reflected on the nature of their relationship. Conflicts, even when they reach their highest level and include threats of violence and war, occur in neighbouring countries, and not in the US or Iran, as we have seen in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
These highs and lows in the relationship, as well as moving the battleground to their neighbours, then reaching a truce in one way or another clarifies the fact that the Iranian regime offered to help the US facilitate affairs regarding the occupation of Iraq. “We know Iraq better” is what an Iranian official said at the time to tempt the American administration to accept the regime as a partner. The goal was to avoid moving the conflict to Iran at any cost, until they gained insight regarding the features and map of the future relationship, after “clearing out” the neighbours’ homes of those objecting to their presence.
The two parties did not take into consideration the emergence of the resistance that, although did not triumph in terms of eliminating the American and Iranian occupation, it did alert the American administration of the presence of a nation that will not welcome the occupation with flowers and sweets, as assured by some Iraqis before the invasion. They also warned Iran of the presence of voices different to those who welcomed them into the Iraqi home and even gave them the deed to the house.
The policy of sectarian exclusion and the emergence of armed resistance led to the American and Iranian occupiers to resort strengthening their instruments of domination first and then creating the ground for consensus between them at the expense of Iraq. In addition to bombings, strikes, collective punishment, and targeted assassinations of independent voices, they used weapons that had a more profound and more damaging effect in the long run than mere direct killing. These weapons drained the structure of society and left it exhausted, unable to resist or initiate, asking for nothing but to remain alive and to raise their hands high to the sky and say “We trust in God and he suffices us.”
Iraq has become an open market for 24 hours a day for militias and sectarian organisations that have emerged like octopus tentacles, either as tools for systematic sabotage or as an inevitable result of both occupations. The militias backed by Iran, which some youth rushed to join because it is a guaranteed job with a good salary in this life and promised life in heaven in the hereafter. Leaked documents, release either by WikiLeaks or other parties, exposed the magnitude of the occupiers’ penetration of these organisations and the size of the advanced armament of each organisation by the same armament sources.
The passing of 16 years since the American invasion set the ground for the Iranian occupation and enrooted societal division. This was also fuelled by corruption and individual interests associated with one group or another. If the combined sense of injustice and the domination of individual/sectarian interests over the interests of the country, prompted some to ally with the Americans in 2003, and the Iranian regime since, then basically the same will happen today. Indeed some parties and figures who oppose the US would welcome a war that would eliminate Iran, because, as they claim, Iran is like HIV, while the US and Israel are smallpox.
Those that cooperated with the Americans in 2003 did not think or did not care about what the destruction the occupation would bring on to the country and the people. Also, the parties and figures that are currently welcoming the bombing of Iran are not at all thinking about the catastrophic consequences this will have on the Iraqi people as well.
In terms of the American attack, the Iraqis know better than anyone else the intelligence of the missiles, the accuracy of their targets, and the consideration of victims as collateral damage. As for the Iranian “defence”, the Iraqis know better than anyone else about the barbarianism of the militias, car bombs, bombings, and assassination. Have those who encourage the American administration thought about the American actions and the Iranian reactions to the Iraqi people, who are hostages in a land that no side will hesitate to use as a battleground to achieve victory? What about the Iranian people? We have always made sure to distinguish between the tyrannical Arab governments and the people, so why don’t we do the same with Iran?
Fortunately, the American president stopped the attack on Iran minute before the missiles were launched. Perhaps President Trump realised he was on the verge of crossing the lines of the game with Iran.
Regardless of the reasons, this is the first time that the people take a sigh of relief, including myself, not out of admiration for the American administration, as it is the reason for the plight we are enduring. Nor is it out of love for the totalitarian mullah regime, which will not hesitate to send their people to death after putting the “keys of heaven” on their necks. It is out of caution for our people in the entire region.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.