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Iraqis bid sectarianism goodbye 

Demonstrators attend the ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 10 November 2019. [Murtadha Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Iraqis attend ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 10 November 2019 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq has not known stability since the 2003 US invasion, the overthrow of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, and the entry of traitors on the back of American tanks and the division of the country on a sectarian and geographical basis by the “Interim President”, US diplomat Paul Bremer. Since then, Iraq has been lost and the eastern gate to the Arab world has fallen.

With the green light from the US, Iran has entered the country, to make it a part of Iran or one of its governorates, appointing officials loyal to Tehran and backing a puppet Prime Minister of its own choosing. Iran is pulling the strings as it pleases.

Through such individuals, Iran has seized Iraq’s wealth, filled its markets with Iranian goods, and changed some street names from Arabic names to Farsi. In an extensive investigation, the New York Times mentioned two years ago that Iraq has become Iranian, beginning with baby formula, the public squares and the state politicians and their sectarian parties and politics. Iran has made secret and public agreements with the US on the ruins of this wounded country, of which it has become the de facto ruler. The ruling class has seized the wealth and money to fill Western treasuries and are holed up within the Green Zone, far away from the people who are suffering from poverty, hunger and unemployment.

Iraq was forcibly separated from its Arab surroundings after the Arab League abandoned it, and the Arab countries turned their backs and left it as an easy prey for Iran. They didn’t realise that the loss of Iraq is a loss for all of them, and now they are screaming about Iranian infiltration across the region with Tehran’s effective control of five Arab capitals. The loudest screams are coming from Saudi Arabia, which is most affected by Iran, although it opened its airspace to US planes to attack a neighbouring Arab country. The Kingdom also allowed US tanks and troops to invade Iraq from Saudi territory on the pretext of looking for Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”. US President Donald Trump recently negated this claim. However, a conspiracy was plotted against Iraq, its people and its historic civilisation to destroy the nation and those closest to it. Its own sons participated along with strangers.

READ: Iraq PM says government won’t resign ‘smooth and rapid’ alternative

The Iraqi people awaited the freedom that they have always dreamed and the democracy they were promised by the then US President, George W Bush, after decades of dictatorship, oppression, injustice and enslavement. However, they only found more dictatorship, oppression and injustice imposed by the pro-Iran Shia community in Iraq that holds the reins of power, shored up by their militias. The latter tailored the Iraqi constitution to their liking and established the foundations of heinous sectarianism in its most ugly forms, unseen in the country beforehand.

Iraqi citizens felt that the country was no longer their own; that it had been stolen from them and the land had been pulled from under their feet. That’s why they rose up; to reclaim their land, liberate it and rid it of corruption.

Iraqi protests - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Iraqi protests – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The uprising which began last month was not the first by the Iraqi people to topple the sectarian regime and protest against Iranian interference and corruption in the country. The uprising actually began in 2013 and would rise up and die down sporadically. Popular movements were active in the predominantly Sunni areas of Iraq, such as Ramadi Salah Al-Din, Mosul, Kirkuk Diyala and others, which were marked by Sunni uprisings against the Shia ruling class. They were always confronted by the army, police and the militias of the Shia Popular Mobilisation Forces; protestors have been wounded and killed, which calmed things down for occasionally.

Last month’s uprising, though, is characterised by the fact that it has no sectarian or partisan leanings; everyone is mixed together raising only the Iraqi flag. The protests have been the largest to date, with the greatest geographic spread across all of the Iraqi governorates and provinces, transcending all sects. Protesters have crushed sectarianism under their boots and unity has been restored with this coming together and the people’s blood mixing on the revolutionary squares.

READ: Authoritarianism means instability, so Arab regimes need to be challenged

The death of sectarianism will not see any tears shed. Its funeral will be a joyous occasion, signalling an end to injustice, marginalisation and exclusion; Iraqis will go back to being loving brethren. They will be the people of a single nation and they will not be discriminated against, nor will one sect be favoured over another.

The slogans of the uprising reflect the intellectual maturity of the youth who are on the streets. They were all children during the US invasion of their country; indeed, some weren’t even born. They grew up in a poisonous sectarian atmosphere; they tasted its bitterness and decided to expel those who brought it into their country. These are the approaches adopted by the youth in Tahrir (“Liberation”) and other squares. The anti-Iran voices have grown louder, with pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei being burned. This has angered the Iranians, and the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution, Ali Khamenei, accused the US, Israel and some Arab countries of being behind the uprising and conspiring against Iraq. He advised the rebels of the need to preserve stability and achieve their demands through legal means. It is ironic that he claimed that the similar protests in Lebanon as well as those in Iraq are intended to hinder the liberation of Jerusalem.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei participates in the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense University graduation ceremony in Tehran, Iran on October 30, 2019 [IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei participates in the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense University graduation ceremony in Tehran, Iran on October 30, 2019 [IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT – Anadolu Agency]

It is also ironic that the leader of the greatest revolution of the twentieth century, which has shaken the world and changed its maps, is calling for protesters to express their demands through “legal” means. Why didn’t the Islamic Revolution in 1978/9 resort to the law instead of rising up against the Shah and overthrowing his regime?

Iran’s mouthpiece in Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, echoed what was said by Iran’s mouthpiece in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, by insisting that change in Iraq is for the government, parliament and constitution to decide, through constitutional means, not through protests, which cause chaos in the country.

Don’t Khamenei and his agents in Iraq and Lebanon realise that the main reason for the chaos is discriminatory sectarianism, its twin corruption and the illegal wealth of sect princes? They are aware and know that these large crowds have joined together despite incitement among them and the fuelling of sectarian disputes which have not worked or borne fruit. Instead, everyone came out from under the cloak of sectarianism demanding their right to their homeland, which means the end of Iranian interference. This is why Iran and the other powers that be are afraid of these popular uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon (and hopefully in Syria tomorrow). Victory is always for the masses in their uprisings against their local, regional and international enemies.

READ: US condemns use of violence against Iraq protesters

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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