Iran’s back-to-back defeats in Iraq

Following the continuous and escalating uprising by the Iraqi people against the corrupt political apparatus linked to the mullahs’ regime in Iran, Tehran suffered yet another decisive blow recently.

Based on the Iranian regime’s blueprints prepared by none other than Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, Asaad Al-Eidani, the governor of Basrah Province in southern Iraq was designated as the candidate for the prime ministry post. He enjoyed the support of Iran-linked figures such as Badr Corps chief Hadi Al-Ameri, former prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki and Hashd al-Shaabi chief Falih Fayyadh.

Eidani himself is loathed in Basrah Province for ordering security forces to open fire on demonstrators in the unrest that has engulfed Iraq in the past few months. Al-Ameri, Al-Maliki and Fayyadh are all known for their loyalty to Iran and very close association to Soleimani.

Badr Corps chief Hadi Al-Ameri and IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani in Iraq
Badr Corps chief Hadi Al-Ameri and IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani in Iraq

In response, the Iraqi people refused to back down and launched a new wave protests in cities checkered across southern Iraq. In Nasiriyah, youths were seen torching the governorate office. In Diwaniyah, protesters targeted sites affiliated to groups affiliated to the mullahs’ regime. In Kut, demonstrators were heard chanting, “We don’t want the Iranian Asaad!”

I

n the cities of Baghdad, Basrah, Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, Karbala and Um Al Qasr, protesting youth took the streets and blocked major pathways in a sign of their protests. All protests and demonstrations were specifically describing Asaad as a corrupt and murderous candidate of the mullahs’ regime in Iraq.

As Iraqi demonstrators indicated their resilience and refusal to back down, Tehran’s plot to impose Al-Eidani, their preferred candidate, to the Iraqi people failed miserably. This new development became yet another victory for the Iraqi people’s uprising that has continued since October 25 to this day.

Such a significant setback for Iran in Iraq comes at a time that Tehran’s regime has been going the distance in its efforts seeking to silence the Iraqi people’s uprising and pursuing its own interests. This is especially important for Iran as U.S. sanctions and the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy is drying their resources and Tehran needs Iraq as a bridge to decrease these hardships to some extent.

For example, director of customs in Kermanshah Province, in western Iran bordering Iraq, says exports to their western neighbor have decreased 20 to 30 percent during the past nine months alone.

Strategic setbacks

The Iraqi people and especially the courageous youth who refuse to evacuate the protest squares, have delivered six strategic setbacks for the mullahs’ regime in Iraq.

1) Forcing the resignation of Adel Abdul-Mahdi from the prime ministry post despite Iran’s support.

2) Continuing the uprising and launching general strikes resulting in the support of Iraq’s senior religious figures.

3) Defeating all of Tehran’s measures seeking religious legitimacy through the official position of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani against Abdul-Mahdi’s government.

4) Armed tribes entering the city of Nasiriyah and taking control over sites of Iran-backed groups. This defeated the bloody crackdown launched in this city and catapulted the Iraqi uprising into a new phase.

5) The failure of security forces in launching a bloody attack targeting Baghdad’s squares and Sinak Bridge. This plot backfired and resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqis rushing to the protest sites and joining the uprising.

6) Iran-linked candidates for the prime ministry post being turned down by the Iraqi people one after another. Asaad Al-Eidani is the latest example.

Iran and the point of no return

These setbacks for Iran’s strategic interests in Iran highlight the following:

  1. a) The Iraqi people have learned that their first and foremost enemy is the regime ruling Iran. This is especially significant as Tehran loses its claimed “support” among Shiites of southern Iraq.
  2. b) The Iraqi people have drawn a line in the sand and refuse to cooperate with any entity linked to Iran’s regime.
  3. c) The demands raised by the Iraqi people are very principled: evicting the Iranian regime from their country and toppling the entire political establishment installed in Iraq by Tehran’s mullahs.
  4. d) The Iranian regime has weakened more than ever before in Iraq, especially with protests flaring in Lebanon, Iraq and the November uprising delivering a major blow to its already weak core inside Iran.

In a retaliation very common from Iran’s regime when cornered, Tehran-backed militia groups in Iraq stand accused of launching a rocket attack on December 27 targeting the K1 military base in northern Iraq. This latest provocative measure left one American civilian contractor dead and several U.S. and Iraqi soldiers wounded.

On December 11, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned America would respond decisively if such attacks led to the loss of American lives. What the future holds will be interesting.

Final thoughts

It is also worth noting that the basis of all these setbacks for the mullahs’ regime is the fact that the Iraqi people have come to realize Tehran’s malign plots. During the past 16 years the Iraqi people have witnessed the Iranian regime’s crimes and plundering across their country.

Iran’s regime is now witnessing with its very eyes how its “strategic depth” in Iraq is falling apart. These back to back defeats for its various plots are a signal that measures inside Iran against a very turbulent nation, described as a powder keg, will also end in failure.

Parallel to crippling U.S. sanctions, crises simmering against the mullahs’ interests in Lebanon, Iraq and most importantly inside Iran are all signs of a regime realizing the end is very near.

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