Did Iran succeed in extending its influence inside Iraq?
"Tehran, the Baghdad land remains free" ... Mesopotamia protests are an important indication of the rejection of hegemony[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Friday 13 December 2019 1:00
[size]Iraqi demonstrators attack Iranian interests in Iraq (AFP)
Iran has pursued a multi-dimensional policy in Iraq, which has taken several paths, to extend its influence and hegemony since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, so the void of power created by the American occupation of Iraq pushed Iran to the expansion that made it, after more than ten years, boast of being present in four Arab capitals, but did the Iranian pursuit in Iraq succeed in the way that created Iranian hegemony as it is called? We can find a number of indicators that explain Iran's strategy in Iraq since 2003, and what it has reached so that it can assess the reality of its influence in Mesopotamia.
Soft power ... and firm
Iran has followed the behavior of the dominant and protective state of states, through policies aimed at spreading power and its practice by transferring its values and standards to influence the Iraqi issue by controlling political preferences and options in line with Iranian interests, and has employed soft power tools such as ideology and solid power tools such as economic and military assistance, as well On creating an Iraqi official, unofficial, and paramilitary elite with a strong connection to it, in addition to building an Iraqi political system that shapes its relationship with the new Iraqi elite that emerged after 2003 in a way that makes Iraqi policies not inconsistent with its interests.
Iran interfered to establish security and manage conflicts between the competing Iraqi political factions, as it interfered as a major actor in Iraq in dialogue sessions with the United States, before the American withdrawal from Iraq, and interfered in the crisis between the Kurds of Iraq and Turkey, as well as its role in combating ISIS.
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Iran's policies in Iraq have contributed to deepening sectarianism, increasing conflict between factions, and Sunni murmurs (AFP)
Although Iran relies on the Shiite component in the relationship between the two countries, it can be said that there are some factors that prevented the establishment of the state of Iranian hegemony in Iraq, including the difference and disparity between the Shiite factions, as well as the negative opinion of Iraqi Shiites regarding Iranian influence in Iraq, and the failure to adopt the Hawz Religious in Najaf to the principle of the jurisprudence.
Within the Shiite factions, there is no unified position on some issues, such as the regime in Iraq, Iraqi external relations and engagement with Iran, which weakened the unity between the Shiite factions, and at the same time Iran was not able to fully control some of the Shiite factions, but this was not resolved. Without all these currents needing Iranian support, all of them supported the role of Iran, though to varying degrees, and if we attribute this to the lack of Arab presence in Iran, as these groups invaded to achieve a balance between domestic politics and regional relations, as well as that any Shiite government would have needed To political support from E. Ran.
It is clear that the Iranian policy in Iraq had its results contrary to what Iran expected, with regard to the passivity of the Iranian role from the perspective of the Iraqis, where we find that the criticism of the Iraqis of the "Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq" for its support of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war led him to delete the reference to the Islamic revolution He turned to the "Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq," as he declared his loyalty to Ayatollah Sistani to gain legitimacy in the Iraqi interior.
Iran's sectarian politics deepened sectarianism
It cannot be said that Iran provided security and stability for the benefit of Iraq. Its sectarian policies in Iraq have affected deepening sectarianism, increased conflict between factions, and the murmur of Sunni groups. The same sectarian violence, which reflects the fact that the Iranian role in Iraq in its various stages was not in any way supportive of the stability and security of Iraq. Rather, the seeds of disintegration and sectarian fighting were planted. The role of the Shiite militias and the Iraqi government's dependence on them in the war against ISIS increased, and as a result of these groups carried out reprisals from the Sunni population, killing and torture of the Iraqi Sunni population, and the Sunni Arab cities and villages were destroyed and destroyed in 2014.
Such behavior raises fears that militias will turn into entities that later undermine Iraq, but Iran does not see this. The success of the “Hezbollah” model in Lebanon may encourage it to continue supporting the Shiite militias, as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Basij forces have already been formed. This way during the Iranian revolution.
Shiite militias have also become a challenge to the stability and security of Iraq, not only in relation to its sectarian policy, which has become a matter of great concern to many components of Iraqi society, such as the Kurds and even Shiites themselves. No one wants to attack Iraq armed groups that are not accountable, and that the disarmament and demobilization of Shiite militias It is difficult and complicated, not only because of its numbers and independence from the central government, the financial resources and the weapons available to it, but also because of its interference and interactions with the state and Iraqi society.
The US State Department’s report on terrorism considered that the work of Iranian-backed groups, including the Hezbollah Brigades, in Iraq during 2015, exacerbated sectarian tensions in Mesopotamia and contributed to human rights violations primarily against Sunni civilians.
What increases the challenge is that the Shiite militias loyal to Iran have already established themselves as experiences similar to the experience of the Lebanese Hezbollah, after taking advantage of the weakness and fragility of the Iraqi state and society after the American occupation, and strengthened its influence as social and cultural movements with military and social wings, and operate independently of the state, as well The institutionalization of the PMF, with its subordination to the central government and its work alongside the weaker Iraqi army compared to it, makes some people sensitive to the repetition of the experience of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The most important indicators of the rejection of Iranian influence
The protests currently taking place in Iraq are the most important indicators of the rejection of Iranian influence, which was reflected in the Iraqi public awareness. The protesting youth expressed their anger at the corruption and government performance that was linked to Iranian penetration in Iraq, Khomeini's pictures were burned, and the headquarters of the parties and militias loyal to them were attacked, with The spread of the slogan "Iran, righteousness ... Baghdad remains free."
The foregoing factors, in addition to the fact that Iraq is an ancient country and has huge resources that are poorly managed, and the influence and regional role it has practiced for a long time, the Iraqi-Iranian relations are still characterized by complete lack of trust between the two countries, and it cannot be said that Iraq is completely subject to Iranian domination, there are still restrictions On the exercise of Iranian influence in Iraq, and hence the inaccuracy and validity of the Iranian claim regarding this in Arab capitals, as regional acceptance and compatibility, whether from other countries or from within the community itself, are the most important conditions for influence and domination in the relationship between the parties.