Rejecting the notion that the Iraqi uprising is driven solely by sectarian motives, much less by extremism, Vidal-Quadras assured the crowd that majority of the people fighting the Maliki government want only to remove him from power and to have a nation defined by democracy and freedom.
The message of many participants and speakers at Friday’s event was that such freedom in Iraq can never been achieved as long as its government remains allied with the Iranian regime. Presenters such as former US Speaker of the House declared in no uncertain terms that Maliki is simply “Iran’s puppet.”
The US officials including Secretary of State John Kerry have signaled that they may be willing to cooperate with Iran to confront what are perceived as common interests in Iraq.
Earlier in the rally’s program, US Army General George Casey, who commanded the US forces in Iraq for several years flatly dismissed this notion of shared interests, claiming instead that “The Iranian regime will be destabilizing the region for some time to come.”
While Vidal-Quadras suggests that ISIS is not a significant portion of the conflict in Iraq, many analysts have concluded that the extremist wing of the conflict has actually grown in response to the Shiite threat that is headed by the Iranian regime. These two claims are not mutually exclusive.
In attendance at Fridays event were two delegations unique to this year’s event: one from the moderate Iraqi resistance and one from the moderate Syrian resistance.
So long as these groups do define the conflict and are not overtaken by the extremist fringe, according to Vidal-Quadras, “democracy in Iraq triggers the destruction of fundamentalism.”