Given what is at stake, should we be worried that Iran is seeking to turn Iraq into a proxy state, as the Regime has already done with Lebanon? Simply, yes.
Iran began expanding its influence in Iraq following the fall of the Iraqi ruling system, seeking to minimise US influence by backing armed Sunni and Shiite militias.
There is ample evidence that Iran wants to turn Iraq into another “banana republic”, even funding the country to the tune of billions of dollars, as Iran already does with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Bashar Assad’s Syrian government, in order to recruit militants who would fight on Iran’s behalf around the world.
Iran does not want Iraq to be a stable and strong country, free of foreign influence, but the Iraqi people disagree. Iraq is currently enjoying strong international relations and could soon be one of the richest countries in the region once its redevelopment has finished.
It does not need to be subservient to a country that is facing strict global diplomatic and economic sanctions, whose oil tankers float abandoned in the middle of the sea, which cannot use the US dollar to sell pistachios, and has been deserted by even its closest powerful allies (China and Russia).
Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi knows what Iraq’s potential is, as well as that Iran wants him to squander it away, especially after Rouhani’s speech about supporting Iraq during its “difficult days”.
However, let’s not forget that Iran’s problems are all of the Regime’s own making. If the mullahs had abandoned their nuclear project, stopped intervening militarily in neighbouring countries, and ended its support for terrorist militias. Why should Iraq sacrifice itself to help Iran?
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television, wrote: “Iran was not forced to fight these battles; rather, its regime has chosen to play the role of the villain in the region… Iraqis must now realize that what is going on is an international battle, and they will lose all that they have achieved since stability and state authority returned to Baghdad.”
The Iranian officials who visited Baghdad want to turn Iraq into a subordinate satellite state and Iraq should resist at all costs.