Iraq’s long liberation war
Iran's goals in Iraq have never changed. There is a persistent Iranian effort to turn Iraq into an Iranian colony but this what the Iraqis, including the Shias, will not accept.
Iraqis assert daily that they are Iraqi first and foremost and that Iranian colonialism is unacceptable, even if it is dressed in a sectarian garment or slipped in under the cover of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).
Young Iraqis carrying out a revolution against the regime are aware that their main problem is with Iran, with Iran's instruments in power and with the US-Iranian complicity that led Iraq to where it is.
The crisis in Iraq is not only with a system whose construction the Americans botched, it is also an economic, social and intellectual crisis that transformed what was supposed to be the richest Arab country into an arid desert, a place filled with unemployed and semi-educated people because of the destruction of one of the best educational systems in the region.
We have to wonder: “What happened in Iraq that led to a much worse situation than the one under Saddam Hussein’s rule?”
The answer is simple. Now more than ever, Iraq has become captive of its oil revenues and it must share that income with Iran, a country that believes only in milking Iraq by any means possible.
Iraqis have had enough of their country’s economy based on oil exports and nothing else. They’ve had enough of corruption reaching unbearable levels while thousands of young people roam the streets looking for jobs.
The Iraqi youth have nowhere to go to except for sectarian militias or a government job that would turn them into unproductive citizens with no future to look forward to.
Iraq, with its former wealth in human resources, water and oil, is closer to an arid desert than to anything else. We can see desertification at every level, especially at the intellectual level. There is no room in Iraq for anyone endowed with the minimum of wisdom to understand politics and economics, let alone appreciate art, literature, thought and music, and yet such things had never been foreign to Iraqis.
The battle raging between those who want change at all costs and those who want to maintain the status quo at all costs can be understood from that angle. There are two radical camps in Iraq and nothing in between. It is going to be a bone-breaking battle.
It is a battle between Iran-backed militias on one side and tens of thousands of young Iraqis on the other. We are talking about young people who are ready to die for values they have never experienced, such as patriotism and pride to belong to a rich Iraq with a diversified economy. We’re talking about Iraqi youth who want to liberate their country, which they consider under militia and Iranian occupation.
The battle being waged by Iraqi youth stands to be a long one. The battle to liberate Iraq is going to be tough, given that Iran is defending in Iraq its bankrupt regime at home. Iran has only Iraq’s wealth to fall back on to face and circumvent US sanctions.
For this reason, more brutality must be expected in dealing with Iraqi demonstrators fighting a life-or-death battle. These young people know that Iran, despite its internal problems, is only interested in exporting its experience to Iraq. If the Iranian regime is governed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iraqi regime must be governed by the PMF controlled by Tehran.
The Iraqi youth want to break that equation in the hope that one day they will live in a state that has nothing to do with the velayat-e faqih in Iran and where sectarian Shia parties have nothing to say. Those parties are equivalents of the Muslim Brotherhood in countries with a Sunni majority.
The irony is that Iran prepared itself for the battle of Iraq. Through the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, it worked hard to get rid of any Iraqi politician who might exude the faintest whiff of patriotism. There is no other explanation for the removal of Lieutenant-General Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi as deputy commander of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces.
Saadi was the real leader of this state apparatus and he demonstrated great skills and proficiency at his job but his crime was that he also demonstrated something much more important: He showed there was still an Iraqi patriotic spirit. Unfortunately, because of the Iraqi regime and its Iranian backers, that spirit had to be eliminated by the PMF, the same forces confronting the Iraqi youth fighting for liberation of their country.
Once again, the battle for the liberation of Iraq will be long and not limited to liberating it from sectarian militias. It is a battle for the right to enjoy a diversified economy and to taste the beauty of a life filled with art and literature. It is a battle for the return of an Iraq that none of the post-July 14, 1958, coups were able to eradicate.