Old tricks lay bare the ugly face of a third force in Iraq

Protecting the regime in Iraq is an Iranian priority no less in importance than the preservation of the Tehran regime itself.
Thursday 17/10/2019
Protestors gather after the lifting of the curfew, following four days of anti-government protests in Baghdad, October 5, 2019. (Reuters)
Continuing clashes. Protestors gather after the lifting of the curfew, following four days of anti-government protests in Baghdad, October 5, 2019. (Reuters)

We cannot say for certain that the tragedy of killing young people in Iraq is over because the motives that started the conflict between the oppressed people of Iraq and their young vanguard as well as that between the Iraqi government and political parties are still there.

There are those who say the October 1 uprising did not achieve its political goals, goals that surfaced three days after the bloodbath in the streets to pressure the political establishment to change the political system, which is the root cause of the Iraqi tragedy.

Those observers argue that the goal of bringing change is beyond the political, mobilisation and organisational capabilities of the protesters, given that they are facing a whole machinery of parties and political forces with military equipment and agents that have been organised and trained in secret for years by Iranian experts in the art of street clashes and who could not care less if rivers of Iraqi blood flow in the streets.

These reactionary forces have no qualms about repeating the 2009 massacre during the Green Revolution demonstrations in Tehran, a revolution led by Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two politicians from inside the Iranian regime who opposed the policies of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Protecting the regime in Iraq is an Iranian priority no less in importance than the preservation of the Tehran regime itself. This was made clear in statements by Iranian officials and militia leaders in Iraq after the fourth day of the uprising, in response to Khamenei's statement when he branded the uprising as “an enemy conspiracy aiming to split Iran and Iraq.”

When the three presidencies in Iraq reacted hastily and clumsily to the uprising, their goal was to create a state of emergency for the survival of the political system. They purposely tried to obfuscate the system’s shortcomings and declared criticisms of its foundations taboo. They artificially distinguished between exposing the crimes of the regime and making social demands for better services.

The uprising, however, and the authorities’ repressive reaction have lifted the artificial democratic mask off the face of the authority. To make matters worse for the regime, when Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi tried to seek the support of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's authority, the latter abandoned him as he had abandoned his predecessors whenever it was politically convenient for the clerical establishment.

In its October 11 statement, Sistani’s office accused the government of being behind the assassinations of demonstrators and gave it two weeks to uncover the perpetrators.

Sistani’s reaction was a victory for the uprising, even if just a temporary one and even if nothing has been yet about the demands of the uprising. The major figures of corruption are still standing.

This uprising also revealed that authorities know very well the direct causes of the uprising and have the financial and administrative means to deal with them if they really wanted to change things around, despite the lack of public trust.

What is important in the details of this turning point of the Iraqi regime is that clashes between the people and the government have revealed the existence of a third force in the confrontation. This force was unmasked in part by the existence of snipers who fired on the demonstrators. Those operations were documented in video circulated on the internet despite the government’s blackout.

The Iraqi youth vanguard represents the conscience of the Iraqi people. Its primary strength lies in the fact that its cadres have shot down all the official slogans and propaganda used to dismiss previous popular uprisings.

Most Iraqis no longer believe the regime’s claim that it was “the Nasibis (anti-Shia), the Wahabis and the Ba’athists” who were behind the revolts and that their aim was “to bring down “Al-Hussein’s kingdom.” This third force then, which has been inserted in the equation, has nothing to do with the Iraqis, even though it tries to hide behind armed militias loyal to Khamenei's regime.

In the system of drug mafia, especially in South America, strict rules are in place to protect the big bosses and maintain the looting of money through the drug trade. Those rules are characterised by their rigour and their inhumanity; no emotions are allowed to interfere in the implementation of these rules.

Mafia mercenaries and executioners must be ready to kill the targeted child, woman or elderly citizen without hesitation or remorse. Failing to do that, they are eliminated on the spot. In this mafia culture, all means can be used to maintain power and protect or expand turfs: money, assassinations, blackmail, sex and gang wars.

Those who had killed demonstrators in earlier protests in Basra, Baghdad and Karbala or had abducted many young people in the western provinces belong to a similar system of mercenaries.

Demonising rebels and revolutionaries is an old trick used by dictatorial and authoritarian governments. Today, the internet and social media have made sure that it won’t work again and blocking the internet for a few days won’t work, either.

Abdul-Mahdi may try to implement some security measures because of his keenness on remaining in office, his feeling that he is serving the people and his view that he is not responsible for the rotten situation in the country.

The Iraqi political parties, however, and the external forces behind them will not allow for any serious political reforms to take place because that would make party leaders accountable for their evil actions. Pushing for such reforms is beyond the capabilities of Abdul-Mahdi and the forces of darkness in Iraq can easily replace him with another prime minister who would be more open to their hellish plans against Iraq.

At the logistical level, the third force is playing a tremendous role in preserving the status quo and may cook up a scenario to exonerate and support Abdul-Mahdi by pinning the crime of shooting protesters on some jailed criminals. They would fabricate a story about infiltrated agents and would exhibit them on television so the corrupt politicians continue to deceive the public and persist in their injustice and tyranny.