What if the US liberated Iraq from Iranian occupation?

Despite everything committed by its officers and soldiers during and after the invasion and until their exit in 2011, the US will be forever remembered as the first and last cause of the Iranian nightmare in Iraq.
Thursday 16/01/2020
A picture taken on January 13, 2020, during a press tour organised by the US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group, shows a US soldier walking past a drone at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. (AFP)
A picture taken on January 13, 2020, during a press tour organised by the US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group, shows a US soldier walking past a drone at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. (AFP)

Throughout history, no country has accepted foreign occupation of any kind. Occupation has always been and will always be rejected by peoples and countries and its resistance by all means will always be a legitimate and unquestionable right.

The three most cherished things and values among nations, civilised or primitive, and the most sacred and worthy of sacrifice with blood, wealth and children, are national dignity, sovereignty and independence.

Except in Iraq and only today. The national mood in Iraq keeps swinging from one end to its opposite in a dramatic, abnormal and weird way.

Only recently, millions of Iraqis protested against foreign presence and influence in Iraq, demonstrated against its soldiers and officers, burned its flag and trampled on pictures of its leaders. Now, their parliament is cheering this same foreign presence and they put up pictures of its leaders everywhere in their streets, stores, mosques and churches, expressing pride to be under this occupier and attacking those who want to kick it out. Openly and with unparalleled enthusiasm, they heap thanks and gratitude on this occupier for interfering in their internal affairs.

Let’s not dither and admit that there is, in Iraq, more than one foreign party roaming the country freely and disbursing piles of riyals, dirhams, dollars and dinars to Iraqis ready to sell themselves, their families and their homeland for a pittance by offering devoted services to whoever pays more, even if that means destroying their homeland and killing their fellow citizens. It’s not difficult to see the result of their shameful work to please their benefactors: Look at the sorry state of the country’s most beautiful cities and villages.

Among the many foreign powers that shamelessly violate Iraqi lands and airspace, we must point out two in particular that truly have a firm grip over the country’s rudder: the United States and Iran. These two rival brothers sometimes get along and other times do not. In their wakes, they drag a multitude of loyal parties, organisations, charities, mosques, churches, newspapers and satellite channels.

Whoever objects to this reality must either be a lunatic or has a comfortable position in one of Iraq’s ministries controlling juicy contracts or is sitting behind a fancy desk at the headquarters of one of the militias or is working at the central bank -- or any other bank for that matter -- or has a stake in a multimillion-dollar shopping mall.

Iraqis are, unfortunately, divided. They are either devoted and fanatical friends of one party or mortal enemies of the other. So, since by virtue of necessity and the existing reality, Iraqis must choose to line up with one side or the other, that is to say with or against the United States and Iran, we might as well come to terms with the situation and decide which side is better for Iraq. Let’s see what the Iranians are taking from Iraq and what they are giving to Iraq and what is coming from the Americans and what is not.

Iran is the most influential party in Iraq. It controls the strongest, most numerous, best-funded, equipped, trained and armed parties, militias and spies in the country. Its agents are planted under the skin of every Iraqi, regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity. They run in his veins and bones and decide for him the smallest detail of his life.

They choose the weapons of his army, the furniture inside his ministries and the officials, personnel and ambassadors who sit on this furniture and even fix the prices of potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers.

They, and only they, monopolise the management of the ministries of the Interior, Defence, Finance, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Communications, of the Central Bank, the Electoral Commission, the Integrity Commission, of the ration cards and of the liquor and drug stores.

They teach the young and the old the art of self-flagellation and of walking hundreds of kilometres to visit holy sites and of adulating and kissing the images of the founding imam of the Islamic Republic, his ultimate holiness Ayatollah Khomeini, and of his worthy heir and Guardian of the Faqih Ali Khamenei and of the slain martyr Qassem Soleimani.

In Iraqi markets, one can find only merchandise from its generous neighbour. It enters the country without health or customs control and is sold freely with no pricing control.

Iranians enter and leave Iraq without passports or oversight. They leave Iraq with the country’s secrets in their bags. They take the civil and other records of every Iraqi citizens, as well as secured boxes filled with gold ingots from the Iraqi Central Bank and loads of misappropriated dollars from the Iraqi treasury, “donated” generously to help our big sister Iran in its ordeal caused by US President Donald Trump and his allies in the region and by the masses of ungrateful Iraqis who dared shout “Iran out, out.”

When you look at Iraqi villages and cities in the centre and southern Iraq, you can easily tell that nothing else comes from Iraq’s good neighbour besides poverty, hunger, disease and drugs and their poor citizens should not expect more of it than continuous shortage of water, electricity, medicine and food and nothing less than corrupt militias that are free to plunder, pillage and do violence to the defenceless citizens using batons, knives and deadly gas bombs.

Anyone who dares object to this reality and demands his freedom, dignity and right to a decent livelihood is immediately branded as an American imperialist, a Zionist, a Ba’athist and a Saddam orphan, making him the legitimate target of intentional kidnapping and assassination.

The bottom line is that the Iraqi citizen, under the occupation of the benevolent bigger sister country, has had his fill of funerals and wakes and of the resounding chants glorifying his holiness the velayat-e faqih, even as he is unemployed, hungry, sick, unsafe and patient with the oppression of Iraq’s closest relation.

As for the United States, despite everything committed by its officers and soldiers during and after the invasion and until their exit in 2011, it will be forever remembered as the first and last cause of the Iranian nightmare in Iraq.

No Iraqi is about to forget the days of the Governing Council or Paul Bremer’s correspondence with the Iranian mullahs’ regime or the episode of drafting the new Iraqi constitution and of handing over the camel with its load to the Dawa Party, the Supreme Council, the Badr Organisation, the Sadr movement and the Virtue Party, under the close supervision of the poor martyr Soleimani.

Granted, the United States of today is different from the United States of yesterday. Trump’s America is not the same as that of George W. Bush or that of Barack Obama. This America has learnt a lot from Iraq and the Iraqis and woke up to the fact that Iran is not and cannot be a good ally nor can it be an enemy, either.

However, for the United States, Iraq is the jewel in its Middle Eastern crown, the captured castle at a heavy cost in men and money and now it has discovered that two strong occupying powers cannot coexist on the same land. So it got busy, since the beginning of Trump’s term, undoing Iran’s grip over Iraq and the region. It planted a wedge of discord between the Iraqis and its newly found enemy.

And even if the United States achieves its far-fetched and stubborn dream of kicking the Iranians out of Iraq and sweeping off their hypocritical and cheating losers of agents and proxies, it will find that the Iraqis are not the same people it invaded in 2003 and became master of their destinies, their ministries and institutions, their universities and their food markets.

The United States won’t be able to find among the Iraqis new hypocritical, cheating and backward losers to do its dirty deeds. America will soon realise that the Iraq of 2003 is gone and that the new Iraqis are different from their fathers and grandfathers; they are impossible to deceive and cheat and it won’t be possible to rule them by force and plunder their wealth.

Most probably, too, if the United States frees Iraq of its Iranian rival, it would adopt a policy with Iraq like the one it used with Japan, Vietnam and Germany or the one it is using with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. In clearer terms, its most effective occupation weapon will be trade, investment and sale of satellites, transportation, communication networks, banks and loans.

Because the United States knows that Iraqi oil is being siphoned and embezzled and its revenues go elsewhere other than to Iraq, it would be happy to buy it for almost one-quarter of its value, not in exchange for cash, of course, but in exchange for canned food, medicine, painkillers, residential and commercial complexes and brand new shiny skyscrapers.

At that time, and as it has happened before in the Arab Gulf countries, the Iraqis would be surprised to find that companies and businesses from the United States, Europe, China, Japan and Russia are beating a path to Baghdad and fiercely competing for reconstruction contracts, tenders and projects. Soon money would be flowing in the state treasury and the government would have to lend it to only those who deserve it among Iraqi entrepreneurs.

In just a few years, ornate buildings would rise on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates and the homeland would be completely and permanently free of the small armies of armed militias and their turbaned ideologues. They would be replaced by armies of happy contractors, engineers, experts and investors. The gloomy black banners, obituaries and mourners would disappear from the streets and replaced with bright advertisements for concerts and plays, with paintings and billboards for luxury cars, fashion, medical clinics, pharmaceutical companies and tourism and recreation companies.

Isn’t this what is happening in many countries, such as Japan, Germany, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia, Argentina, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, that do not find in accepting the United States’ codified and very limiting friendship any violation of their nor insult to their dignity? So, are we, Iraqis, going to pretend to be more patriotic and dignified than those people?