Why Iraqis fret over risk of Trump losing election

A Biden victory will launch a new episode of the American-Iranian romance.
Tuesday 26/05/2020
Shadow of the past. Then-Vice-President Joe Biden, (C), sits with President Barack Obama, (R), during a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in New York in 2016.  (Reuters)
Shadow of the past. Then-Vice-President Joe Biden, (C), sits with President Barack Obama, (R), during a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in New York in 2016. (Reuters)

For half of all Americans, Europeans, Indians, Japanese, South and North Koreans and Africans, and perhaps all Russian and Chinese, US President Donald Trump may be the embodiment of all possible shortcomings of this world.

But for most Iraqis, the prospect of him losing the upcoming election because of the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring unemployment rates and economic stagnation makes them shiver in their sandals. The thought of this Joe Biden fellow taking his place makes them clutch their hearts in pain and invoke God’s mercy.

It is an undeniable fact that whoever sits in the Oval Office at the White House, regardless of his or her denomination and partisan affiliation, does have the power to make life blissful or miserable for a huge part of humanity.

Then-Vice President Joe Biden steps off a C-17 military transport plane upon his arrival in Baghdad. April 28, 2016. (AP)
Then-Vice President Joe Biden steps off a C-17 military transport plane upon his arrival in Baghdad. April 28, 2016. (AP)

The Iraqis are no exception and perhaps even a bit more vulnerable to the sanctions or blessings coming from the Oval Office, especially since America invaded their country seventeen years ago. They are right to fret.

It is the Iraqis’ misfortune to have their country squeezed between two long-time archenemies parading as two good neighbours while trying to ambush each other. Like it or not, we need to recognise that the White House occupant is the most capable of deterring them from harming Iraq or helping them do that.

Given Iraq’s current circumstances, and ever since the Americans handed the Iraqis’ necks over to the turbaned Iranian heads, the fate of Iraqis has been dependent on the wellbeing of the American GIs in Iraq. Only the latter can relieve the former of their afflictions, or make them worse.

The Iraqis are very much cognisant of the fact that Trump will not strike at the Iranian regime just for their sake, or out of love for their eyes, nor out of commitment to justice, freedom, peace or desire to do the right thing. And yet, they also know that his battle with his Democratic rivals has made his position on Iran and his opposition to its aggressive presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine his personal, most effective political weapon. And he definitely intends to use it to its fullest to embarrass and bring down his rivals who, throughout the terms of Barack Obama, were known for playing lovey-dovey with the vile Iranian, Muslim Brotherhood and Qatari currents. To this day, the Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Yemenis and Libyans are paying a heavy price of blood and fortune because of this.

If Trump is defeated and Obama returns in the clothes of his deputy, the one they call Joe Biden, there will be no force on earth that will deter the Iranian Velayat e-faqih or prevent it from monopolising power in Iraq, directly and completely, with the direct help of the infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their Iraqi counterparts, the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), using a lethal mixture of myths, germs and drugs. And that’s when every Iraqi who has chanted, “Out, out with Iran; A free, free Baghdad,” or denounced Iraqi Hezbollah’s missile attacks on US bases, or ridiculed the siege of the American Embassy in Baghdad, or made the mistake of invoking Allah’s mercy on Abu Bakr, Aisha, Omar and Othman, will be in for a special treat.

A Biden victory will launch a new episode of the American-Iranian romance. His administration will soon lift or reduce the sanctions against Iran and may even release its frozen assets in the US worth billions of dollars, and perhaps in Europe as well. That’s when Iran completely recovers its former capacity to finance its proxy armies of mayhem, kidnapping and embezzlement, and move them according to its plans.

When Joe Biden was just a senator for the state of Delaware in 2006, and not yet vice-president, he proposed dividing Iraq into three semi-autonomous entities for the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds.

Following his presidential victory in 2009, Obama made this same Biden vice-president and charged him with the Iraqi file. The latter stuck to his stupid, short-sighted and poisonous proposition for Iraq and happily became a close connection between his boss, Obama, and the Iranians in Iraq and their proxies and militias, openly and unabashedly.

Biden’s vision became reality in 2010, when he managed to impose Nuri al-Maliki as prime minister, despite the crimes the latter committed and the disasters he caused during his previous term as premier. Maliki made it possible for ISIS to invade and occupy one third of Iraq and, with Iran’s precious help, persecuted all Iraqis opposed to Velayat e-faqih.

Taking a cue from the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Biden sought to break up the Iraqi state into three semi-autonomous mini-states, in total disregard for the devastation and misery that such a plan would cause to the country and its people.

All political analysts and foreign affairs experts agreed that such a division was liable to lead to mass bloodshed in Iraq and the surrounding areas. It is true that while the majority of Sunni Arabs lived in western Iraq, the Kurds in the north, and the Shia in the south, the distinguishing characteristic of Iraq’s major cities is their multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-denominational population mixes. Whether in Baghdad, Kirkuk or Mosul, there were no demarcation lines between the three communities. They all lived together as one national entity.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Iraq’s President Barham Salih in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. (REUTERS)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Iraq’s President Barham Salih in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. (REUTERS)

In the 2016 US presidential election, God was on Iraq’s side. Joe Biden was defeated by Hillary Clinton and did not receive his party’s nomination for the presidency. Then both he and Clinton were kicked out of the race by the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Trump, then, had defeated the Democrats by running on a platform totally opposite to the Democrats, and he is fighting them now on an anti-Iran platform. He is relentless in besieging them by besieging Iran.

The question now is this: Can Trump survive the damage caused to his campaign by the COVID-19 crisis, or will he be unable to slip away safely once last time, as he has done many times before to survive the traps set for him by his Democratic opponents?

Biden, whom Trump likes to call “Sleepy Joe,” has also survived sexual harassment allegations, the row caused by his son Hunter’s relations with Ukraine and several trips to the hospital. Could it be possible that he will get a much needed boost from the COVID-19 pandemic and land in the Oval Office? That would really be a disaster for the Iraqis, God forbid.