17 June 2019
English Arabic

The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) warns of more attacks on Camp Liberty by the terrorist Quds Force and the teetering regime of Nouri al-Maliki. It calls on the US government, United Nations and the European Union actively to intervene to protect the Camp’s defenceless residents and to transfer them immediately to places of safety in the United States and Europe.
For the past two weeks, the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine has been preparing the grounds for a bloodbath at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad, by broadcasting false information claiming the imprisoned residents, who are members of the Iranian opposition PMOI/MEK movement, are actively cooperating with the ISIS insurgents.
On July 1, Abbas Al-Bayati, an Iraqi MP close to al-Maliki, claimed that MEK members in Europe have gone to Iraq to join IRIS and therefore the Iraqi government must take firm action.
On July 5, Awad Al-Awadi, another Iraqi MP close to the Iranian regime, described the “MEK joining with ISIS” posing a threat to the security of Iraq and requested that Interpol issue an arrest warrant for the leaders of the MEK.
On June 28, 29 and 30, media and websites run by the Iranian regime unanimously quoted “Iraqi intelligence sources” as saying, “120 MEK members from France and several European countries have entered Mosul via Turkey and are fighting alongside ISIS and the remnants of Saddam’s regime.”
These distortions become of acute concern at the news that al-Maliki’s plea to Tehran for urgent military support has been met by a demand from the Iranian mullahs for a reciprocal intensification of attacks on the residents in Camp Liberty.
At the same time, the Iraqi military commanders who participated in the repeated massacres which took place at Camp Ashraf, together with members of the security police and a number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members from the terrorist Quds Force have been deployed to a position directly adjacent to Camp Liberty. These forces are also ominously present in all surveillance towers around the Camp and have ordered the police to turn their BKC machineguns towards the residents inside the Camp.
These actions are all in direct violation of international treaties including the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Iraq and the United Nations regarding the residents of Camps Ashraf and Liberty. They also violate the written and repeated commitments of the United Nations and United States for the safety and security of the residents. The international community especially the United States and the United Nations are morally, politically and legally accountable for any harm inflicted on the Camp Liberty residents.

Struan Stevenson
President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

Published in Articles

 By Ali Khedery

Ali Khedery is chairman and chief executive of the Dubai-based Dragoman Partners. From 2003 to 2009, he was the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq, acting as a special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors and as a senior adviser to three heads of U.S. Central Command. In 2011, as an executive with Exxon Mobil, he negotiated the company’s entry into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

To understand why Iraq is imploding, you must understand Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — and why the United States has supported him since 2006.

I have known Maliki, or Abu Isra, as he is known to people close to him, for more than a decade. I have traveled across three continents with him. I know his family and his inner circle. When Maliki was an obscure member of parliament, I was among the very few Americans in Baghdad who took his phone calls. In 2006, I helped introduce him to the U.S. ambassador, recommending him as a promising option for prime minister. In 2008, I organized his medevac when he fell ill, and I accompanied him for treatment in London, spending 18 hours a day with him at Wellington Hospital. In 2009, I lobbied skeptical regional royals to support Maliki’s government.

By 2010, however, I was urging the vice president of the United States and the White House senior staff to withdraw their support for Maliki. I had come to realize that if he remained in office, he would create a divisive, despotic and sectarian government that would rip the country apart and devastate American interests.

America stuck by Maliki. As a result, we now face strategic defeat in Iraq and perhaps in the broader Middle East.
Finding a leader

Born in Tuwairij, a village outside the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, Abu Isra is the proud grandson of a tribal leader who helped end British colonial rule in the 1920s. Raised in a devout Shiite family, he grew to resent Sunni minority rule in Iraq, especially the secular but repressive Baath Party. Maliki joined the theocratic Dawa party as a young man, believing in its call to create a Shiite state in Iraq by any means necessary. After clashes between the secular Sunni, Shiite and Christian Baathists and Shiite Islamist groups, including Dawa, Saddam Hussein’s government banned the rival movements and made membership a capital offense.

Accused of being extensions of Iranian clerics and intelligence officers, thousands of Dawa party members were arrested, tortured and executed. Many of the mutilated bodies were never returned to their families. Among those killed were some of Maliki’s close relatives, forever shaping the psychology of the future premier.

Over a span of three decades, Maliki moved between Iran and Syria, where he organized covert operations against Hussein’s regime, eventually becoming chief of Iraq’s Dawa branch in Damascus. The party found a patron in Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic of Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when Iraq used Western-supplied chemical weapons, Tehran retaliated by using Shiite Islamist proxies such as Dawa to punish Hussein’s supporters. With Iran’s assistance, Dawa operatives bombed the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut in 1981 in one of radical Islam’s first suicide attacks. They also bombed the American and French embassies in Kuwait and schemed to kill the emir. Dozens of assassination plots against senior members of Hussein’s government, including the dictator himself, failed miserably, resulting in mass arrests and executions.

During the tumultuous months following America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, Maliki returned to his home country. He took a job advising future prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari and later, as a member of parliament, chaired the committee supporting the De-Baathification Commission, an organization privately celebrated by Shiite Islamists as a means of retribution and publicly decried by Sunnis as a tool of repression.

I volunteered to serve in Iraq after watching the tragedy of 9/11 from the Texas governor’s conference room. The son of Iraqi immigrants, I was dispatched to Baghdad by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for a three-month assignment that ultimately lasted almost a decade. As special assistant to Ambassador Patrick Kennedy and the Coalition Provisional Authority’s liaison to the Iraqi Governing Council, and as one of the few American officials there who spoke Arabic, I became the Iraqi leaders’ go-to guy for just about everything — U.S.-furnished weapons, cars, houses or the much-coveted Green Zone access passes.

After the formal U.S. occupation ended in 2004, I stayed in Baghdad to facilitate the transition to a “normalized” American diplomatic presence, and I often shared tea and stale biscuits with my Iraqi friends at the transitional parliament. One of those friends was Maliki. He would quiz me about American designs for the Middle East and cajole me for more Green Zone passes. These early days were exhausting but satisfying as Iraqis and Americans worked together to help the country rise from Hussein’s ashes.

Then disaster struck. During Jafari’s short tenure, ethno-sectarian tensions spiked catastrophically. With Hussein’s criminal excesses still fresh in their minds, Iraq’s new Shiite Islamist leaders concocted retribution schemes against Sunnis, resulting in horrifying episodes of torture, rape and other abuses. Displaced Baath Party members launched a bloody insurgency, while al-Qaeda recruited young men to stage suicide and car bombings, kidnappings, and other terrorist attacks in a bid to foment chaos.

After the February 2006 bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra, a sacred shrine for Shiite Islam’s 200 million adherents, Shiite Islamist leaders launched a ferocious counterattack, sparking a civil war that left tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead. Jafari initially refused American overtures to institute a curfew after al-Qaeda bombed Samarra, insisting that citizens needed to vent their frustrations — effectively sanctioning civil war and ethnic cleansing.

Washington decided that change at the top was essential. After the December 2005 parliamentary elections, U.S. Embassy officials combed the Iraqi elite for a leader who could crush the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, battle al-Qaeda, and unite Iraqis under the banner of nationalism and inclusive government. My colleague Jeffrey Beals and I were among the few Arabic-speaking Americans on good terms with the country’s leading figures. The only man we knew with any chance to win support from all Iraqi factions — and who seemed likely to be an effective leader — was Maliki. We argued that he would be acceptable to Iraq’s Shiite Islamists, around 50 percent of the population; that he was hard-working, decisive and largely free of corruption; and that he was politically weak and thus dependent on cooperating with other Iraqi leaders to hold together a coalition. Although Maliki’s history was known to be shadowy and violent, that was hardly unusual in the new Iraq.

With other colleagues, Beals and I hashed over the options with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who in turn encouraged Iraq’s skeptical but desperate national leaders to support Maliki. Leading a bloc with only a handful of parliamentarians, Maliki was initially surprised by the American entreaties, but he seized the opportunity, becoming prime minister on May 20, 2006.

He vowed to lead a strong, united Iraq.
‘There will be no Iraq’

Never having run anything beyond a violent, secretive Shiite Islamist political party, Maliki found his first years leading Iraq enormously challenging. He struggled with violence that killed thousands of Iraqis each month and displaced millions, a collapsing oil industry, and divided and corrupt political partners — as well as delegations from an increasingly impatient U.S. Congress. Maliki was the official ruler of Iraq, but with the surge of U.S. forces in 2007 and the arrival in Baghdad of Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, there was little doubt about who was actually keeping the Iraqi state from collapse.

Crocker and Petraeus met with the prime minister several hours a day, virtually every day, for nearly two years. Unlike his rivals, Maliki traveled little outside the country and routinely worked 16-hour days. We coordinated political, economic and military policies, seeking to overcome legislative obstacles and promote economic growth while pursuing al-Qaeda, Baathist spoilers and Shiite Islamist militias. As Crocker’s special assistant, my role was to help prepare him for and accompany him to meetings with Iraqi leaders, and I often served as his proxy when the Iraqis squabbled among themselves. The United States was compelled to mediate among the Iraqis because we felt that the country would become stable only with united and cohesive Iraqi leadership, backed by the use of force against violent extremists.

One of the biggest breakthroughs of this era was the Awakening movement, in which, thanks to long negotiations, Sunni Arab tribal and Baathist insurgents turned their guns away from U.S. troops and pointed them toward al-Qaeda, thereby reintegrating into the Iraqi political process. Initially hostile to the idea of arming and funding Sunni fighters, Maliki eventually relented after intense lobbying from Crocker and Petraeus, but only on the condition that Washington foot the bill. He later agreed to hire and fund some of the tribal fighters, but many of his promises to them went unmet — leaving them unemployed, bitter and again susceptible to radicalization.

Settling into power by 2008, and with the northern half of the nation becoming pacified, Maliki was growing into his job. He had weekly videoconferences with President George W. Bush. During these intimate gatherings, in which a small group of us sat quietly off screen, Maliki often complained of not having enough constitutional powers and of a hostile parliament, while Bush urged patience and remarked that dealing with the U.S. Congress wasn’t easy, either.

Over time, Maliki helped forge compromises with his political rivals and signed multibillion-dollar contracts with multinational companies to help modernize Iraq. Few of us had hope in Iraq’s future during the depths of the civil war, but a year after the surge began, the country seemed to be back on track.

Maliki didn’t always make things easy, however. Prone to conspiracy theories after decades of being hunted by Hussein’s intelligence services, he was convinced that his Shiite Islamist rival Moqtada al-Sadr was seeking to undermine him. So in March 2008, Maliki hopped into his motorcade and led an Iraqi army charge against Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Basra. With no planning, logistics, intelligence, air cover or political support from Iraq’s other leaders, Maliki picked a fight with an Iranian-backed militia that had stymied the U.S. military since 2003.

Locked in the ambassador’s office for several hours, Crocker, Petraeus, the general’s aide and I pored over the political and military options and worked the phones with Maliki and his ministers in Basra. We feared that Maliki’s field headquarters would be overrun and he’d be killed, an Iraqi tradition for seizing power. I dialed up Iraq’s Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab and Kurdish leaders so Crocker could urge them to publicly stand behind Maliki. Petraeus ordered an admiral to Basra to lead U.S. Special Operations forces against the Mahdi Army. For days, I received calls from Maliki’s special assistant, Gatah al-Rikabi, urging American airstrikes to level entire city blocks in Basra; I had to remind him that the U.S. military is not as indiscriminate with force as Maliki’s army is.

Although it was a close call, Maliki’s “Charge of the Knights” succeeded. For the first time in Iraq’s history, a Shiite Islamist premier had defeated an Iranian-backed Shiite Islamist militia. Maliki was welcomed in Baghdad and around the world as a patriotic nationalist, and he was showered with praise as he sought to liberate Baghdad’s Sadr City slum from the Mahdi Army just weeks later. During a meeting of the Iraqi National Security Council, attended by Crocker and Petraeus, Maliki blasted his generals, who wanted to take six months to prepare for the attack. “There will be no Iraq in six months!” I recall him saying.

Buoyed by his win in Basra, and with massive U.S. military assistance, Maliki led the charge to retake Sadr City, directing Iraqi army divisions over his mobile phone. Through an unprecedented fusion of American and Iraqi military and intelligence assets, dozens of Iranian-backed Shiite Islamist militant cells were eliminated within weeks. This was the true surge: a masterful civil-military campaign to allow space for Iraqi politicians to reunite by obliterating the Sunni and Shiite armed groups that had nearly driven the country into the abyss.
Maliki ascendant

By the closing months of 2008, successfully negotiating the terms for America’s continued commitment to Iraq became a top White House imperative. But desperation to seal a deal before Bush left office, along with the collapse of the world economy, weakened our hand.

In an ascendant position, Maliki and his aides demanded everything in exchange for virtually nothing. They cajoled the United States into a bad deal that granted Iraq continued support while giving America little more than the privilege of pouring more resources into a bottomless pit. In retrospect, I imagine the sight of American officials pleading with him only fed Maliki’s ego further. After organizing Bush’s final trip to Iraq — where he was attacked with a pair of shoes at Maliki’s news conference celebrating the signing of the bilateral agreements — I left Baghdad with Crocker on Feb. 13, 2009. After more than 2,000 days of service, I was ill, depleted physically and mentally, but hopeful that America’s enormous sacrifices might have produced a positive outcome.

With the Obama administration vowing to end Bush’s “dumb war,” and the continued distraction of the global economic crisis, Maliki seized an opportunity. He began a systematic campaign to destroy the Iraqi state and replace it with his private office and his political party. He sacked professional generals and replaced them with those personally loyal to him. He coerced Iraq’s chief justice to bar some of his rivals from participating in the elections in March 2010. After the results were announced and Maliki lost to a moderate, pro-Western coalition encompassing all of Iraq’s major ethno-sectarian groups, the judge issued a ruling that awarded Maliki the first chance to form a government, ushering in more tensions and violence.

This was happening amid a leadership vacuum at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. After two months without an ambassador, Crocker’s replacement had arrived in April 2009 while I settled into a new assignment shuttling across Middle East capitals with Petraeus, the new head of U.S. Central Command. But reports from Iraqi and U.S. officials in Baghdad were worrisome. While American troops bled and the global economic crisis flared, the embassy undertook an expensive campaign to landscape the grounds and commission a bar and a soccer field, complementing the existing Olympic-size indoor swimming pool, basketball court, tennis courts and softball field at our billion-dollar embassy. I routinely received complaints from Iraqi and U.S. officials that morale at the embassy was plummeting and that relations between America’s diplomatic and military leadership — so strong in the Crocker-Petraeus era, and so crucial to curtailing Maliki’s worst tendencies and keeping the Iraqis moving forward — had collapsed. Maliki’s police state grew stronger by the day.

In a meeting in Baghdad with a Petraeus-hosted delegation of Council on Foreign Relations members shortly after the 2010 elections, Maliki insisted that the vote had been rigged by the United States, Britain, the United Nations and Saudi Arabia. As we shuffled out of the prime minister’s suite, one stunned executive, the father of an American Marine, turned to me and asked, “American troops are dying to keep that son of a b---- in power?”

With the political crisis dragging on for months, a new ambassador for whom I had worked previously, James Jeffrey, asked me to return to Baghdad to help mediate among the Iraqi factions. Even then, in August 2010, I was shocked that much of the surge’s success had been squandered by Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. Kurds asked how they could justify remaining part of a dysfunctional Iraq that had killed hundreds of thousands of their people since the 1980s. Sunni Arabs — who had overcome internal divisions to form the secular Iraqiya coalition with like-minded Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians — were outraged at being asked to abdicate the premiership after pummeling al-Qaeda and winning the elections. Even Shiite Islamist leaders privately expressed discomfort with Iraq’s trajectory under Maliki, with Sadr openly calling him a “tyrant.” Worst of all, perhaps, the United States was no longer seen as an honest broker.

After helping to bring him to power in 2006, I argued in 2010 that Maliki had to go. I felt guilty lobbying against my friend Abu Isra, but this was not personal. Vital U.S. interests were on the line. Thousands of American and Iraqi lives had been lost and trillions of dollars had been spent to help advance our national security, not the ambitions of one man or one party. The constitutional process had to be safeguarded, and we needed a sophisticated, unifying, economics-minded leader to rebuild Iraq after the security-focused Maliki crushed the militias and al-Qaeda.

In conversations with visiting White House senior staff members, the ambassador, the generals and other colleagues, I suggested Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi as a successor. A former Baathist, moderate Shiite Islamist and French-educated economist who had served as finance minister, Abdul Mahdi maintained excellent relations with Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds as well as with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

On Sept. 1, 2010, Vice President Biden was in Baghdad for the change-of-command ceremony that would see the departure of Gen. Ray Odierno and the arrival of Gen. Lloyd Austin as commander of U.S. forces. That night, at a dinner at the ambassador’s residence that included Biden, his staff, the generals and senior embassy officials, I made a brief but impassioned argument against Maliki and for the need to respect the constitutional process. But the vice president said Maliki was the only option. Indeed, the following month he would tell top U.S. officials, “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” referring to the status-of-forces agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past 2011.

I was not the only official who made a case against Abu Isra. Even before my return to Baghdad, officials including Deputy U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, Odierno, British Ambassador Sir John Jenkins and Turkish Ambassador Murat Özçelik each lobbied strenuously against Maliki, locking horns with the White House, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill and Maliki’s most ardent supporter, future deputy assistant secretary of state Brett McGurk. Now, with Austin in the Maliki camp as well, we remained at an impasse, principally because the Iraqi leaders were divided, unable to agree on Maliki or, maddeningly, on an alternative.

Our debates mattered little, however, because the most powerful man in Iraq and the Middle East, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, was about to resolve the crisis for us. Within days of Biden’s visit to Baghdad, Soleimani summoned Iraq’s leaders to Tehran. Beholden to him after decades of receiving Iran’s cash and support, the Iraqis recognized that U.S. influence in Iraq was waning as Iranian influence was surging. The Americans will leave you one day, but we will always remain your neighbors, Soleimani said, according to a former Iraqi official briefed on the meeting.

After admonishing the feuding Iraqis to work together, Soleimani dictated the outcome on behalf of Iran’s supreme leader: Maliki would remain premier; Jalal Talabani, a legendary Kurdish guerilla with decades-long ties to Iran, would remain president; and, most important, the American military would be made to leave at the end of 2011. Those Iraqi leaders who cooperated, Soleimani said, would continue to benefit from Iran’s political cover and cash payments, but those who defied the will of the Islamic Republic would suffer the most dire of consequences.
Washington’s choice

I was determined not to let an Iranian general who had murdered countless American troops dictate the endgame for the United States in Iraq. By October, I was pleading with Ambassador Jeffrey to take steps to avert this outcome. I said that Iran was intent on forcing the United States out of Iraq in humiliation and that a divisive, sectarian government in Baghdad headed by Maliki would almost certainly lead to another civil war and then an all-out regional conflict. This might be averted if we rebuffed Iran by forming a unity government around a nationalist alternative such as Abdul Mahdi. It would be extremely difficult, I acknowledged, but with 50,000 troops still on the ground, the United States remained a powerful player. The alternative was strategic defeat in Iraq and the Middle East writ large. To my surprise, the ambassador shared my concerns with the White House senior staff, asking that they be relayed to the president and vice president, as well as the administration’s top national security officials.

Desperate to avert calamity, I used every bit of my political capital to arrange a meeting for Jeffrey and Antony Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser and senior Iraq aide, with one of Iraq’s top grand ayatollahs. Using uncharacteristically blunt language, the Shiite cleric said he believed that Ayad Allawi, who had served as an interim prime minister in 2004-05, and Abdul Mahdi were the only Shiite leaders capable of uniting Iraq. Maliki, he said, was the prime minister of the Dawa party, not of Iraq, and would drive the country to ruin.

But all the lobbying was for naught. By November, the White House had settled on its disastrous Iraq strategy. The Iraqi constitutional process and election results would be ignored, and America would throw its full support behind Maliki. Washington would try to move Talabani aside and install Allawi as a consolation prize to the Iraqiya coalition.

The next day, I appealed again to Blinken, Jeffrey, Austin, my embassy colleagues and my bosses at Central Command, Gen. Jim Mattis and Gen. John Allen, and warned that we were making a mistake of historic proportions. I argued that Maliki would continue to consolidate power with political purges against his rivals; Talabani would never step aside after fighting Hussein for decades and taking his chair; and the Sunnis would revolt again if they saw that we betrayed our promises to stand by them after the Awakening’s defeat of al-Qaeda.

Mattis and Allen were sympathetic, but the Maliki supporters were unmoved. The ambassador dispatched me to Jordan to meet with a council of Iraq’s top Sunni leaders, with the message that they needed to join Maliki’s government. The response was as I expected. They would join the government in Baghdad, they said, but they would not allow Iraq to be ruled by Iran and its proxies. They would not live under a Shiite theocracy and accept continued marginalization under Maliki. After turning their arms against al-Qaeda during the Awakening, they now wanted their share in the new Iraq, not to be treated as second-class citizens. If that did not happen, they warned, they would take up arms again.

Catastrophe followed. Talabani rebuffed White House appeals to step down and instead turned to Iran for survival. With instructions from Tehran, Maliki began to form a cabinet around some of Iran’s favorite men in Iraq. Hadi al-Amiri, the notorious Badr Brigade commander, became transportation minister, controlling strategically sensitive sea, air and land ports. Khudair Khuzaie became vice president, later serving as acting president. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Dawa party mastermind behind the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait in 1983, became an adviser to Maliki and his neighbor in the Green Zone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Sadrist detainees were released. And Maliki purged the National Intelligence Service of its Iran division, gutting the Iraqi government’s ability to monitor and check its neighboring foe.

America’s Iraq policy was soon in tatters. Outraged by what it perceived as American betrayal, the Iraqiya bloc fractured along ethno-sectarian lines, with leaders scrambling for government positions, lest they be frozen out of Iraq’s lucrative patronage system. Rather than taking 30 days to try to form a government, per the Iraqi constitution, the Sunni Arab leaders settled for impressive-sounding posts with little authority. Within a short span, Maliki’s police state effectively purged most of them from politics, parking American-supplied M1A1 tanks outside the Sunni leaders’ homes before arresting them. Within hours of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in December 2011, Maliki sought the arrest of his longtime rival Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, eventually sentencing him to death in absentia. The purge of Finance Minister Rafea al-Essawi followed a year later.

Maliki never appointed a permanent, parliament-confirmed interior minister, nor a defense minister, nor an intelligence chief. Instead, he took the positions for himself. He also broke nearly every promise he made to share power with his political rivals after they voted him back into office through parliament in late 2010.

He also abrogated the pledges he made to the United States. Per Iran’s instructions, he did not move forcefully at the end of 2011 to renew the Security Agreement , which would have permitted American combat troops to remain in Iraq. He did not dissolve his Office of the Commander in Chief, the entity he has used to bypass the military chain of command by making all commanders report to him. He did not relinquish control of the U.S.-trained Iraqi counterterrorism and SWAT forces, wielding them as a praetorian guard. He did not dismantle the secret intelligence organizations, prisons and torture facilities with which he has bludgeoned his rivals. He did not abide by a law imposing term limits, again calling upon kangaroo courts to issue a favorable ruling. And he still has not issued a new and comprehensive amnesty that would have helped quell unrest from previously violent Shiite and Sunni Arab factions that were gradually integrating into politics.

In short, Maliki’s one-man, one-Dawa-party Iraq looks a lot like Hussein’s one-man, one-Baath Party Iraq. But at least Hussein helped contain a strategic American enemy: Iran. And Washington didn’t spend $1 trillion propping him up. There is not much “democracy” left if one man and one party with close links to Iran control the judiciary, police, army, intelligence services, oil revenue, treasury and the central bank. Under these circumstances, renewed ethno-sectarian civil war in Iraq was not a possibility. It was a certainty.

I resigned in protest on Dec. 31, 2010. And now, with the United States again becoming entangled in Iraq, I feel a civic and moral obligation to explain how we reached this predicament.

The crisis now gripping Iraq and the Middle East was not only predictable but predicted — and preventable. By looking the other way and unconditionally supporting and arming Maliki, President Obama has only lengthened and expanded the conflict that President Bush unwisely initiated. Iraq is now a failed state, and as countries across the Middle East fracture along ethno-sectarian lines, America is likely to emerge as one of the biggest losers of the new Sunni-Shiite holy war, with allies collapsing and radicals plotting another 9/11.

Maliki’s most ardent American supporters ignored the warning signs and stood by as an Iranian general decided Iraq’s fate in 2010. Ironically, these same officials are now scrambling to save Iraq, yet are refusing to publicly condemn Maliki’s abuses and are providing him with arms that he can use to wage war against his political rivals.

Published in Articles

On 24 June, Bashar Assad’s army jet fighters bombed the Iraqi city of Qaem (near the Syrian border), the city of Rutba (150 km from Syrian border) and the western areas of Mosul, which had fallen out of Maliki’s forces’ control in recent days. As a result many civilians were brutally murdered in public places such as the bazaar and gas station. While during the past two years, Bashar Assad has never bombed ISIS bases in Syria and his aerial strikes have always targeted innocent civilians and opposition groups, now under the name of bombing ISIS, innocent Iraqi citizens are being slaughtered. This clearly shows how baseless the claim of fighting against terrorism and ISIS is.

Coincidently, on the days of 24 and 25 June, Iraqi forces bombed the city of Beiji in the Salahaddin Province killing at least 100 civilians and injuring many more. Most of the city’s inhabitants were forced to flee the city. The brutal death of 69 people outside the city of Hilla and the murder of 52 inmates in the Baquba Prison by government forces, are other crimes carried out by Maliki who is desperately trying to keep his post as prime minister.

According to a report by CNN, the governor of Baquba claimed that the prisoners were killed by ISIS, yet hospital personnel and other Baquba officials say that the inmates were killed by their prison guards. Al-Taqeer TV said on 20 June: “The Governor of Diyala revealed that the Vahdat Prison management in Baquba was involved in the physical annihilation of 52 inmates. He said that the only survivor of this incident has said that the inmates were fired upon by prison guards and denied that mortars had been fired on the prison. The governor said that after this testimony, the inmate was abducted from the hospital and murdered.”

ISIS is a terrorist and extremist group who has taken advantage of the current situation in Iraq to position its forces in various areas of the country. According to many accounts, the actions of this group have to this date been in favour of the Iranian regime and Bashar Assad. France’s President Francois Hollande spoke of relations between ISIS and the Assad regime on 20 June. However, falsely relating the Iraqi people’s revolt, which in the past two weeks has liberated half of Iraq’s territories with a population of 10 million people, with this terrorist group follows two purposes. First, legitimizing the killing of civilians and entrance of IRGC and the Quds Force; and second, once again bringing the US back into Iraq.

The leaders of the uprising have from June 10th to this day stipulated time and again that they have no relations with ISIS and strongly condemn it. They made it clear what is taking place in Iraq is not a Shiite or a Sunni war, but a war between the Iraqi people and Maliki and the Iranian regime. They said they don’t intend to occupy Baghdad, but they want to oust Maliki and if they are going to Baghdad it is because Maliki intends to usurp his prime ministerial office with the Quds Force so that he can continue killing Iraqi citizens.

The Association of Muslim Scholars led by Sheikh Hareth al-Zari, who plays an important role in the developments, said on June 12th: “We want to stop cruelty against all Iraqis. We recognize no difference between religions…because any kind of discrimination against religious minorities must be lifted and they must be protected… our motto is forgiveness. Criminals must be handed over to a judiciary that is not sectarian or politically motivated like Maliki’s judiciary.”

Sheikh Ali Hatam, one of the most prominent Iraqi tribal sheikhs, has issued numerous statements and conducted many interviews with Arab and Western media outlets saying, “ISIS is fabricated by Iran. Before God and the people of the world, we are completely against ISIS. Our fundamental goal is to destroy Maliki’s autocracy, and then we can fight again ISIS as we have done so before.”

The General Military Council of Revolutionaries, consisting of senior army officers, has announced, “This revolution is not an ISIS revolution. It is a tribal revolution that has risen against cruelty. This is the new Iraqi spring and it has nothing to do with terrorism. We oppose any actions against human rights, and we condemn anyone that carries out such actions. We don’t even carry out such actions against our enemies. We want an Iraq that enjoys its riches. A democratic Iraq with a government ruling over the people, chosen by the people, and that protects Iraq’s unity.”

The Iranian regime and Maliki, its puppet prime minister, are the main problems in Iraq that have led the country into destruction, civil war and sectarianism. As we had announced prior to this, setting Maliki aside, evicting the Iranian regime, forming an inclusive national reconciliation government and carrying out elections under UN supervision are the only solutions to this crisis, and this is the will of the Iraqi people.

While there is an Iraqi and international consensus that Maliki must go, on June 25th he audaciously said the national reconciliation government is a coup d’état against the constitution, going on to emphasize his right to retain the post of Prime Minister. Any solution for this matter lies in ousting Maliki. Therefore, the US, EU and UN must stop all their aid to Maliki's government and not allow him to use Western support to further prolong the war and massacres in Iraq.


STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP
President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association

Published in Articles

Some Senators Say Prime Minister May Need to Be Replaced as Part of Crisis Resolution

WASHINGTON—U.S. lawmakers Tuesday expressed frustration with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid the growing sectarian violence in Iraq, suggesting he may need to be replaced as part of any resolution to the crisis.

Lawmakers said President Barack Obama's decision to bolster the U.S. embassy in Baghdad with 275 additional troops was appropriate, but said the administration needed to explain its strategy to respond to Sunni militants' takeover of a number of Iraqi regions.

"My concern is whether we're going to do anything besides send a few extra Marines, which won't do anything," Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) told reporters Tuesday morning.

Mr. McCain added that the U.S. should send emissaries to Baghdad to "work with Maliki and tell him he's got to step down and have a coalition government."

Mr. Maliki, who has held his position since 2006, has come under increasing international pressure to quell the sectarian conflict. His government has been accused by Sunni and Kurdish politicians of fanning tensions between rival ethnic and religious groups by favoring hard-line Shiite officials.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "Yes I do," when asked whether she thinks Mr. Mailiki needs to be replaced.

The Iraqi government has begun taking steps to respond to the sweep of militants across the country, with forces loyal to Mr. Maliki moving Tuesday to repel an attempt to capture a strategic province roughly 40 miles from Baghdad.

U.S. lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have been calling on the White House to more aggressively respond to the crisis. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said the violence wouldn't have spread so quickly if a residual NATO force had been present in the country.

"The question is whether air strikes would work," Ms. Collins said.

Mr. McCain said the U.S. should definitely conduct air strikes on militants, as well as have "a few boots on the ground" including, potentially, special-forces troops.

"So far we've done nothing of any significance to change the momentum of these people who are taking over large portions of Iraq," Mr. McCain said.

By Michael R. Crittenden, Updated June 17, 2014 2:06 p.m. ET
http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-lawmakers-express-frustration-with-iraqs-maliki-1403027784

Published in News

BAGHDAD (AP) — With the country in turmoil، rivals of Iraq`s Shiite prime minister are mounting a campaign to force him out of office، with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights.

On Thursday، their effort received a massive boost from President Barack Obama.

The U.S. leader stopped short of calling of calling for Nouri al-Maliki to resign، saying "it`s not our job to choose Iraq`s leaders." 

But، his carefully worded comments did all but that."Only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis،" Obama declared at the White House.

"We`ve said publicly، that whether he (al-Maliki) is prime minister or any other leader aspires to lead the country، that there has to be an agenda in which Sunni، Shiite and Kurd all feel that they have the opportunity to advance their interest through the political process،" the president said.

An "inclusive agenda" has not been high on the priorities of al-Maliki، whose credibility as an able leader suffered a serious setback when Sunni militants of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched a lightning offensive last week that swallowed up a large chunk of northern Iraq، together with the nation`s second city، Mosul.

Al-Maliki، who rose from relative obscurity to office in 2006، when Iraq`s sectarian bloodletting began to spiral out of control، quickly became known for a tough hand، working in alliance with American forces in the country since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Over the years that followed، Sunni tribes backed by the Americans rose up to fight al-Qaida-linked militants، while al-Maliki showed a readiness to rein in Shiite militiamen — and by 2008، the violence had eased.Since the withdrawal of American forces in late 2011، however، it has swelled again، stoked in part by al-Maliki himself.

The Iraqi leader`s moves last year to crush protests by Sunnis complaining of discrimination under his Shiite-led government sparked a new wave of violence by militants، who took over the city of Fallujah in the western، Sunni-dominated province of Anbar and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.

Iraqi army and police forces battling them for months have been unable to take most areas back.At the same time، many Iraqis complain of government corruption، the failure to rebuild the economy and too close ties with mostly Shiite Iran، a non-Arab nation that Sunni Arab states، including powerhouse Saudi Arabia، see as a threat to regional stability.

Shiite politicians familiar with the secretive efforts to remove al-Maliki said two names mentioned as possible replacements are former vice president Adel Abdul-Mahdi، a French-educated economist who is also a Shiite، and Ayad Allawi، a secular Shiite who served as Iraq`s first prime minister after Saddam`s ouster.

Al-Mahdi belongs to a moderate Shiite party، the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council، which has close links with Iran.

Also lobbying for the job is Ahmad Chalabi، a Shiite lawmaker who recently joined the Supreme Council and was once a favorite by Washington to lead Iraq a decade ago.

Another Shiite from the Supreme Council who is trying to land the job is Bayan Jabr، a former finance and interior minister under al-Maliki`s tenure، according to the politicians، who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

An Iraqi Shiite lawmaker، Hakim al-Zamili، said he was aware of a meeting in recent days between Iraqi political leaders and U.S. officials over the issue of al-Maliki`s future، though he did not know who attended the meeting.

Al-Zamili belongs to a political bloc loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr، who has publicly demanded that al-Maliki be replaced.

But، he said، efforts to replace al-Maliki should come only after Iraqi security forces beat back the Sunni militants.

"My view is that safeguarding Iraq is now our top priority،" al-Zamili said. "We will settle the accounts later."

Mohammed al-Khaldi، a top aide to outgoing Sunni speaker of parliament، Osama al-Nujaifi، said: "We have asked the Americans، Britain، Turkey، Saudi Arabia and Iran to work toward denying al-Maliki a new term. 

The Shiite bloc must find a replacement for him."

A leading Sunni tribal chief also said al-Maliki has to go."I think that most of Obama`s speech، but not all of it، it was shallow and didn`t address the heart of the matter،" Sheik Ali Hatem al-Suleiman told The Associated Press in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil.

"The real problem in Iraq is al-Maliki himself.""U.S. policy cannot rely on a paralyzed man who has lost control of Iraq، when he is the one who took Iraq to this point."

Besides the Sunnis and Shiites، al-Maliki`s former Kurdish allies have also been clamoring to deny him a third term in office، charging that he has excluded them from a decision-making circle of close confidants and is meddling in the affairs of their self-rule enclave in the north."We wanted him to go، but after what happened last week، we want it even more،" said Mahmoud Othman، a veteran Kurdish politician.Massoud Barzani، the president of the Kurdish region، put the case against al-Maliki much more emphatically.

Without mentioning the prime minister by name، he said al-Maliki had discarded his counsel and he alone now "takes direct responsibility for what happened to Iraq."

Al-Maliki، who has long faced criticism for not making his government more inclusive، has been adopting conciliatory language in recent days toward Sunnis and Kurds. 

He said the militant threat affects all Iraqis، regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation، and called on Iraqis to drop all "Sunnis and Shiites" talk. 

The ongoing crisis، al-Maliki said، had made Iraqis rediscover "national unity."The pro-al-Maliki media also made a show of a meeting Tuesday night between the Iraqi leader and Shiite، Sunni and Kurdish political leaders.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said they agreed to set aside differences and focus on "national priorities" and warned against rhetoric that could potentially stoke sectarian tensions.

In a reference to street parades by armed Shiite militias، it also condemned any armed displays not authorized by the government.

Despite the conciliatory words، al-Maliki is not known to have made any concrete offers to bridge differences with the Sunnis، the Kurds or even his fellow Shiites.

Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad، Diaa Hadid in Irbil، Iraq، and Lara Jakes and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.

Published in News

For years, U.S. officials have debated in meetings and in classified cables whether Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a uniter or a divider.

Now, events may have provided the answer.

President Barack Obama declined to endorse Maliki yesterday, saying that “the test is before him and other Iraqi leaders.” The Shiite leader has been told that his country’s Sunni and Kurd minorities must “feel that they have the opportunity to advance their interest through the political process,” Obama said at a White House news conference.

The U.S. has invested heavily in Maliki over the years, looking for him to rise above his background as a leader of the Islamic Daawa Party -- going back to when the Shiite group was outlawed under Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein -- to become a national authority capable of running an inclusive government. Now, the U.S. is signaling it’s open to a leadership change.

Iraq has been driven to its current state of turmoil by “a whole variety of actions by a variety of different Iraqi leaders, but first and foremost among them Prime Minister Maliki,” said Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington. Maliki’s consolidation of power, including purging Sunnis from the military and arbitrary actions favoring Shiites, alienated Iraqi minorities, he said.


‘Emerging Strongman?’

Maliki first became prime minister following parliamentary elections in December 2005. The U.S., seeking stability and continuity, backed him for a second term after the 2010 elections in which a coalition led by rival Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite allied with Sunni factions, won more seats in parliament.

“The Obama administration backed a second Maliki term while demanding that Maliki form a government inclusive of Sunni leaders,” according to a May 2014 report on Iraq by the Congressional Research Service.

American uncertainty about Maliki’s intentions was captured in the title of a classified 2009 assessment from Ryan Crocker, who was U.S. ambassador to Iraq at the time: “PM Maliki: Strengthening Center or Emerging Strongman?”

The report opted ultimately for optimism, saying “the answer lies closer” to the first description.

The report made public by WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy group that publishes leaked documents on its website, said that Sunni and Kurdish politicians -- some calling Maliki a “new Saddam” -- see him as an “aspiring strongman bent on imposing a classic Arab autocracy.”

 

‘National’ Conduct

While Maliki’s thinking and actions “are undoubtedly informed by the Shi’a experience, he himself sees his conduct as national rather than sectarian-inspired,” Crocker wrote.

Crocker, who’s now dean of the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, didn’t respond to phone and e-mail messages yesterday, and the State Department said it declines to comment on documents purporting to contain classified information.

The U.S. continued to have many reasons for pause about Maliki. An embassy report in February 2010, also posted by WikiLeaks, said Maliki was removing Sunnis who were Defense or Interior ministry intelligence officers and replacing them with “Daawa party political officers who lack intelligence and related backgrounds.”

Maliki made similar moves against the judiciary, the central bank and other institutions with power.

 

U.S. Troops

He effectively blocked any agreement that would have the U.S. maintain a residual training and counterterrorism force in Iraq after December 2011. When the issue was first discussed late in President George W. Bush’s administration, Maliki didn’t want a deal, according to John Negroponte, who was deputy secretary of state at the time.

“Maliki didn’t want one because I think he felt it carried too much political freight for him inside his own country,” Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq in 2004 to 2005, said in an interview June 13 for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.”

As a result, Bush left the issue for the Obama administration to deal with, he said, and no accord was reached.

Maliki’s actions, particularly since U.S. ground troops left, have alarmed U.S. officials, even as they continued to offer many supportive remarks publicly.

Amid the departure of U.S. troops in December 2011, Maliki met with Obama at the White House, where the American president praised the Iraqi’s “leadership” at that “historic moment.”

 

‘Good Basis’

At the end of 2011, the Iraqis “did have a pretty good basis for moving forward,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a defense and foreign policy analyst, who appeared with Pollack at a Brookings panel discussion

“We struggled very hard -- we put in a lot of money, a lot of American lives, a lot of high-level attention -- and I believe that the Iraqi political system writ large squandered the opportunity,” he said. “Now the blame within that is primarily Mr. Maliki.”

With U.S. influence reduced, Maliki stepped up his efforts to consolidate control and strengthen Shiite dominance. A week after Maliki met with Obama, the Iraqi government announced an arrest warrant against Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a major Sunni figure, for allegedly ordering his security staff to commit acts of assassination.

Al-Hashimi fled to the autonomous Kurdish area of Iraq. An Iraqi court in September 2012 sentenced him to death in absentia on terrorism charges.

 

Death Sentence

Such moves “cast doubt on President Obama’s assertion, marking the U.S. withdrawal, that Iraq is now ‘sovereign, stable, and self-reliant,’” according to the CRS report. In addition to cracking down on Sunni leaders, arresting some and curtailing patronage, Maliki purged Sunni military personnel and others in the U.S.-trained and equipped security services, prompting critics to refer to the forces as “Maliki’s militia,” according to Pollack.

By the time U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Baghdad in March 2013, officials were growing more concerned by Maliki’s actions, senior State Department officials said at the time. Kerry sought to press Maliki to hold talks with Sunni and Kurdish officials to end discord between the country’s sectarian groups.

Last November, when Maliki visited the White House, Obama publicly praised him for showing a “commitment” to ensuring an “inclusive and democratic” Iraq.

By contrast, Obama said yesterday that, especially over the last two years, there’s been a “sense among Sunnis that their interests were not being served.”

 

Too Late

With Iraq sliding into a sectarian civil war, the issue for Obama and his foreign policy team is whether to try to prevent Maliki from keeping his post in a new government following April’s parliamentary elections in which his Shiite coalition won the most seats.

The New York Times reported that the U.S. was actively encouraging the Shiites, the majority group in Iraq, to replace Maliki. At least three other Shiite officials have emerged as possible successors, the Times reported yesterday from Baghdad.

It’s now too late for reconciliation under Maliki, said Samir Sumaida’ie, Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2006 to 2012.

“My own view, as well as the view of many Sunni and Shia, is that this prime minister has done enough damage,” he said in an interview. “It’s time for him to go.”

That may be easier said than done, said Henri Barkey, a scholar on Iraq at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said this week.

Pushing Maliki aside wouldn’t be easy, Barkey said, since “everything we know of Maliki is that he is a very stubborn man who wants to stay on.” 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-19/maliki-proves-losing-bet-for-u-s-as-iraq-s-unifier.html

Published in Articles

At a time that the international community has broadly concluded that the removal of Maliki and the establishment of an inclusive nationalist government is the only solution to Iraq's present crisis, the Iranian regime has summoned all its might to save him.

1. The U.S. government has acknowledged that Maliki himself is the main cause of the current crisis. 
AP reported that on June 19 those who were working to remove Maliki from power "received a massive boost from President Barack Obama. The U.S. leader stopped short of calling for Nouri al-Maliki to resign, saying ‘it`s not our job to choose Iraq`s leaders’. But, his carefully worded comments did all but that. ‘Only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis,’ Obama declared at the White House." 
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking at a senate hearing on June 18, said: “This current government in Iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a unity government together with the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Shia”. And General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the hearing, “he is disappointed by the siege of the militants in Iraq… Iraq's leaders failed to unite for the good of their people”.
The White House spokesman Jay Carney said on the same day that Maliki had not done enough “to govern inclusively and that has contributed to the situation and the crisis that we have today in Iraq”.
2. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told CNN on June 18: “Maliki forced out a lot of the commanders who were the most able commanders….. I know that the commander of the Quds Force is in Baghdad right now, meeting with Maliki and his advisers and supporters. They want to do for him what they did for Assad, namely… to envelop Maliki in the Iranian embrace, maybe even use their own troops in Iraq, as they did in Syria.”
3. Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said on June 20 that France is hoping to see a nationalist unity government in Iraq which may be formed with or without Nouri al Maliki who has not only refused to unify with the Sunni groups, but has prosecuted them as well.
4. This same perception prevails in the U.S. House and Senate that as long as Maliki is in power this crisis can only deepen. 
Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Defense Secretary: “The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation”.
And Senator McCain (R-AZ) urged Obama to “make it very clear to Maliki that his time is up”.
5. United States generals who have been involved in Iraq since 2003 offer the same opinion. General Petraeus, former Director of the CIA and former Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, endorsed the need for “a government of all the people that is representative of, and responsive to, all elements of Iraq” and said, “This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shiite militias, or a Shiite on Sunni Arab fight.”
General Garner, the first civil governor of Iraq after the occupation of that country said, “we turned our backs on the Sunnis, who helped us in 2007-2008. Then we backed Maliki in 2010 with full knowledge that he's going to disenfranchise the Kurds, persecute the Sunnis and was really a puppet of the Iranians”
6. Countries in the region are also on the same page looking at the situation. Reuters reported on June 16: 
“In the government statement, Riyadh said it was necessary to ‘preserve Iraq's sovereignty’ and rejected any outside interference in Baghdad's internal affairs. It also urged the ‘quick formation of a national consensus government’. The crisis ‘would not have happened if it wasn't for the sectarian and exclusionary policies that were practiced in Iraq in past years and which threatened its security, stability and sovereignty’, official news agency SPA cited Information Minister Abdulaziz Khoja as saying.
“Earlier on Monday, Qatar's foreign minister blamed the ‘narrow’ Shiite sectarianism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government in Baghdad for the crisis.
“On June 18th King Abdullah of Jordan highlighted, ‘the necessity to preserve the unity and stability of Iraq through a political process comprising all the components of the Iraqi people without exception".
7. Iraqi leaders also emphasize the same facts. Ayatollah Sistani, the Shia supreme religious leader, criticized Maliki for the first time and through his representative on June 20 and called for “the formation of an active government that enjoys widespread national support to correct the past mistakes and open a new horizon to all Iraqi people for a better future”. 
President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani stated on June 18: “For a long time I have been warning that the situation in Iraq is on the edge of a precipice due to the flawed and exclusionary policies of those who have taken over all power in Baghdad. And presently these same people are directly responsible for this situation. … Since 2003 we have been against driving the Sunnis to the sidelines.” 
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told VOA: “We need to establish a national unity government; a government to rebuild; a government that has a two-fold responsibility. First, an immediate reconciliation in the country… Second, the establishment of non-sectarian institutions to be eventually transformed into a credible government that would encompass all Iraqis irrespective of their religious beliefs and their ethnic backgrounds… Regretfully, U.S. surrendered Iraq to Iran. In 2010, the United States and Iran were against the winner of the elections to form the government which was the Iraqiya Party -- composed of Shiites and Sunnis. There we had a real opportunity but we missed it.”
8. In such conditions, the Iranian regime is doing its outmost politically and militarily to save Maliki. Ali Akbar Velayatee - the advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told VOA on June 20: “Iran has offered assistance to Iraq. Any assistance that Nouri al Maliki’s government, as the lawful representative of Iraq, would request, we shall oblige without any restrictions… Iran trained the Syrian army and can do the same in Iraq.” Velayatee said that he has known Maliki for 30 years and that compared to others, he is the most capable leader in Iraq and as such all groups ought to help him out.
9. Khamenei has ordered the terrorist Qods Force to employ its command resources for the suppression of the Iraqi people and to save the Iraqi prime minister. Khamenei has stated that hegemony over Iraq is of strategic importance for Iran and that the governance of a ‘Shiite government’ in that country plays a decisive role in the survival of his regime and that the “defeat of Maliki will be a strategic setback for the Islamic Republic system”.
Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of the notorious Qods Force, together with 200 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers of various ranks, are stationed in Iraq to supervise the developments up close. These elements, along with the Iranian regime’s Iraqi paid hands such as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’eb Hezbollah, are inspecting different places in Diyala and Salahaddin. 
Previously, we have stated time and again that the Iranian regime and its puppet prime minister Maliki, are the main sources of the problems in Iraq and through genocide of the Sunnis, the barbaric suppression of dissidents and prevalent state corruption, have left the country in ruins and are pushing it to an internal sectarian war. We also constantly reminded that any election conducted by Maliki would be neither free nor fair. We had called for ending the meddling of the Iranian regime in Iraq, the removal of Maliki from power, the formation of an inclusive government, and the holding of elections under UN supervision. This had been the will of the Iraqi people for a long time and it has been regrettably ignored. Now that it is abundantly clear that any solution requires Maliki’s removal, the USA and the EU should cease all assistance to him, not allowing him to prolong the war and genocidal massacre of his own people using Western assistance.

Struan Stevenson, MEP 
President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq
President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

22 June 2014

Published in Articles

EIFA WARNS ABOUT GROWING PRESENCE OF SEC...

EIFA - Press releaseThere are alarming and escalating reports about the presence...

Exclusive: Biography and record of Hadi Farhan Abdullah al-Ameri

Exclusive: Biography and record of Hadi ...

-European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)- Hadi Farhan Abdullah al-Ameri, know...

Iraq: We must stop meddling by Iran and its criminal militias

Iraq: We must stop meddling by Iran and ...

Brussels, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) press release - The continui...