Go to home page

This article appears in the March 5, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

U.S. Attacks Iraqi Forces on Syria-Iraq Border

Question to Hussein Askary: What are the implications for the pro-development movement you are working with in Iraq, of the unexplained bombing in Syria by U.S. warplanes on February 25?

The real danger is that none of the parties can ensure that this does not get out of control, leading to a larger war in Iraq and the region. The other danger, which is my concern, is that this military escalation will change the subject of discourse in Iraq from the economic realities—cooperation with China and the reconstruction of the country’s economic infrastructure—into a discussion of the security situation which has nothing to do with Iraqi realities.

Iraq after the post-2003 U.S.-British invasion is a very fragile state. What U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney created in Iraq was an abomination, a sectarian and ethnic patchwork kept together with chewing gum, or rather raw oil. The invaders abolished the Iraqi state in principle, not just President Saddam Hussein’s state. The army, police, security forces and intelligence forces that took a century to build suddenly vanished.

Another development helped destroy the state: Changing the political structure from a presidential into a parliamentary system based on horse trading between ethnic and sectarian forces. Oil money became the fuel upon which this Frankenstein state was kept alive, as the different ethnic and sectarian groups created political parties that divided the ministry budgets amongst themselves, devouring the meat and throwing the bones to the Iraqi people.

Biden and Iran ‘Trade Signals’

The irony is that the Shia groups, who were made the majority, were clients of Iran. Most Shia politicians and groups persecuted by Saddam in the 1980s fled to Iran and created both political and military organizations, like the Badr Brigade who fought alongside the Iranian army in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. So naturally the vacuum created by the U.S.-British occupation’s demolition of the Iraqi state and its institutions, was filled by Iranian-backed groups. This seemingly weird symbiosis between America-Britain and Iran continues to this day. Many Iraqis, despairing of a rational explanation of the events taking place in their country, say that Iran and the U.S. are working together in Iraq. They attack each other but they both keep their shares of control over Iraqi political, security and economic matters. They settle scores and trigger new crises, not by attacking each other’s territories, but by attacking each other in Iraq.

Starting with the infamous 2006 Cheney visit to Saudi Arabia to invent the Sunni alliance against the “Shia Triangle” (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon), extremist and terrorist groups of both sects emerged. The Sunni groups were backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf states, Turkey and Jordan (Syria initially backed the so-called Sunni resistance to the American occupation, and Israel later backed the “Sunni” Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, Al-Nusra Front, against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad). Iran naturally backed the Shia factions, also forming a resistance movement against the occupation.

Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, attacked inside Syrian territory by U.S. forces February 25 in Biden’s retaliation for attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, are among such Shia groups. However, keep in mind that these groups and others, like the Popular Mobilization (Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi)—whose leader was assassinated with Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani—were fighting side by side with U.S. and Russian forces against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. Second: There is no evidence that these two groups were involved in February 15 attacks on U.S. bases in Erbil, Iraq. The whole matter looks like a trade of signals between the Biden Administration and Iran.

Back to top    Go to home page