A wake-up call to the US in Baghdad: will Haidar Abadi become the Mohammad Morsi of Iraq?

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Baghdad, Basra by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The US-Iran tug of war is falling heavily on Iraq, a country which is fragile and which has not been allowed to breathe since the occupation of Iraq in 2003, right up until today. First came US total control of Mesopotamia, and then al-Qaeda in Iraq metamorphosed into the lethal ISIS which was supported by neighbouring countries. The US at best turned a blind eye towards the growth of ISIS, a cancer which cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the war which had to be waged against its terrorism. When ISIS had a third of Iraq under its control in 2014, domestic unrest started to take off in the south, offering an opportunity for demagogues, so-called “hyena politicians”, to show their influence over the population when a country is without a government.

The real battle is taking place between the US presidential envoy Brett McGurk and the Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani. Both are in Baghdad striving to influence the composition of the new Iraqi government. This is giving birth to a new “Iraqi resistance”, but this time the resistance is directed not only against US forces in Iraq but also against those Iraqis taking shelter under Trump’s wings. Foremost among these is the Iraqi Prime Minister ad interim Haidar Abadi described by some as the “future Mohammad Morsi of Iraq”- an indication of the fate he might expect in the near future.

The first warning, or wake-up call, against US involvement in Iraqi politics was launched when rockets hit the Green Zone not far from the US embassy in the Iraqi capital. The rockets, fired by experienced hands, fell on abandoned ground, aiming to cause no casualties but to send a direct message to the Americans: “hands-off Iraq!”, as a decision maker in the Iraqi resistance put it.

Meanwhile, the situation in Basra is giving an opportunity for Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr to show his total control of the unrest in the streets of southern Iraqi, a capacity he inherited from his late father and has used on several occasions in the past.

There is no doubt that Iraq currently has no other political leader who can control the street as Moqtada does. However, his impulsive reactions to demonstrate this control show no strategic purpose; they only spread fear among politicians, allies and opponents alike.

In the 2000s, when al-Sadr’s office was set on fire, Moqtada ordered – according to a cleric from his inner circle –all offices of BADR in the south of Iraq to be burned (BADR was led by Hadi al-Ameri). Although he does not avow responsibility for such attacks, Moqtada never misses an opportunity to show the power of his street mobs. Despite the fact that his role behind these attacks is no secret, he relies on the restraint of other Shia groups who are unwilling to stand up to him since they fear a Shia-Shia struggle in Iraq.

The burning of the municipality building in Basra a few days ago was the reaction of an angry mob asking for basic needs of life (drinkable water, electricity, job opportunities, infrastructure) that have been lacking for more than three decades. Twice in the past, the offices of AsaebAhl al-Haq, Kataeb Hezbollah, BADR, Sayyed al-Shuhada’, Fadila and the other groups who fought against and defeated ISIS have been burned. All of this arson is believed to have been perpetrated on the orders of Moqtada.

The “Sayyed wa’Ibn al-Sayyed” (Moqtada, son of Mohammad al-Sadr), as he is called, wrongly believes he can defeat all groups opposed to him at once, simply because they have no will to engage in an inter-Shia war (like that in Lebanon in the 80s between Hezbollah and the Amal movement). They are expected to accept material and moral damage, thus allowing Moqtada to fan his peacock tail.

In his last communiqué, Moqtada “warned all parties to refrain from any interference and to allow the security forces to deal with the Basra unrest”, adding “I will show the unexpected”. Basically what Moqtada is saying: “What I am going to do, no-one is expecting! You will all be surprised!”.

Moqtada, naturally, didn’t include himself as one of these non-official parties. He believes that he is entitled to spearhead the people’s demands while he – and his lieutenants – enjoy a lavish life in Najaf.

He has made a confused alliance with the US candidate, Haidar Abadi. It was Moqtada after all who fought against US forces in Iraq for years, and believed they were out to assassinate him (he escaped to Iran for this reason), and called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Abadi, according to a leader within the Iraqi resistance, is likely to “end up in jail, like Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi, for collaborating with the enemies of Iraq”.

“It cannot be excluded that the resistance decides to take the situation in Iraq in hand against a prime minister ad interim who insists on remaining in power with US support and leverage. Even members of parliament who support the US may lose their immunity if they are considered to be acting against their country and in favour of the occupier. No US bases will be allowed in Iraq and no prime minister will be given the right to allow any foreign force to dictate their policies to Iraq”, said the well-known leader– who asks for anonymity.

In reference to the claim that Iran has delivered ballistic missiles to Hashd al-Shaabi, the source said: “It is the US’s style to make allegations in order to “future justify” aggression against Hashd and the groups who fought ISIS. Israel, with US support, has already bombed Hashd HQ on the borders once. The Iraqi resistance will respond to any future aggression by attacking US bases in Iraq. We don’t need ballistic missiles to chase the occupier from Iraq”.

All the same, an unstable political situation in Iraq or a civil war would fall to the advantage of the US and not Iran. Many Iraqi leaders are well aware of this. It is unclear how the anti-US camp can succeed in thwarting the US attempt to bring their man into the prime ministership, and at the same time manage that essential damage limitation.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.B.

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3 thoughts on “A wake-up call to the US in Baghdad: will Haidar Abadi become the Mohammad Morsi of Iraq?

  1. “…I will show the unexpected.”

    Moqtada al-Sadr

    Sure he did. The burning of the Iranian consulate in Basra was an unexpected surprise, and we were left wondering how deep the CIA/Mosad/MI5 had penetrated Iraq. Thanks to Mr. Magnier’s article, we now know Western intel can proxyfy their anti-Iranian terrorism via the Saudi satraps, directly to their puppet al-Sadr. Moqtada al-Sadr has been playing a dangerous political game for long time in Iraq’s complex political arena, but it became even more dangerous after he met MBS last year in Saudi Arabia. His (very) popular populist politics endear him to the downtrodden and disenfranchised Iraqis, which he (allegedly) champions, but mainly he uses for his Machiavellian politics.

    Moqtada’s “Sadrist Movement” never had a clear strategy for Iraq, he’s been riding on the “fight the occupation” horse for the longest time, getting as much mileage from it as he possibly could. In the meantime, he’s been getting all the perks from “fighting the occupation,” while living a lavish life, and becoming a “professional” politician within Iraq’s corrupt political morass. Lacking strategic sense, Moqtada is not even a good tactician, he’s a political opportunist prone to corruption, as his embracing the Saudi beasts proved for everyone to see. He’s a master at manipulating the masses and of exploiting their desperation, as is the case in Basra. The burning of the Iranian consulate shows his true colors, it was an opportunity coup with a clear message for Iran: leave Abadi alone, or else…

    As Mr. Magnier’s clearly explains, Moqtada takes advantage of the cautious approach showed by Iran and the Iraqi groups Iran supports, struggling to avoid an intra-Shia conflict. However, Moqtada’s dangerous game is strategically compromising, as it can lead him to a confrontation with Suleimani, a master political and military strategist. Moqtada could win a couple of rounds, but Suleimani has only to pull the skein under his control, to tighten the noose around Moqtada’s neck. So far, Moqtada has been lucky, his survival is in large part due to his father’s advisers, and to having Iran as a safe haven anytime he felt his life was in danger. If he continues to provoke Iran, when is he going to run? Next destination, troglodyte Saudi Arabia.

    Lone Wolf

  2. ISIL funded through Israel/US proxies of Saudi and Qatar — all those monarchies were installed and exist at the pleasure of the Anglo-American Zionist World Empire. They did not turn a blind eye to ISIS, but the fracturing mechanism was so extreme they had to put put some distance least they be called out for supporting terrorism — but Qatar,SA, Jordon, Israel, Turkey, and Libyan elements openly did so — and rather than those proxies being prosecuted, the Empire gives them human rights awards. So that is the first flaw in your article.

    One of the original goals of the invasion of Iraq was to incite mayhem and division — it was never about building democracy – otherwise S.A. after 100 years would already be like Britain politically. This was clear even before the invasion started, and this is not my post invasion revisionism — it is 300 year policy. Of course plenty of other motives existed such as paying off various sub groups to support the effort – such as arms dealers, mercs, logistics companies, politically connected suppliers such as providers of fuel, medicines, and even hamburgers. Large efforts require coalitions of multiple partners each with their own motives to do the ungodly. I know small time political-connected (individual proprietors) suppliers that made tens of millions for nothing more than putting a shipping label “To Iraq” on pallets from the wholesaler and reshipping to Iraqi. People think it was a looting of Iraqi for the oil — and there was some of that, but a better description is the destruction of Iraq and the looting of the American tax payer for private gain. Isn’t this how empires have always operated ?

    Is Sadr really different from the usual progression ? In Egypt, the Brother Morsi was replaced by the Israeli choice of El-Sisi. What of Sadr’s meetings in S.A ? Yes, he is ambitious , but if he rules, he will rule at the behest of he empire, not in opposition. Isn’t it clear he is the Shia traitor destroying within, as the Shia became too powerful and needed to be suppresed ? First ISIS and now the other direction, back and forth working to keep the locals down for decades if not centuries of Zionist Empire (and British Empire is secular jewish Empire (not yet zionist) — read Disraeli who openly tells you so 160+ years ago).

    It is not even that clear that Iran is not part of the play, and US policy reflects more about the inner battles within the empire and their gangster leaders than the nature of Iran. The battle between the right-wing Zionist jewish arm against the left wing secular arm ,as played out openly in the US, is reflected in the various vassals in the middle east. The coup in America with Trump is reflected with the coup in SA with Salman and now playing out with war against the Shia in Iran who are vassals with the left wing branch (billions in untraced cash pallets to Iran under Obama!) — is this not clear enough ? Meanwhile , a la Orwell’s 1984, there is an endless series of fake/controllable enemies to scare the denizens of the richer countries to pay for the empire and their own subjugation.

    It is easy for the empire to find degenerates who would kill their mother and brother to be the local king. Sadr is one in a long line of many — including Saddam (who also ruled at the empire’s behest). Please do consider the local scene in the context of the larger play.

    I am an armchair observer in the heart of the empire in NYC, but always do appreciate your detailed local knowledge,,keen analysis, and open contribution. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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