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Patience has limits

Letters


Bahrain and GCC have placed Iraq’s Hashd Al Sha’abi (Popular Mobilisation) militias (along with Badr Corps, Hizbollah and the Abbas Brigade fighting in Syria) in the same terrorist camp as the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front.

They are all driven by sectarian interests and each is as ruthless and bloodthirsty as the other. They are all different types of cancer that must be eliminated. The difference is that Shi’ite militias working with Iraq’s feeble military, advised by Iranian Revolutionary Guard, are legitimised by the government of an Arab country – or rather what used to be an Arab country before it fell under the ayatollahs’ domination through the agency of pro-Iranian quisling prime ministers.

The so-called Popular Mobilisation militias and the Badr Corps have slaughtered untold numbers of Iraqi citizens and destroyed their homes after freeing Daesh-held areas purely because they were Sunnis. 

Hizbollah and the Abu Fadl Abbas Brigade have done the same in Syria. Mosques have been turned to rubble. People forced with their children into tent cities or to take the dangerous route to Europe seeking asylum. They are, along with IS, two sides of the same vicious coin.

Instead of extending our hands to militias, we should be fighting them. Iraq, a true Arab heartland, needs our support to free itself from Persian occupation. 

The first step is to close our diplomatic missions in Iraq as long as it behaves like an enemy state. At the same time Iraqis working in GCC countries should not be made to suffer for the sins of their rogue government and its armed bands. Most left their homeland on the dream to rebuild their lives that were lost to them.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi must be challenged. Is he setting his country on a road to becoming a de facto Iranian province or will he respect its Arab roots and identity? It is probable he has already chosen.

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry put out a statement reiterating, “The Popular Mobilisation has come from the Iraqi components and was formed as an official body that works within the umbrella of the government and under the command of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi armed forces.”  I would like to ask him how many Sunnis, Christians, Kurds and Yezidis are members of those government-sanctioned militias? And what kind of government relies on gunmen for
its defence!

Those of Iraq’s limbs plagued by Persian sickness must be amputated at their roots. Our hearts have been open for the Iraqis. I was deeply upset knowing that 500,000 Iraqi children died since the end of the Gulf War as a result of economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. I was distraught watching flames rise from the Baghdad skyline during George W Bush’s ‘Shock and Awe’ and when coalition troops finally withdrew, I prayed that a brave new Iraq would soon emerge from the ashes.

Instead, what has arisen is a virtual Persian enclave. We can no more blind our eyes to reality. Iraq must understand that the patience we have shown was not weakness but rather tolerance for the actions of a sibling trying to get out of a maze strewn with boulders. And all we receive in return is insults!

Saddam Hussein was an Arab nationalist, who preserved his country’s Arab identity.

The Nouri Al Maliki government’s sectarian bias and oppressive tactics against Sunnis is responsible for the rise of terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda and Daesh, where there were once none. His cleansing of experienced Sunni officers from the army to be replaced by Shi’ites loyal to his regime resulted in a force that shamefully took to its heels leaving its weapons behind when confronted by a small group of Daesh fighters in Mosul.

Al Abadi succeeded Al Maliki pledging to work for the benefit of all, but until now there has been little sign he is any different from his predecessor. His ‘Made in Iran’ stamp is merely less visible.

Those days when Iraqis of all faiths and ethnicities lived together in harmony are unlikely to return because the loyalties of successive Shi’ite governments rest primarily with a foreign power. That is the bottom line in black and white. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqis martyred during the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War must be turning in their graves.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

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