By M.A. Saki

The illusion to align Iraq with Saudis against Iran 

October 24, 2017

In the inaugural meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Committee in Riyadh on Sunday which Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi had also been invited, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had formulated the illusion to take steps to seal an alliance between Saudi Arabia and Iraq against Iran.

Contrary to Saudis and Americans’ ill-conceived assumptions, Iran warmly welcomes rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iran has been loudly and repeatedly saying that regional crises can only be resolved through dialogue and cooperation between regional states. In line with this policy why Saudi Arabia should not be a partner.

However to put Iraq against Iran through creating a Saudi-Iraqi bloc is purely delusional. Such wishes originate from Trump and his inner circle’s lack of understanding of the realities in the region and the larger world in general.

Iraqis’ mind is fresh with Saudi Arabia’s destructive approach toward their country since the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime in March 2003. Since that date not only terrorists from Saudi Arabia started pouring into neighboring Iraq, the al-Saud family also rebuffed all overtures by Iraq to normalize ties. Saudi Arabia even refused to open its embassy in Baghdad until 2015.

On the contrary, Iran, which had suffered greatly at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980s, stood beside the Iraqis in difficult days, especially when Daesh made rapid military advances in Iraq in 2014.

Now Tillerson, who has no experience in foreign policy, should answer which country has been the friend of Iraq in these difficult years and which country or countries have been educating terrorists through their Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and encouraging them to go to Iraq to kill American soldiers and Iraqis alike. 

In 2007, the U.S. military reported that around 40% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces had come from Saudi Arabia. The U.S. military said half of the Saudi fighters who arrived in Iraq during that time went there to be suicide bombers.

Iraqis are aware of this fact that if it had not been for Iran’s military help Daesh would have captured Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan, and now the U.S., which had spent more than 2 trillion dollars to stabilize the post-Saddam Iraq, would have had to fight Daesh in Baghdad let alone formulating the fantasy of aligning Iraq with Saudi Arabia to counter Iran’s influence in the region. 

Those countries which Tillerson is seeking to rally against Iran are mostly Washington’s allies which were indifferent to the agonies of the Iraqis at the hands of terrorists over the past 14 years. 

Such attempts show that Trump and his inner team are too naïve to understand the realities in the region and the strong cultural and religious bonds between Iraq and Iraq and some other countries in the region. 


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