Carnage in Iraq: New fear, new game
By Ismail Salami
There is a new fear emerging in Iraq that the country will plunge even more into turmoil and political disequilibrium as the US troops cased in their colors and left behind a country which they helped lay bare to waste and dereliction.
This feeling of angst deepened when a string of 16 bomb explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital on Thursday, the worst in four months, leaving 72 people dead and 217 others fatally wounded.
Roughly coinciding with the homecoming of the US troops, the incident was opportunistically ascribed by Western observers to the security vacuum created as a result of the withdrawal of the US forces.
As a way of diverting attention from the real cause for these unspeakable acts of terrorism, some pointed fingers at Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who had recently been accused by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of orchestrating assassinations and bombings in Iraq, an allegation he has strongly rejected.
However, this seems to be a remote plausibility as the Iraqi interior ministry issued an arrest warrant for him on Monday and that he did not have enough time to engineer these professionally organized acts of terrorism, which certainly took a lot of time, maybe weeks.
Still licking his wounds, Iraq's Vice-President Tariq Hashemi, however, shifted the blame on Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and said he is to blame for the upsurge of violence that started in the country, implicitly aggrandizing the presence of the US troops and accused Maliki of behaving like Saddam Hussein.
"Many of Saddam's behaviors are now being exercised by Maliki unfortunately," Hashemi said.
"The judicial system is really in his pocket," he said.
Hashemi, who is presently holed up in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, accused Maliki of leadership deficiency.
"What happened today shows the deficiency and it's a good evidence for the lack of control over administration of the security brief, because the security services are pointed in the wrong direction."
The vice president also told US magazine Foreign Policy that "many of Saddam's behaviors are now being exercised by Maliki unfortunately".
Although no one has assumed responsibility for the attacks, military experts say that the level of coordination shows a well-organized planning only available to al-Qaeda in Iraq or more possibly to the US intelligence agencies as Washington has ample reason to demonize Maliki in order to inculcate the idea that the withdrawal of the US troops was a mistake and that their presence was a blessing to the Iraqis and a guarantee for their security. Further to that, US warmongers will be in a better position to push ahead with their policies and diminish the power of President Obama whom they see as the weakest link in their united front against Iran.
Contributing to this line of thinking, Western media have brought Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki under severe criticism, comparing him to the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and accusing him of promoting sectarianism.
Some observers say that Obama administration should share the blame as it “risked just such a breakdown when it disregarded the recommendation of its military commanders that some US forces remain in Iraq to help guarantee against a return to sectarian conflict” (The Washington Post, 22 December 2011).
Maliki has also been accused of pursuing “a sectarian agenda” or seeking “authoritarian power”. As if in coordinated efforts, most of the Western media insinuated that Nouri al-Maliki is bringing back the old days of Saddam Hussein.
Naturally but not strangely, US intelligence agencies had predicted that security in Iraq might degenerate into sectarian violence after the withdrawal of US troops from the country. This should be a surprise to no one that this is happening,” said House of Representatives intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers.
“Most people believed, the assessments that were coming out believed, that the sudden rapid withdrawal with no troop presence on the ground was going to leave this vacuum that would be filled with the kind of problems that you're seeing,” Rogers, a Republican, said in an interview with Reuters.
Washington is clearly creating chaos in the troubled country to justify its previous and possibly future presence and eliminate from its path whoever can be a game-player or a game-changer e.g. Iran and Maliki. In between, they have never ignored the increasing influence of Iran which they fear most.
Rogers also referred to “a chaotic Iraq plays into Iran's desire for increased influence in that region.”
“There was plenty of advice and counsel and analytical product that said this was a bad idea and here's what's going to happen if you do it,” he said. “We see the beginnings of what was predicted were going to happen.”
If the US government manages to convince the international community into believing that their presence in Iraq was to the best interests of the country and its people, it might have another chance to engage in a new phase of occupation and colonization.
To Washington, the loss of political leverage in Iraq is tantamount to the loss of future leadership in the Middle East region. Therefore, the US government will play every possible card to have another chance to be back in the country.
In fact, Washington is making fresh attempts to portray Nouri Maliki as a new Saddam Hussein, convince the international community that without the presence of US troops, there will be forever a security vacuum in the country, and eventually pave the way for the re-occupation and re-colonization of the country and reap at their leisure the fruit of its colonialist endeavors.
-- Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages.