Iranian President Ahmadinejad: During a recent visit to Baghdad,
frequent talk of a ‘common enemy’ for Iranians and Iraqis
an outcry among Iraqis who resent Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.
Sotal Iraq, Iraq
Iran, Iraq and Our ‘Common Enemy’
"Who is this ‘common enemy’ referred to by the Iranian
president? ... The statements of President Ahmadinejad represent a bald-faced attempt to draw Iraq into Iran’s extremist trench with the goal of making Iraq foot the bill for Iran’s foreign policy hostility toward the West and the United States. It is an attempt to drain Iraq’s economy and transform it into an Iranian hub for circumventing the blockade against Teheran."
Kuwaiti Emir Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah with his entorage at the Arab League summit in Baghdad, March, 29. He is undoubtedly one of the people who Iranian President Ahmadinejad likes to refer to as Iran and Iraq's 'common enemy.'
Statements made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad during a press conference
with Minister of Education Khodair al-Khozaei have triggered a wave of astonishment
among Iraqis, particularly when Ahmadinejad spoke of how our two countries face
a “common enemy.”
We don’t know what the Iranian president bases his opinions on. But
it is clear that the new Iraq is distinguished by a political experience
completely different from that in Iran. Iraq is a pluralistic county where a
consensus must be found among different blocs, parties and currents in society.
We have an active National Assembly with a boisterous political opposition and
a diverse media that includes dozens of newspapers and satellite channels. Iraq
is also opening itself to the international community and has strong relations
with the European Union and United States, which have signed huge contracts to
develop Iraq’s oil sector and signed dozens of important strategic agreements
that will last for many years to come.
Based on that, the Iraqi political situation is completely
different from the situation in Iraq, which has a revolutionary system based on
the military mobilization of society and a religious authority represented by
of the Jurist that reigns over all other authorities. Iran also has difficult
foreign relations characterized by open alliances with objectionable revolutionary
movements like Hezbullah, Hamas and the Syrian regime.
On that basis, Iran leads a grand regional coalition in based on a
political vision clearly hostile to the West. Iran has an ambitious nuclear
program aimed at strengthening its regional and international standing that has
raised the hackles of the international community, which has in response
imposed a series of sanctions and embargos.
The systems in the two countries are almost entirely contradictory in
terms of structure, ideology and foreign relations, which explains why on
almost every level, Iraq and Iran differ and could not possibly have a common enemy.
And who is this “common enemy” referred to by the Iranian
president? Is it, as Iran claims, the West or the Zionists, both of which exchange
ambassadors with Iraq, train its officers and upgrade its military and oil
installations? Or is the common enemy the Gulf States and Turkey, with which
Iraqi trade has reached record levels? Or is the common enemy the people in the
region who have begun to raise their voices against the glaring contradiction of
Iran’s foreign policy, which stands with the Assad regime in its savage repression
of freedom in Syria?
I think the statements of President Ahmadinejad represent a bald-faced
attempt to draw Iraq into Iran’s extremist trench with the goal of
making Iraq foot the bill for Iran’s foreign policy hostility toward the West
and the United States. It is an attempt to drain Iraq’s economy and transform
it into an Iranian hub for circumventing the blockade against Teheran. Anyone
who has tracked the decline in the value of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar,
despite the massive amounts of dollars raised by the Iraqi Central Bank to
strengthen the dinar, can see that hard currency is disappearing from Iraq and
turning up in Tehran and Damascus.
This has put the livelihoods of the Iraqi people under attack and is
a result of attempts to force their lives to revolve around Iran. Ahmadinejad’s
public utterances were regurgitations of things Tehran always says in regard to
“dual relations” with Iraq, blaming “countries in the region that will not be
named” for causing a division between Iran and Iraq. Meanwhile, as we all know,
it is Iran that regularly violates Iraqi territory, raids our shared oil fields
and expropriates the rights of Iraqis.
Meanwhile, sewerage from Iran waters continues to destroy Iraq’s
environment and Tehran interrupts the flow of over 40 rivers and streams that once
flowed through Iraqi territory - and Tehran still dominates the Iraqi market,
exporting low-quality goods that aren’t even permitted to be sold on Iran’s market.
I have no idea how Iran’s president can talk at a press conference
about the ways Iraq and Iran can contribute to spreading security and peace in
the region when Teheran continues to meddle in Iraq’s domestic affairs by
backing militias and the provocative statements of its ambassador. I have no
idea how Iran can take the thinking of Iraqis so cavalierly.
The Iraqi people should ask themselves who these common enemies are,
that are so frequently mentioned by Ahmadinejad. Is it the international community
and the United Nations, after the reports of bonafide U.N. observers exposed
Iran’s staunch support for the Assad regime and its savage repression of the
I think Iraq faces a major challenge. We must keep our distance
from an Iranian policy that tries to popularize statements usually issued in
the presence of Iraqi officials that give the impression that Iraq is under
Iranian control and that Baghdad is standing in the same trench as Tehran. This
damages the reputation of our nation when it should be open up to countries that
pursue positive agendas and seek to invest in Iraq’s very promising economy.
Iraq should be very wary of Iran’s attempt to control the region on the backs
of Iraqis with its constant and brazen efforts to keep it
under its thumb.
It would have been better for Minister al-Khozaei, who is accused of
being a puppet of Iran, to have lessened the force of this accusation by responding - even if diplomatically - to
such statements, especially when they are made at a
joint press conference. Iraq should keep its distance from the Iranian axis and
must prove that the new Iraq enjoys far-reaching relations with its neighbors
and the international community. In addition to having no common enemies with
Iran, it should demonstrate that it has no enemies at all.