Iran’s theory on events in Iraq, Lebanon
It is not difficult to realize to what extent the Iranian regime has become unpopular in Iraq and Lebanon. This has nothing to do with Al Arabiya TV or the hashtags of an electronic army, as claimed by Iranian regime officials. In Iraq, there is neither internet nor social media. Iraq’s government has blacked out the internet to please the Iranians, who think that waves of incitement are coming from cyberspace. Yet the uprising is alive and continuing.
Tehran claims that the millions of protesters who have flooded the streets in Iraqi and Lebanese cities in the past two weeks have been stirred by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Iran wants to close its ears to the protesters as it has caused their poverty, militia dominance in their countries and the failure of their governments. The truth is that the accusations match reality.
All armed militias in Iraq are affiliated with Iran or its allies. Hezbollah in Lebanon is stronger than the national army and is affiliated with Iran. Most of the world’s governments have been forced to refrain from dealing with Iraq and Lebanon because of Iran’s influence there.
Saudi Arabia supported Lebanon’s currency by depositing funds in its central bank, while Iran caused depreciation due to Hezbollah’s domination of state institutions. These are well-known facts, and people do not need TV channels or hashtags to point them to the source of their misery.
In Iraq, the Iranian project relied on the seizure of state institutions: Parliament, political parties and the armed forces, which were forced to incorporate Iran’s militias. So the situation worsened and people rose up in Iraq, not as Sunnis against Shiites, nor as one party against another.
Iran wants to close its ears to the protesters as it has caused their poverty, militia dominance in their countries and the failure of their governments.
The uprising was not led by the remnants of the Baath Party, it did not raise the black flag of Daesh, and the Americans show no interest in supporting it. The Iraqi uprising is purely peaceful and patriotic, despite attempts by Iranian media to describe it as foreign-driven. Its spectrum is broad and its demands refute their accusations.
Peaceful protests have taken place in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Najaf and other parts of Iraq. Most of these governorates have a Shiite majority raising demands that everyone supports. They demand an end to corruption, an improvement in the government’s performance, and the elimination of armed militias and Iran’s influence.
They call for the independence of Iraq and its identity. Iran threatens to demolish everything over the heads of 30 million Iraqis if they stand in the way of its project to govern and control the country.
In Lebanon, the movement has similar features. The protests are against corruption, the political mafia and the government’s sectarianism. The massive protests have not only taken place in Beirut, but also Sunni Tripoli and Shiite Nabatieh and Baalbek.
Christian protesters have demanded the removal of corrupt Christian ministers, Sunnis were the first to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and many Shiite clerics expressed their rejection of Hezbollah.
The poor economic situation has taxed people’s patience and made them break their silence. We know that, in terms of weapons, the balance of power is not on the protesters’ side, but their resolve, determination and massive public support will bring about change — or at least their message has been received.
- Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Twitter: @aalrashed