| 15.10,15. 12:40 AM |
Iraq: people’s rally will place Nouri al-Maliki before justice
By: Keyvan Salami
Ever since the 2003 occupation of Iraq, and during the entire period that the United States had a widespread, official and active military presence in this country, its devious neighbor to the east, being Iran, took advantage of the situation on the ground in Iraq. Furthermore, Tehran has also taken advantage of America’s appeasement policy and concessions to expand and bunker its influence in all Iraqi institutions including the Prime Ministry Office, Ministry of Interior and Defense, and the judiciary.
From 2006 onward by placing Nouri al-Maliki at the helm as premier – worth noting that both of his terms enjoyed U.S. blessing and support – Tehran was able to advance its policies in Iraq serving the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In short, al-Maliki’s 8-year report card is a terrible example of the mullahs’ ideological greed of imposing an “Islamic Caliphate” in the Middle East. Sectarianism, enmity and genocide under Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish-Christian pretexts during Maliki’s tenure reached its climax, leading to the growing of a culture of animosity and extremism. Sectarian and ethnic divides provoked by al-Maliki finally led to the all-out collapse of Iraq’s armed forces and army, and ISIS gaining control over one third of the country’s soil.
Selling foreign currency in the Central Bank, plundering people’s property and forging judiciary cases to confiscate the country’s assets and treasury in favor of government officials, spending massive budgets for the protection of a limited number of state figures, are all part of the corrupt aspects of Maliki’s rule as the prime minister.
“Iraqi government files have revealed that former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had a role in weakening the military and security forces from 2006 to 2014. According to one of these documents the executive branch in four months ordered 7,411 military personnel to provide security for 18 figures, including Maliki. Another document shows Maliki had formed battalions amongst army units missioned only to protect various officials, and not defending the country. Former Iraqi MP Wael Abdul-Latif said this policy adopted by Maliki wasted $48 billion dollars of the country’s wealth,” Sky News TV reported on August 17th.
Current Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi referred to al-Maliki taking advantage of his post and his plundering of public property. “When we took over the government there was only $3 billion left in the treasury while we had $15 billion in debts… the country’s wealth is not private property; … one cannot use people’s property in elections to buy support. This is corruption.”
Finally, fed up over the cruelty, killings and corruption seen in al-Maliki’s tenure, the Iraqi people have for the past three months poured into the streets. In their nationwide demonstrations covering nine Shiite southern provinces, including Basra, Meisan, Ziqar, Mothana, Diwaniya, Waset, Najaf, Karbala and Babel, they are demanding al-Maliki’s prosecution and the removal of judiciary chief Mid’hat Mahmoud, a figure known to be very close to Maliki and Tehran. The Iraqi population is also demanding fundamental and sweeping reforms.
“Iraqi demonstrators in Baghdad raised placards against the judiciary and al-Maliki, chanting slogans demanding the prosecution of Nouri al-Maliki and prosecution of Iraqi judiciary chief Mid’hat Mahmoud,” Al Jazeera TV reported on September 22nd.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the leading Shiite figure in Iraq, warned the country will be divided if Prime Minister al-Abadi fails to carry out true reforms in the fight against corruption.
The European Union approves al-Abadi’s reform measures, NINA, Iraq’s main news agency reported.
Al-Maliki’s rule has come to an end and the Iraqi people in their rallies covering numerous provinces are demanding fundamental reforms in the government and former senior figures placed before justice for their cruelty and crimes.
However, the crimes committed by al-Maliki as the prime minister has another aspect less spoken of: pursuing Iran’s strategic goals in Iraq and serving very well to Tehran’s demands.
A very significant index of Maliki’s close relations with Tehran is his policy vis-à-vis Camp Ashraf, previously home to more than 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), located 90 kilometers north of Baghdad.
Al-Maliki assumed responsibility over the security of Ashraf in 2009 as part of the ‘Status of Forces Agreement’ with the U.S. From the early months of 2009 al-Maliki launched his harassments and restrictions on Ashraf residents, and specifically formed an organ dubbed “The Government Committee for the Closure of Ashraf”. The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad supervised over this committee’s mission to impose as much pressure and limitations on Ashraf residents as possible with the objective of forcing them to evacuate Iraq and return to Iran.
This inhumane scenario of displacing and dissolving the PMOI currently continues in Camp Liberty, a deserted ransacked site near Baghdad International Airport where the residents were forced to transfer to in 2012 based an agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the UN. As promised in writing by the U.N. and U.S., Liberty was meant to be a temporary transit location, and yet the residents have been held there under house arrest for nearly four years now while the abovementioned restrictions are continuing as we speak. This plot includes vicious deadly attacks carried out by al-Maliki’s guards, leading to the death of 117 residents and 1,389 others being injured, while 27 patients suffered to death as a result of the ongoing medical blockade imposed on the residents.
The vicious crackdown and killings imposed by Nouri al-Maliki during his tenure against the residents in camps Ashraf and Liberty are without a doubt considered crimes against humanity, piling up a very heavy a criminal portfolio for Tehran’s puppet.
The result of al-Maliki’s 8-year rule in Iraq is the nationwide uprisings against corruption, al-Maliki’s government and all its organs. However, the “snake’s head” and root of all the corruption and crimes, lie in Tehran. Prosecuting Nouri al-Maliki and his inner circle in Iraq is the first step in realizing the Iraqi people’s demands, and the reforms pioneered by Prime Minister al-Abadi in Iraq are conditioned on evicting the Iranian regime from all of Mesopotamia.
Keyvan Salami , human right activist writing for peace and progress in the Middle East and regime change in Iran. He Tweets at @SalamiKeyvan