Iraqi judiciary: a tool used by Iran to maintain ex-premier Maliki in power BY Keyvan Salami

| 25.01,16. 02:20 PM |

Iraqi judiciary: a tool used by Iran to maintain ex-premier Maliki in power

BY Keyvan Salami

Despite one year passing since the legal ousting of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki from his 8-year long post, he remains a key and active figure in the current political imbroglio of this country. Enjoying Tehran’s support, Maliki is attempting to claim, “I myself am seeking to remain in the political power spectrum.” The policy adopted by the West, and especially the United States, turning a blind eye to Tehran’s very destructive role in Iraq has become a major threat for peace and security in the Middle East, and any hope of uprooting ISIS and terrorism. Today, Iran has infiltrated into the Iraqi judiciary and by maintaining a judicial umbrella for its utterly loyal proxy Nouri al-Maliki, Tehran is seeking to actually strengthen and continue its dominance over Iraq.

Despite the presence and active support of the US and European Parliament in the Iraqi political scene, and the very demanding association the Iraqi government has with these two powers, how could al-Maliki find the courage to remain at a very high and influential political post in Iraq, and of course, continue his years long policy of sectarianism and repression. The important and serious question now before us is what support provides the security Nouri al-Maliki needs to act as a government in the shadows and play such a destructive role, despite the people’s hatred in this regard?

Rallies across Iraq have continued each week for 6 months. Little by little these series of demonstrations have leaned towards specific slogans and certain political demands, a sign that the Iraqi people are expressing their true demands. Protesters are chanting “Prosecute al-Maliki” and “Sack [Iraqi judiciary chief] Mid’hat Mahmoud”, all providing new headings for their reformist demonstrations.

These demands, although enjoying the strong support of senior Shiite religious leaders in southern Iraq, including Grant Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, made Iran extremely nervous. Tehran’s main investment during the 8 years of Maliki’s tenure in Iraq and maintaining him in this post in order to pursue his dominating role would be gone with the wind. To this end Iran was attempting to also maintain Mid’hat Mahmoud in his post. Mahmoud has very close relations with Tehran and is a member of Maliki’s inner circle, and Iran is utilizing him to prevent al-Maliki from ever being placed on the witness stand. This would maintain the court cases against al-Maliki in the attic forever. At first step this was the main demand raised by Iran from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. To realize this objective, Iran began working hard and launched widespread measures aimed at maintaining Mahmoud in his position.

The first step taken by Tehran was to dispatch its associated Shiite militias, including the Badr Corps and Asaeb al-Haq, to disrupt demonstrations; by creating a climate of fear Iran sought to derail these rallies. According to reports obtained from internal meetings of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, this issue has been discussed that al-Abadi’s reform package may include the Iraqi judiciary in the near future, and this is not at all in Iran’s interests. Therefore, the Iranian foreign ministry and Quds Force command – the extraterritorial arm of the notorious Revolutionary Guards – were ordered to resort to various methods to neutralize the actions taken to bring about any changes in the Iraqi judiciary.

Iran took one step further and began forging remarks and comments by the senior Shiite leadership in Iraq in an attempt to claim senior religious leaders do not welcome reforms of the entire judiciary branch, and have no emphasis on sacking Mid’hat Mahmoud. Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani’s representative immediately came to the scene and flatly denied such claims made by Tehran, stipulating in fact that reforming the judiciary branch is considered an important pillar in completing the reform packages adopted by the government of Mr. Haider al-Abadi.

Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hossein Danai’e-far held a meeting in Baghdad with Mahmoud ensuring him of Iran standing firm behind him and the Iraqi judiciary. Danai’e-Far also held meetings with Shiite militia group commanders Hadi al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandess, asking them to meet with Mahmoud and assure him of the support of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) and other Shiite militias. Danai’e-Far has emphasized the revelation of al-Maliki’s dossiers are not at all in Iran’s interest in Iraq, and will render major dilemmas for the Iran-backed Shiite alliance and PMF. Therefore, from Tehran’s point of view, all efforts must be placed to prevent the sacking of Mid’hat Mahmoud.

Now one can clearly understand how al-Maliki, very much under the security umbrella established by Iran for him through the judiciary, focused on weakening the fledgling government of Haider al-Abadi by pursuing Iran’s policies. We also come to understand how dangerous are al-Maliki’s measures for the establishment of a stable and independent Iraq.

However, how can one truly believe the daily increase of the Iranian embassy’s influence in Baghdad throughout all judiciary and security apparatuses in Iraq is actually going on as usual, hidden from the watchful eyes of the coalition forces and Iraq’s western allies? The hope of the Iraqi people, of course, doesn’t completely rely on the reforms launched by al-Abadi in the administrative, army, social entities, and water and electricity infrastructure. In fact, they are now raising very significant political demands and their justice-seeking measures in this regard will continue until rooted changes are implemented in the judiciary and Nouri al-Maliki is finally and permanently sacked from his post.

The overt and covert war, launched by Iran from the spring of 2003 following the occupation of Iraq by the US-led coalition, has engulfed the Iraqi people in blind challenges of sectarianism, violence and terrorist. In the shadows of these crises, Iran has been advancing with its utmost political and expansionist gains in its neighboring country of Iraq. Without a doubt, until Iran is totally evicted from Iraq there will never be a logical and practical solution to realize reforms in Mesopotamia and develop democracy in this country.

Keyvan Salami tweets on @SalamiKeyvan

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