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Spying on the Iraqi Prime Minister - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It doesn’t take a veteran journalist like Bob Woodward to uncover the secret that US security services are spying on Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, because this matter is indisputable and expected.

The Americans are expected to be curious about what is happening in the homes of Iraqi decision makers, beginning with that of President Jalal Talabani, all the way to the finance minister’s office. If they act otherwise, this means that the Americans are not as cautious as we think they are and are not carrying out the role expected of them.

Picture the United States spending $300,000 billion and endangering the lives of over 130,000 US soldiers in an effort to consolidate the situation [in Iraq] to the advantage of a presumably friendly regime, without knowing what is going on inside its offices!

Almost everyone agrees that the Americans have repeatedly proved their immaturity in dealing with the region’s affairs ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. Due to international conflicts, it was easy for the Americans at that time to know who was a friend and who was an enemy. However, today, it is neither clear nor easy for them to find out who their ally is. Herds are appearing in front of them, some of which are herds of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Imagine that after their departure, the Americans discover that they handed power to opponents thinking they were friends, as a result of their intelligence services’ failure to discover the truth that hid behind smiles and walls. If this is the case, what do they do? Do they once again mass their forces to topple Al-Maliki’s regime, for which they had gathered all the weapons stored in their warehouses in an effort to bring it to power then protect it?

Everyone knows that if it was not for the complex US security protection, perhaps the Iraqi president and prime minister and a number of Iraqi political leaders would not have been able to the see the sun rise every morning. Protection also entails watching those who are close to these people and living next to them. This is in addition to protecting their processions and planes and tapping millions of calls that might involve conspiracies against them. If the Americans are to get rid of someone, all they need to do is stop protecting him in this country, where hostile organizations make relentless efforts to get those occupying high leadership positions. Accordingly, the incessant endeavor to know what these “friends” are doing, with whom they are dealing, and what they are agreeing to, is only natural.

Spying is partly for the sake of protecting them and partly for the sake of protecting oneself against them. Nevertheless, some US officials still have suspicions and do not hesitate to admit that they do not trust the [Iraqi] government and its intentions and doubt its under-the-table relations. Washington’s never-ending fear is that after this costly investment in blood and dollars, a regime will emerge in Baghdad that is different from what it expected it to be. In this case, consolidating an anti-US regime will represent a strategic catastrophe that is even bigger than all the previous US mistakes, such as Al-Qaeda’s birth from the womb of the US mujahidin plan. The catastrophic results produced by the emergence of such a regime will be worse than those of the high-price wars, which have recently contributed to the growth of the Iranian influence following the overthrow of Saddam and the Taliban.

Nevertheless, and now that we have established the bases for the logic behind spying on the friendly [Iraqi] government, the important question that will arise is: Is spying sufficient to find out the complete truth? No, not necessarily.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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