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Why Has Uncle Sam Fallen Asleep? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A battle is taking place that will shape the future of one of the most important countries in the Middle East, a future that may shape the destiny of other countries in the region, and whose results will go on to affect the rest of the world. Despite the clear importance of the future of rule in Iraq, it seems that the US administration is in a deep sleep, or rather is pretending to be asleep, we don’t know which. In either case, the Americans are making a new mistake [in Iraq] whether this is out of negligence or deliberate ignorance; they are primarily responsible for the future of this country that is still practically under their control, they are the ones who designed the state project and formed the current leadership after they toppled the former regime. It was also the Americans who put in place the decision-making process for choosing who holds office i.e. the elections and drew up the constitution. US fighter jets are still protecting Iraqi air space, and their security apparatus continues to monitor every small detail on the ground. More importantly than all of this, the US has paid a heavy price, and this has cost them the deaths of over 4,000 troops as well as one trillion dollars, and God only knows the number of Iraqi casualties. Is it reasonable for Uncle Sam to fall asleep at this critical moment in which the leader of Iraq over the next four years is being decided? This is indeed a strange time to fall asleep!

Why has Washington, since the end of the elections, remained silent in a strange and suspicious manner? According to a Washington official, President Barack Obama’s administration has decided not to interfere, and it prefers for the Iraqis to choose their own president, prime minister, and future government. The US believes that it will be able to deal with whoever wins and becomes the new leader of Iraq. However a second opinion of the situation is that the Obama administration wants to escape from Iraq, and does not want to get involved, and the only thing it is concerned with is the scheduled troop withdrawal that is set to begin this summer. This would be an appropriate position if there was a possibility for escape! As for the freedom to choose the government of Iraq, this is a wise choice if this were left up to the Iraqis to decide. However the regional countries, particularly Iran, are exerting tremendous pressure to determine the future of Iraq and are utilizing all of their tools to this effect.

If the US believes that it will be able to deal with an Iraqi coalition formed by Tehran tomorrow then it should think again.

Until now, [Iraqi] Shiite parties have been successful in evading demands placed upon them by Iran to form a coalition that is in harmony with the wishes of Iran. The major Shiite parties have refused this until now, but will they be able to continue saying No? Perhaps not!

Despite our apprehensions, nobody objects to the next Iraqi Prime Minister having good relations with Iran, the problem is only if the Iranians are the ones who choose this.

As for the Americans, they are making a historic mistake by allowing the Iranians to run Shiite parties and impose their viewpoint on them. Iraq will pay the price of this, as will the rest of the world, and the US will pay the highest price of all if Iran succeeds in forcing its will on the Iraqi leadership, because Iran will transform the country into another Lebanon and they will be in control of even the smallest details. Iraq represents a life-raft for Iran with regards to dealing with the threats and pressures that the Iranian regime is facing as a result of its nuclear program, and the hostile policies that it is pursuing in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, the Gulf, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Iraq could represent an Iranian backdoor against the international embargo placed upon it, as well a huge financial treasury, as Iraq’s oil production this year stands at three times the size of Iran’s. Therefore Iran will be capable of smuggling, exporting, funding, and spending via Iraq. Iran will be able to save itself through Iraq, however without it the Tehran regime will die. This is a fact that is clear to anybody who is aware of the situation in both countries today.

Washington is spending a lot of money and exerting a lot of effort in order to impose sanctions on Iran. However by leaving Iraq in Iran’s hands it facilitates Tehran taking hold of the country with the second largest oil reserves in the world. It is funny that Washington believes that it is laying siege to Iran by attempting to buy off Syria and intimidate Turkey, while at the same time it is leaving Iraq open to Ahmadinejad’s regime. If you believe this is exaggeration, then you must read the situation as it stands today. The Iranians have succeeded in ripping off the Americans in Iraq to the point that they have even taken control of former strong US allies such as the Kurds, half of whom have become allied with the Iranian regime. This is unbelievable, but unfortunately it is the truth.

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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