If, as the old Arabic saying, censure increases according to familiarity, I am within my rights to criticize a close friend, Abdulaziz al Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the leadership of this group who I been closely linked to through the last years.
I choose to reprimand them because of this violent transformation in their position on Iranian meddling in Iraq and the transformation of a number of officials in the SCIRI into defenders of Iran in the media, sometimes aggressively, mixing between national loyalties and regional coalitions.
Bayan Jabr Solagh, the Iraqi Minister of Interior, known for his calm and balanced statements has recently spoken in defense of Iran using a fiery and detestable language. Instead of searching for the truth, his intervention alienated Iraq from its Arab neighbors and created conflict.
Other influence Council figures have appeared on satellite television channels and acted as the spokesmen of the Islamic Republic. Sympathizing with Tehran and attempting to disprove its interference by presenting facts is very different than outright denials using irrational language and depicting Iran as a harmless, as well as purposefully ignoring the facts on the ground in southern Iraqi provinces!
Defending Iran will harm the political process in Iraq and cause a rift between its citizens on matters of national interest that should not be debated. Of course it is important to also understand the sensitivity of the Iranian question within the social, ethnic, and sectarian divisions in Iraq .
Whilst I am not one to quote the dead, a practice very common amongst Arab journalists, god is my witness as I recall the bitterness that Mohammed Bakri Hakim, head of the SCIRI, expressed during a meeting at his office in Tehran, a few years ago, as he complained of Iranian interference in the affairs of the Badr Brigade, the group’s armed wing.
I fear the SCIRI will alienate itself by becoming a front for Iranian policies and its leaders lawyers for Iranian policies. I do not call for a break in relations with Tehran but an invitation to separate national standpoints from foreign alliances.