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Iraqi Funds Still Following in Saddam's Footsteps - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Some people whose credibility cannot be doubted informed me that they recently received a generous financial offer via an intermediary who informed them that a high-ranking Iraqi official wanted to establish a magazine in Lebanon. My sources also told me that a large group of intellectuals and writers from a variety of sects and trends in Lebanon are receiving monthly financial support from Iraq.

Of course this has serious implications, for the financing of intellectuals or the media reveals that the new Iraq – which was supposed to be a State of law and democracy – is following in the footsteps of the Saddam Hussein regime, with regard to the oil coupon scandal [Saddam Hussein using oil coupons as bribes] and other similar scandals. It is also strange that the Iraqi government insists upon strict censorship with regards to publications and the internet, and now we find that there still exist those in Iraq who believe in the buying of intellectuals and the media.

Saddam Hussein financed and funded, and presented [people with] presents under the pretext of defending Arab nationalism; and so under what pretext are those in Iraq now offering financing and funding?

Does this Iraqi official want to [finance a magazine] to campaign for Arabism, for example?

This is something that is hard to believe, for those who want to defend Arabism would first protect Arabism in Iraq, as well as protect Iraqi unity and interests in the face of Persian influence which is infiltrating all aspects of Mesopotamia.

It seems that we are looking at an equation that is just beginning to unfold, and it appears that this alliance with Iran enjoyed by some in Iraq is based upon the following; Iran providing political and security protection to its allies in Iraq, as Tehran is in possession of a number of political and religious links [to its Iraqi allies]. In return for this, Tehran’s Iraqi allies protect Iran’s interests in the Arab world with regards to financing and more. This explains the proliferation of Arab satellite channels that have affiliation to Iran and its proxies in the Arab world, as well as the proliferation of newspapers, websites, and books which serve Iranian goals in our region.

Unfortunately the financing and arming of Iranian allies in our region take place in a variety of different ways. This was something indicated by the Yemeni Foreign Minister [Abu Bakr al-Qirbi] when he said that the Huthi insurgents in Yemen are being financed by religious groups affiliated to Iran. This is not just via Iraq, but even via some countries in the Arab Gulf.

If we were to take a closer look at what Hezbollah is doing in Lebanon, the best example of this can be seen in the firing of rockets from the south into northern Israel, as well as the attempts to embroil Lebanon in a war that has nothing to do with it, we can only imagine what might happen to the region, and particularly the Arab Gulf, should Iran gain full control of a financially, demographically, and geographically important country like Iraq. If the geographically small country of Lebanon has caused us such trouble and confusion, what about a country as large as Iraq?

What we want to say is that what we are facing is not an attempt to win over intellectuals or the media, rather it is a major plot which we will all fall victim to in the coming days. This means that in addition to the crises that we are dealing with today, we are also facing a complex religious and political conflict as well.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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