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Observers of Iraqi affairs cannot help but be astonished when looking at the extent of decline in electoral competition, and indeed [when looking at] the concern for Iran which is greater than the concern for Iraq itself. A good example of this is what is being faced by Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi who is facing personal attacks that exceed all limits, along with former Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Ayad Allawi.

For at the same time that al-Hashimi is grappling with defending purely national issues, demanding the rights of Iraqis living abroad, objecting to the election law that prevented Iraqis living abroad from exercising their right to vote, some in Iraq made personal attacks against al-Hashimi, portraying him as a sectarian figure that cares only for the Sunnis. This is untrue, for the Iraqis living abroad are not all Sunnis, and not all of them were affiliated to the Baathists.

The problem is that some people have a short memory, and have forgotten that the Christians of Iraq, and members of other [religious] communities, were subject to systematic repression which led to them departing their country, not to mention the other Iraqis who left immediately after the collapse of the former regime, therefore al-Hashimi defending the rights of Iraqis living abroad is not a sectarian issue, as we mentioned previously, but a national issue.

This is not all, for now we have an even clearer example, from the series of attacks targeting al-Hashimi and Allawi, and prior to this of course, [Iraqi Interior Minister] Jawad al-Bolani made against the backdrop of the bloody attacks on Baghdad. In order to clarify the picture we must monitor what is happening today in Iraq following Iran’s aggression against the Fakka oil well; for while al-Hashimi and Allawi’s [political] bloc criticized the Iranian aggression against the Iraqi oil well, and Tariq al-Hashimi defended his country’s territory, explicitly accusing Iran of having ambitions for Iraq and its resources, and [accusing] Tehran of being behind the regional instability, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made personal attacks against al-Hashimi, accusing him of being a failed army officer!

So here is the Dawa party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq with their poisonous criticism of “the media escalation against Iran” and by this of course they mean Allawi and al-Hashimi. In fact, they are trying to connect all those who protested against the Iranian occupation of the Fakka oil well with the former regime. So we see the Dawa party leadership figure Ali al-Adeeb say that anybody who escalates the issue with regards to the occupation of the Fakka oil well is utilizing the culture of aggravation, and indeed the culture of Saddam Hussein. At this point it is sufficient to recall the words of Iraqi List MP Alia Nassif Jassim when she said “all members of the Council of Representatives expressed their surprise at the lack of discussion on the Iranian violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and despite the importance of this issue we find the silence of politician [on this] to be very embarrassing.”

All of this confirms what I said in my previous article “The Iranians Have Done Good in Iraq” (published 20 December 2009) which is that Tehran’s occupation of the Fakka oil well will help the Iraqis in finding out who is with Iraq and the people of Iraq, and who is with Iran, even if this comes at the expense of the occupation of Iraqi soil. This also will help to reveal to the Iraqis which journalists and writers belong to Tehran, as well as which politicians in their country are affiliated to Iran. This Iranian mistake of occupying the Fakka oil well is important due to its good timing for helping the Iraqis to make their decision at the forthcoming elections.

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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