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Iraq…Why the Tension? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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After a long silence, and after everybody [else] spoke out and there is no longer a need to talk about Iran’s occupation of the Fakka oil well in Iraq, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki broke his silence. He said, “No one thought that Iraq today, which is busy suffering at the hands of terrorists, sectarianism, murderers, and destroyers, would remain silent about any transgressions against its land, sea or air.” He added, “The sovereignty of the land is threatened by more than one party, but no one will be able to violate this sovereignty after today.”

The following popular saying applies to Mr. al Maliki’s comments: ‘We destroyed a house last year, and its dust came this year,’ as he made his comments way after the lines have been drawn and the positions of all Iraqis became apparent. However what’s strange is that after the occupation of the Iraqi Fakka oil well by Iranian forces, I, like many others, wrote about the danger of what happened. The article was called ‘The Iranians Have Done Good in Iraq,’ based on the consideration that the occupation will help Iraqis, or let us say the Iraqi voters, discover who are Tehran’s men in Baghdad, because they will not dare say a word about Iran, even if it was occupying an Iraqi oil well. Some comments were made about us in some Iraqi media affiliated to the government that can only be described as insults and accusations, as the media affiliated to the Dawa Party and the Islamic Supreme Council launched a violent attack on me and other colleagues at our newspaper, and they cast the worst accusations against us, as well as insults and instigations, whilst Mr. Nuri al Maliki comes out today to say that Iraq “will not remain silent” in the face of any violations against his land!

The question here is: why the tension, and why the media campaigns when al Maliki is coming out today to defend Iraq, its “land, sea and air,” in his own words.

Why are we thought of as sectarian and as traitors? Most importantly, the main, real reason for the recent speech in defense of Iraq, after a long silence, is the fear of the results of the upcoming Iraqi elections – the preparations for which are in full swing today.

Mr. al Maliki, and those around him, have just discovered that time is running out for them, whilst Arab public opinion, regardless of its inconsistencies (ideological and otherwise) is striving towards defending Iraqi soil, and ignoring all other issues, whether they are to do with sectarianism or anything else, as there have been demonstrations against- and condemnation of- the Iranian occupation of the Iraqi oil well. The Iraqis who are enthusiastic about Iraq have begun to vary on the Iraqi radar, as there is a difference between those who came out denouncing the Iranian transgression against the Iraqi oil well and between, for example, Ali al Adeeb, a senior member of the Dawa Party who said that whoever further escalates the matter of the Fakka oil well belongs to a culture of aggravation and shares the culture of Saddam Hussein!

Therefore, any talk today about defending Iraqi soil, and about Iraq not “remaining silent” over any violations of its land, is merely for electoral reasons and is an attempt to ward off whoever can be warded off before the upcoming Iraqi elections. It is also evidence of the clear confusion of the Dawa Party and the Islamic Supreme Council as a result of the noticeable progress enjoyed by their political opponents on the ground in Iraq.

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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