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Once again, Iran has responded to statements by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal, only in this instance, by way of the Iraqi Interior Minister. His words are eerily similar to those of Taha Yassin Ramadan and Mohammed Said al-Sahaf; they brought back memories of the terminology used by Iraq”s national radio on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait.

Undoubtedly, the Iraqi Minister’s diatribe reveals much about the behavior of Tehran. What Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said about Iranian interference was no well kept secret. Prince Saud al Faisal only named matters as they are. The Iraqi Minister followed a sectarian logic which al Faisal had opposed in his press conference in New York City. When he was asked why Saudi Arabia had refrained from supporting the Sunni community, Prince Saudi al Faisal said, “If we do intervene, it will be to offer support for the stability of Iraq and no one to prefer one sect over the other.”

In his response to Saud al Faisal, Bayan Jabr Solagh, in took pride in Hammurabi’s Code of Laws and attacked the culture of the camel riding Bedouins, as he described them. This when we already know that he belongs to a party which follows the ideology of Khomeini and does not pride itself with Hammurabi; his opportunistic argument is, to say the least, naïve.

However, how will the Interior Minister react to those Iraqis who have repeatedly complained about Iranian meddling? What about Ghazi al Yawer, Iyad Allawi, Hazem al Shaalan, or the cleric Sayyid Iyad Jalameddin and countless other Iraqis who criticize Iranian interference; aren’t they also the sons of Iraq? What of those living in Baghdad who encounter militia men affiliated with Tehran freely moving across their neighborhoods and alleyways? Or Iraqi politicians who speak, behind closed doors, of the disastrous consequences of Iranian involvement but, when asked to publicly comment, angrily reply: “No, their armed brigades are roaming the streets?” All this summarizes al Yawer’s description of the “actions of militias allied to takfir groups who are provoking sectarian conflict”. Today, the Iraqi Minister is following the same logic of the militias and takfir groups (who denounce others as infidels).

Warning of Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs is aimed at ridding our region from people such as the Iraqi Interior Minister and those who follow the same logic. We do not want this part of the world to experience another twenty years of wars and assassinations. We want politicians not tools. We want honorable statesmen not bandits. We want men of reason not spokesmen. This is because we and the people of Iraq want a better future; one where criminals do not become leaders and where government positions are beyond the reach of those who select their language from the murky history of our region.

I write these words well aware I previously chided Saudi Arabia for its late involvement in Iraq, but not meddling in its internal affairs, for there is a difference between the two. Iraq is not an isolated country suspended in the sky; its security is paramount for the security for the region. Trouble in Iraq will bring about misery elsewhere. It is in the interest of Iraq and the region the country remains united, stable, and free from foreign intervention.

We continue to hope and pray Iraq is relieved from Zarqawi and his supporters, granted true statesmen and spared Ministers such as the one who has become a mouthpiece for Tehran.

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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