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Why are the Iraqis in Saudi Arabia? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Whilst most Iraqi politicians are visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki called on neighboring states to stop acting like “guardians” of his country. Is al Maliki aware of what is happening around him? It doesn’t seem so!

Most of those who attacked Iyad Allawi for visiting Saudi Arabia before the Iraqi elections are visiting Riyadh today, so what has changed? Have they been relieved of the pressure of al Maliki? Or have they been relieved of the obstacle of the Iraqi elections? [The change] might be due to both reasons but what’s more important is that most Iraqi politicians have realized the significance of Iraq returning to its natural environment for internal reasons and also because of Iran’s own isolation and internal division.

Iraqi politicians have realized that the importance of Iran today lies in suspension and not facilitation. The result of the recent Iraqi elections – even if the difference was two votes – was equivalent to a second blow to Iran in the region after the recent election in Lebanon, as the Iranian project failed in both countries, despite what the Iranians did in Iraq. Suffice it to mention what US Vice President [Joe Biden] said about Tehran spending up to 100 million dollars on the Iraqi elections.

The Iranian project failed in Iraq not because of other countries interfering, which is what al Maliki and others are trying to claim today, inasmuch as it was due to the sense of nationalism that pushed the Iraqis to make a difference. The Iraqi politician cannot ignore this. Moreover, the international isolation of Iran is no longer a secret, and in fact, on an Arab level, the comments made by Syrian President Bashar al Assad on the need for serious consideration in studying a proposal for an association of Arab neighboring countries that was proposed by Arab League Secretary General Mr. Amr Musa must be read very carefully.

Al Assad’s statement shows two things; the first is that Syria and the Arabs do not want a role for neighboring countries even if it is Turkey, for example, because that would mean dwarfing the Arab role. Moreover, Turkey has become an Arab state, not a bridge or mediator between the Arabs and the West or between the Arabs and Israel. [Secondly it shows that], the Arabs also do not want Iran to have a role in their own affairs for two reasons; the first is that there is rejection on the Arab street of Iranian interference in Arab affairs and this was made clear in Lebanon and Iraq; [the second reason is that] Tehran is facing increasing international isolation and internal divisions that are still bothering the Mullah regime in Iran.

This all explains what pushed the Iraqi politicians to act and pave the way for a new, old political horizon and one that is natural with the Saudi neighbor. At the same time however it seems that al Maliki is still stuck in winter time and is yet to realize that the season has changed on the political scene around him both internally and externally. Of course, we hope that the Iraqis will always visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and all Arab countries as guests, and we also hope to see Saudi representation in Iraq; however politics is not based on hopes but on interests and facts on the ground and this is what pushed the Iraqi politicians to take the action they are taking today, after it became clear that the Iranian project in the region failed and after seeing Iran’s international isolation and its internal uncertainty.

Therefore, the Iraqi politicians today are acting like clever traders and not putting all their eggs in one basket and this is in precaution of the days ahead.

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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