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Iraqi sources in Kuwait: Iran increasing its influence in southern Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kuwait City, Asharq al-Awsat – On a recent visit to Kuwait as part of a high- level delegation, several Iraqi figures revealed to their Kuwaiti counterparts classified information about the current social and political situation in Iraq and the extent of Iranian meddling. They also confirmed that a mass exodus of Sunnis was taking place and said Iranian designs were being assisted by this migration and the continued boycott of the political process by some Arab Sunnis as well as their support for the insurgency.

According to the Iraqi figures, security and municipal establishments in southern Iraq have fallen under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Iranian agents were now focusing on garnering ideological support after ensuring their security control over the area through a number of militias and the purging all those opposed them, politically, socially, and culturally.

The visiting delegation pointed out that Tehran was putting pressure on schools and universities, and appointing teachers that were loyal to it. It was also flooding educational establishments with books and manuals from Iranian-financed publishing houses, radio stations, and television channels as well as distributing publications by the Lebanese group Hezbollah which it has long backed.

Of the estimated two million Iranians to have traveled to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the delegation indicted that 1.6 million have returned home while the others are alleged to have settled in Iraq and obtained identity cards.

During their visit to Kuwait, the officials described Syrian interference in western Iraq as &#34attempting to sabotage US plans in Iraq&#34, but different from Iranian plans which aim at controlling the south.

The visiting Iraqis feared Tehran might want to repeat its experiment in south Lebanon, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah is dominant. They indicated that the declining support for the US troop presence and the increasingly loud calls for their withdrawal are seen by Iran as evidence of its plans. This was worrying, especially as the memory of Saigon when it was captured by Vietnamese troops in 1975 following the departure of American troops was still fresh in everyone”s minds.

Lamenting the departure of many Sunni families, the Iraqi delegation indicated that those still living in Iraq were contributing, perhaps unwillingly, to Iranian plans by boycotting the political process and backing the insurgency, stressing that the boycott of the elections, earlier this year, was a costly mistake.

Ongoing discussions aimed at establishing a broad national alliance, in which former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was playing a prominent role, were praised by the high-ranking officials who expressed their hope for a unified strategy ascribed by all groups.

This was especially needed, they said, after the Kurdish groups, led by President Jalal Talabani expressed their discontent and frustration with the viewpoints of Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari and his Shiaa coalition. Arab Sunnis, according to the delegation, were taking part in this endeavor promising that the next government will be a legitimate representative government that will work to establish a modern Iraqi state.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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