Tag Archives: Iraq

Nouri Al Maliki wants Vilayat-e Faqih for #Iraq?

18 Jun

Former Iraq PM Nouri Al Maliki

Iraq’s’ president Haider al-Abbadi is in Iran, again. This is his second visit in 10 months.

According to my colleague Imran Khan, he is in Tehran to:

seek reassurances from the Iranians that they will allow him to be in complete control of the armed forces.

By armed forces he is referring to the Shia militia umbrella group called Hashd Al Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). It claims to have 100,000 fighters.

The PMF consists of Shia militia such as the Badr Brigade, Asaib Ahl Haq and others. It also includes a small number of Sunni tribal fighters. Their goal is to fight and destroy ISIS.

It is believed that until now Iran has exercised great control over the military command and activities of this group. It seems now that Iraq’s PM wants to e in charge, and not Iran.

What I find particular interesting in Imran’s latest article was the remark made by Mohammed Jasim al-Dadhim, who is a professor at the Islamic jurisprudence college at Baghdad University.

Professor Al Dadhim states that Iraq’s former president Nouri Al Maliki is trying to implement the Vilayat-e Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) system, which is currently ruling Iran. One of the most notable features of such a system is a supreme leader who has more political power than anyone else.

While its true that Al Maliki is close to the leadership in Iran, I think such an observation deserves to be questioned.

If Vilayat-e Faqih is implemented in Iraq, it would mean that if Maliki does return to power again as Prime Minister (something which many believe he wants to do) under the Vilayat-e Faqih system, he would be subordinate to the position of the supreme leader. However under the current system, he would hold the highest political office in his country.

Why would Al Maliki want to reduce his own potential influence? Why would any politician?

Video report: How an Iraqi Shia survived an #ISIS massacre

12 Oct

Meet Ali Hussein Kadhim.

All the soldiers of his unit in the Iraqi army were bound and shot by ISIS soldiers.

Somehow he survived and escaped.

In the New York Times video report below, you will see how.

His survival is an amazing story, so is his escape back to his home in a Shiite area. He had to go through a Sunni area while ISIS forces were looking for him.

It reminded me of escape stories from Nazi soldiers during WWII.

Warning: the video contains disturbing images.

#Iraq army v #ISIS: all hope is lost

6 Oct

Many Iraqi soldiers preffered to escape from ISIS, and in some cases for good reason.

I tried not to come up with such an extreme statement, but quite frankly after listening to the podcast below, I couldn’t put it any other way.

All hope is lost. The Iraqi army does not have a chance in hell of beating ISIS. At least not in the short-term.

The Financial Times Middle East and North Africa correspondent Borzou Daragahi filed this podcast from Iraq. In it, you hear the reason why I think this way.

You hear about Iraqi army commanders punishing their own under-equipped soldiers who were lucky enough to escape ISIS attacks. How instead of debriefing these soldiers and helping them, they literally spat on them. About how Iraqi commanders ignored pleas for air support from their units because they believed they were “exaggerating”. The podcast also talks about how sectarianism plays a role in the Iraqi army and the performance of the soldiers.

In my opinion, you can never win a fight as a national army, when many of your soldiers put their sectarian affiliation before their national identity. As a fighting force, ISIS does not have such a problem. Everyone is Sunni. But the Iraqi army does. And its a serious handicap.

Podcast: Under fire: the Iraqi army vs Isis

Documentary: Cross-border Smuggling – Iran-Iraq Border

2 Mar

There are numerous documentaries that have been made on different aspects of life in Iran.

But I have not come across many which look at life outside Tehran.

The documentary below, filmed in Iran’s Kurdistan province is very interesting.

It looks at the life of a number of Iranian Kurdish fuel smugglers who risk their life to smuggle fuel across the border into Iraq, so that they can help their families financially.

Some as young as 13 have to drop out of school to smuggle fuel for a living, and die while doing their job.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

My Tough Debate on Russia Today

3 Feb

Last Thursday I took part in a debate on Russia Today’s Cross Talk program.

It was about Iraq and I was invited to give a more regional, especially Iran focused perspective.

On this program they usually bring 3 people, plus the host. Two generally believe that its mainly the fault of the West and its allies, and one believes the opposite.

So basically it was my opinion against that of the two other people

But sometimes it felt like 1 against 3, as the host seems to feel the same as the two other guests.

You can see and decide for yourself. I think I held my own against the other three. It certainly was not easy.