Aug 24, 2019, 5:45 PM
Journalist ID: 2382
News Code: 83449243
4 Persons
Iran disfavors Iraq to become venue for Tehran-Washington differences

Tehran, Aug 24, IRNA - The head of the Arabic Center for Iranian Studies said that the attacks on Hashd-al Sha’abi (Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces) bases are aimed at exerting pressure on Iran, and emphasized that Iraq's security is very important to Iran and Tehran does not want Iraq to be a point of contention between Tehran and Washington or any other country.

In an interview with IRNA on Saturday, Mohammad Saleh Sedqian referred to the explosions at the ammunition depot and Shia bases, and noted that Iraqi bases and munitions depots of Hashd-al Sha’abi have so far been blown up four times which many believed to be the result of the attacks on the depots.

The expert on Iraqi affairs in response by the Iraqi government and groups to the blasts reiterated that so far, the Iraqi commander-in-chief, who is in fact the prime minister, has not responded to the attacks and has not issued a statement saying why the bases and ammunition depots have been exploded, how did they explode and who were the perpetrators of the explosions, and the lack of taking position on the part of the Iraqi Prime Minister has added to the ambiguity.

Contrary to the Prime Minister's inaction, the explosions have caused many reactions in Iraq and have caused much concern in Iraq because these bases are owned by Hashd-al Sha’abi and groups are fearful of repetition of conflict and instability in Iraq.

Referring to ambiguities surrounding the blasts, the analyst highlighted that few days ago, Deputy Chief of Hashd-al Sha’abi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis issued a statement, blaming the US and Israel for the attacks and explosions, and stated that the Americans by using Israeli drones and their bases in Erbil, Iraq, has targeted bases and depots of Hashd-al Sha’abi.

The foreign policy analyst went on to say that immediately after the remarks, Hashd-al Sha’abi chief Faleh al- Fayaz dismissed Abu Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis' remarks, and insisted that those were his personal views, not those of Hashd-al Sha’abi or the Iraqi government. This has added to the ambiguity and complexity of the case.

In explaining the hypothesis about the explosions, Sedqian stated that the first hypothesis is that the explosions were due to attacks by Zionist forces. Another hypothesis is that the attacks were carried out by Americans. The third hypothesis is that the explosions occurred due to improper storage of ammunition.

He said the third hypothesis is very weak, underlining Iraqi officials have so far dismissed the role of Israel and the US in the attacks, saying they were investigating the matter, but it appears to have been carried out in cooperation with Israel.

The head of the Arabic Center for Iranian Studies underscored that the drones might also be Israeli and reiterated it is unlikely that the drones were flying from Israel. The drones are probably at US bases in Iraqi Kurdistan and the US is responsible for the blasts.

Sedqian emphasized that the attacks were intended to exacerbate pressure on Iran, stating that John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and other senior US officials have repeatedly claimed that the United States is seeking to cut off Iran's hand in Iraq. They now want to counter Iranian supporters and allies in Iraq by attacking and weakening Hashd-al Sha’bi. In fact, the United States is planning a proxy war in Iraq against Iran.

That Americans say they want to cut off Iran's hand in Iraq has two aspects, he said. One aspect is the economy that they want to make zero the economic cooperation between Iran and Iraq, and the other is security and military cooperation.

The United States and Israel will not be satisfied with anything less than the destruction of the Hashd-al Sha’bi, and the Trump administration will put a lot of pressure on the government of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to dissolve Hashd-al Sha’bi", the Iraqi expert said, noting that the Hashd-al Sha’bi is one of the influential parts of the axis of the resistance and the destruction of the axis of resistance are among the essential goals of the US and Israel.

Americans in Iraq have taken two kinds of response to these attacks. On the one hand, some US officials, as well as US embassy staff, say the attacks were carried out by Israel, but we were aware of it. On the other hand, they say that these attacks have nothing to do with us, the expert stated.

He said the US ambiguous response to the attacks was due to their fear of the situation in Iraq, stating that at least 8,000 American advisers were present in Iraq, but some estimates put the number at 20,000. They are afraid of the reaction of Hashd-al Sha’abi to these attacks, and therefore have shown vague stances towards these attacks.

What is clear is that Iran's will is not Iraq turned into a point of contention between Tehran and Washington or Iran and Saudi Arabia, but the Americans have done so," the Iraq expert said. Maintaining Iraq's security is very important for Iran, as increasing insecurity in Iraq will affect Iran, the expert concluded.

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