By Agha Shaukat Jafri
What began in Syria during the spring of 2011 as a simple uprising by a few so-called rebels has blossomed into a brazen and bloody movement led by the Salafi cabal, housed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to topple not just the Syrian regime, but also Iraq and Lebanon from the grip of the Rafadoon (a disparaging term Wahhabi & Salafi use for Shia Muslims) for once and forever. The Master planner, Bandar Bin Sultan, a Saudi prince who has had held numerous important portfolios for his clannish kingdom, was specifically appointed to spearhead this project. The so-called rebels of Syria were quickly released from their duties, as Saudi created affiliates of Al-Qaida International, such as the Al-Nusra front, Ahrar ul Sham and a brand new Jihadi group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq & Sham (ISIS) founded by Saudi Arabia and its underlings in the Gulf States, to get on with the business of exterminating Shia and Sunni Muslims, as well as the Kurds, the Christians, and Druz populations from what they claim was a Salafi landscape. What ensued in Syria during the past three and a half years is all documented in the blood stained pages of history. Almost 160,000 people have lost their lives, and more than 3 million Syrian refugees are hovering on the borders of Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. However, Bashat al Assad is very much in control of all urban centers of his country, and is locked in for another seven years after securing a handsome election victory.
Bandar Bin Sultan, the Chief Architect of this gruesome plan, has kept his eyes on Iraq and Lebanon, and during the past few years has fomented numerous upheavals. Almost in the same time period as when he commenced the Syrian Campaign, Prince Bandar recruited Tariq al-Hasshemi, the then vice president of Iraq, Rafe al Essawi, the then Finance Minister of Iraq and Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the former vice President under Saddam’s Baath regime, and other Salafi tribal leaders to join him in toppling the Shia government of Nouri Kamal Maliki. Tariq al-Hashemi was assigned to organize “Death Squads” to maim and massacre both Shia and Sunni Muslims around Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul, and other Shia enclaves; Rafe al-Essawi acted as his closest confidant. Izzat al-Douri was able to galvanize the Nakshbandi, a Sunni Sufi order that despises Shia even more than the Wahhabi & Salafi do. However. the masterplan started to show flaws in strategy and execution. Sensing the Syrian campaign’s failure, the Salafi cabal got impatient. During the spring of 2013, even king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was overheard enquiring Tariq al-Hashemi of how el- Maleki could still be the Prime Minister of Iraq after spending over 1.5 billion dollars to oust him. Also, Tariq al-Hashemi somehow lost his cover, as his personal bodyguards came forward to testify against him about his involvement with the “Death Squads”. Rather than staying in Iraq and defending himself, he escaped immediately to Qatar. The Iraqi courts, after a lengthy trial, found him guilty and convicted him. Rafe al-Essawi was found to be involved in similar activities, and as of late, he is on the run after losing his job of Finance Minister.
According to Western intelligence agencies, Saudi Arabia, after the fall of Iraq’s Baath regime, was found responsible for facilitating the infiltration of countless insurgents into Iraq to create chaos and confusion so as to ensure that the U.S. and U.K. would not empower the centuries old disenfranchised and persecuted population of Shia Muslims of Iraq. Mssers Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad, the two former U.S. ambassadors to Iraq during that time (2006-2011) have documented disparaging, vindictive and vociferous accusations Saudi princes repeatedly levelled against Shia leadership of Iraq. This did not sit well with the U.S. government that had invested a trillion dollars and lost thousands of lives of its citizens so that Iraqis (Shia, Sunni & Kurd Muslims as well as Christians and Yazedis) could breathe freedom and enjoy civil liberties that were non-existent during the most repressive reign of Baath regime. They defended the Iraqi government, so the mischievous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knowing that the Islamic Republic of Iran was not in the good books of the West, used Iran against Iraq. Iran’s nuclear plants were becoming a huge irritant to the West, and the Saudi lobby went to work around the clock. The wicked Wahhabi cabal exploited the commonalities between Iran and Iraq, such as their close proximity and their shared values and heritage, which was enough to incite the West. Maliki was at once labeled as an Iranian stooge and the Arab world suddenly became infested with the ancient scrooge of Arab & Ajam mindset.
Friday, June 10, 2014 would live in infamy for Iraq and its citizens. It was the day when Iraq lost its second largest city and cultural heart, Mosul, as well as the soul of Mesopotamia, at the hands of the global terrorist network that Saudi Arabia and its underlings in the Gulf States founded, financed, and deployed, first in Syria, and now in Iraq. A preponderance of evidence suggests that the Saudi prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Iraqi fugitive vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraqi fugitive and former Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi, and Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the Baath henchman, were finally able to realize their dream of partitioning Iraq. This mayhem resulted in the massacre of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens, the desecration and destruction of holy shrines, and the devastation of most of the infrastructure that was developed by the U.S. Government. The Iraqi army quickly melted, and while it may be difficult to comprehend their sudden retreat, it must be noted that ISIS was in possession of advanced weaponry that could only have been supplied by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Their advanced armaments, coupled with the local Salafi and Nakshbandi segments of Mosul’s population, won the day for ISIS and its benefactors. It is important to note that the ISIS fighters have so far done an impressive job in outdueling the larger, stronger, and better equipped armies of Syria, Iraq, and as recent as this past weekend, of Lebanon. These accomplishments could never have been possible without the infusion of an extremely large supply of quite superior warheads.
Nouri Kamal Maliki, who has been battling with the Salafi insurgency ever since his first coronation as prime Minister of Iraq in 2007, is now seeking a third term for himself. His opponents are not just Sunni and Kurd Muslims, but also his own Shia caucus, which has been signaling for his departure. However, he is the most experienced politician on the Iraqi horizon at this time, and during his seven year reign, the president’s position was occupied by a Sunni Kurd, the Speaker of the Parliament was a Sunni Arab, one of two vice presidents was a Sunni Arab, and other crucial positions, such as Foreign Affairs and Finance were either occupied by Sunni Arabs or Sunni Kurds. The argument suggesting that he is not inclusive of other ethnic and religious groups, therefore, does not hold any water. Moreover Maliki was extremely kind towards Christians (Asserian & Chaldian) as well as Yezidis and Turkmen during his past two terms. Sunni and Kurd politicians are attempting to deceive the poorly informed and gullible policy makers of Western governments to replace Mr. Maliki because they assume that another Shia Prime Minister would empower them far more and differently than Maliki. Little do they know that Maliki’s replacement could make their lives far more difficult. Maliki has done a masterful job in navigating Iraq, given its past 10 years of bloodshed and destruction, which to some extent was planned, programmed, and budgeted, by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Turkey. Maliki, though, will have to, sooner or later, exit the bloody political scene of Iraq and history will likely remember him as one of the strongest political leaders of his time.
The United States, with its shifting priorities, seems to be quite bewildered as it continues to weigh different options. Almost two months have gone by since the incursion of ISIS, but not much has come out of Washington except some knee-jerk reactions to the most catastrophic developments that are taking place on a daily basis. Pesh Merga, the supposedly invincible Kurdish militia, was pummeled during this past week by the ISIS fighters who conquered important villages that were under Kurdish control. ISIS has now begun to lust for Kirkuk, the oil rich urban enclave that the Kurds opportunistically usurped from the central government’s control during the chaos of Mosul’s fall. Also, The United States is still fiddling with the idea of resurrecting the so-called Sunni Awakening (Sahwa in Arabic) that worked only because the U.S. commanders, desperate in 2006 to showcase a victory, baited and bribed the Sunni tribal leaders to fight against Al-Qaida. Although most of the members of the Sunni Awakening never accepted a Shia takeover of Iraq, they still bilked hundreds of millions of dollars as blood money from the U.S. Treasury. Maliki, a shrewd politician, knew their game, and after Americans left him to his vetting process, did not allow most of these Sunni Awakening fighters to be merged in the Iraqi Armed forces. Now, under the guise of being disenfranchised by Maliki’s Shia government, the same cast of characters plans to fool U.S. policy makers once again. This game-plan will simply not work. “We don’t want a new Sahwa, or Militias that will be targeted or let down later”, said Ahmed Al Jabouri, governor of the Salaheddine province. “We need a formal force connected to the Defense Ministry that can protect our borders, maintain Iraq’s unity, and fight terrorism.”
The modern state of Iraq is part and parcel of Mesopotamia, one of the ancient civilizations in the Middle East; some of its citizenry, such as Asserians and Chaldian Christians, trace their roots to Biblical times. Yazedis, who are neither Christians nor Muslims, are original occupants of this land as well. Muslims, including Shia, Sunni, and Kurds, came much later, but throughout the course of the history of this region, all of these groups had more than their share of bloodshed and sufferings. Now it is ISIS, and prior to them the cruel and criminal Baath regime of Saddam, that masqueraded around and slaughtered human beings like lambs. The United States cannot permit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, or Turkey, to influence its foreign policy; nor can it afford other critical players such as Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan and Iraq, to slip out of its sphere of influence. The formulation of a formidable foreign policy must not be based on a zero-sum thought process, but rather a balancing act that warrants systematic thinking and fair play. It behooves the U.S. and the rest of the West to move fast and take concrete steps to save a civilization.