Mid-East Realitieswww.middleeast.org

26 February 2006

News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know

Who really bombed the Golden Dome is in much doubt

"The bombing was technically well conceived and could only
have been carried out by specialists."

"The belief that the attack was the work of American and Israeli covert-
operations (Black-ops) is widespread throughout the region."

MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 26 February: Just who really bombed the Golden Dome in Samarra a few days ago? Just who really benefits the most from this historic act that may have reshuffled the political geostrategic deck in Iraq and in the region? There's a long history now in the Middle East of covert operations blamed on others in order to justify actions the powers that be are determined to pursue. There's a long history now of both European and American subterfuge, deception, secret agreements, and 'black ops', throughout the Middle East region by different powerful countries at different times. There's a long history now of Israeli Mossad operations of various kinds for various reasons in Arab countries and beyond - in recent years more and more coordinated with the Americans. And in the U.S. there is now considerable evidence of government deception, lies, and manipulations of its own citizens as well as the world at large in order to pursue imperialistic policies that have in the end often resulted in such terrible bloodshed and hatred. Friday President Bush again loudly fingered Iran as behind the 'terrorism' taking place throughout the Middle East, further trying to establish in the public mind justification for what the U.S. and Israel are doing and planning vis-a-vis Iran. And when it comes to the much-in-the-news U.A.E. these days the underlying reality is that the largest U.S. military port and base in the region, and one strategically placed at such a crucial geopolitical location near Iran and the oil shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf, is the U.A.E. And so....taken all together...what is really going on these days in the Middle East is really more about the future and Iran now than it is about Iraq and in a sense the past there.

Iraq shrine bombing was specialist job: minister

By Agence France Presse

02/25/06 "AFP" -- -- The bombing of a revered Shiite shrine which sparked a wave of violence in Iraq was the work of specialists, Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar said Friday, adding that the placing of the explosives must have taken at least 12 hours.

"According to initial reports, the bombing was technically well conceived and could only have been carried out by specialists," the minister told Iraqia state television.

Jaafar, who toured the devastated thousand-year-old shrine on Thursday a day after the bombing which brought down its golden dome, said "holes were dug into the mausoleum's four main pillars and packed with explosives."

"Then the charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance," the minister added.

To drill into the pillars would have taken at least four hours per pillar, he also estimated.

Damage to the mausoleum, holding the tombs of the 10th and 11th Shiite Imams, was extensive.

"The dome was completely wrecked and collapsed on the tombs which were covered over by debris. The shrine's foundations were also affected as 40 percent of the power of the blast was directed inwards," he added.

"It's a historic site, a symbol of Iraqi culture and must be treated as such," he said, adding that he would call on Iraqi officials and on UNESCO to help rebuilt the golden mosque.

Jaafar said he survived a double bomb attack while returning from Samarra when blasts went off in front of his convoy and behind it.

Whose Bombs were they?
By Mike Whitney

02/25/06 "ICH" -- -- “We should stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war. We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq’s unity.” Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

There’s no telling who was behind the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque. There were no security cameras at the site and it’s doubtful that the police will be able to perform a thorough forensic investigation.

That’s too bad; the bomb-residue would probably provide clear evidence of who engineered the attack. So far, there’s little more to go on than the early reports of four men (three who were dressed in black, one in a police uniform) who overtook security guards at the mosque and placed the bombs in broad daylight.

It was a bold assault that strongly suggests the involvement of highly-trained paramilitaries conducting a well-rehearsed plan. Still, that doesn’t give us any solid proof of what groups may have been involved.

The destruction of the Samarra shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, has unleashed a wave of retaliatory attacks against the Sunnis. More than 110 people were reported killed by the rampaging Shia. More than 90 Sunni mosques have been either destroyed or badly damaged. In Baghdad alone, 47 men have been found scattered throughout the city after being killed execution-style with a bullet to the back of the head. The chaos ends a week of increased violence following two major suicide bombings directed against Shia civilians that resulted in the deaths of 36 people.

The public outrage over the desecration of one of the country’s holiest sights has reached fever-pitch and it’s doubtful that the flimsy American-backed regime will be able to head-off a civil war.

It is difficult to imagine that the perpetrators of this heinous attack didn’t anticipate its disastrous effects. Certainly, the Sunni-led resistance does not benefit from alienating the very people it is trying to enlist in its fight against the American occupation. Accordingly, most of the prominent Sunni groups have denied involvement in the attack and dismissed it as collaboration between American and Iranian intelligence agencies.

A communiqué from “The Foreign Relations Department of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party” denounced the attack pointing the finger at the Interior Ministry’s Badr Brigade and American paramilitaries.

The Ba’ath statement explains:

“America is the main party responsible for the crime of attacking the tomb of Ali al-Hadi…because it is the power that occupies Iraq and has a basic interest in committing it.”

“The escalation of differences between America and Iran has found their main political arena in Iraq, because the most important group of agents of Iran is there and are able to use the blood of Iraqis and the future of Iraq to exert pressure on America. Iran has laid out a plan to embroil America in the Iraqi morass to prevent it from obstructing Iran’s nuclear plans. Particularly since America is eager to move on to completing arrangements for a withdrawal from Iraq, after signing binding agreements on oil and strategy. America believes that without the participation of “Sunni” parties in the regime those arrangements will fail. For that reason ‘cutting Iran’s claws’ has become one of the important requirements for American plans. This is what Ambassador Zalmay spoke of recently when he declared that no sectarian would take control of the Ministries of the Interior or Defense. Similarly, America has begun to publish information that it formally kept hidden regarding the crimes of the Badr Brigade and the Interior Ministry.”

Whether the communiqué is authentic is irrelevant; the point is well taken. The escalating violence may prevent Iraq from forming a power-sharing government which would greatly benefit the Shia majority and their Iranian allies. Many critics agree that what is taking place Iraq represents a larger struggle between the United States and Iran for regional domination.

This theory, however, is at odds with the response of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following the bombing. Khamenei said, “The occupation forces and Zionism, which seeing their plans dissolve, have planned this atrocity to sew hate between Muslims and fuel divisions between Sunnis and Shiites….Do not fall into the enemy trap by attacking mosques and sacred places of your Sunni brothers….The enemy wants nothing more than weakening of the Islamis front right as Muslims with a single voice have been protesting against the continual provocations of their enemies.”

The belief that the attack was the work of American and Israeli covert-operations (Black-ops) is widespread throughout the region as well as among leftist political-analysts in the United States. Journalist Kurt Nimmo sees the bombing as a means of realizing “a plan sketched out in Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” (the balkanization of Arab and Muslim society and culture.) Nimmo suggests that the plan may have been carried out by “American, British or Israeli Intelligence operatives or their double-agent Arab lunatics, or crazies incited by Rumsfeld’s Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) designed to ‘stimulate’ terrorist reaction.”

Nimmo is not alone in his judgment. Other prominent analysts including, Pepe Escobar, Ghali Hassan, AK Gupta, Dahr Jamail, and Christian Parenti all agree that the Bush administration appears to be inciting civil war as part of an exit strategy. Certainly, the Pentagon is running out of options as well as time. Numerous leaked documents have confirmed that significant numbers of troops will have to be rotated out of the theatre by summer. A strategy to foment sectarian hostilities may be the last desperate attempt to divert the nearly 100 attacks per day away from coalition troops and finalize plans to divide Iraq into more manageable statlets.

The division of Iraq has been recommended in a number of policy-documents that were prepared for the Defense Department. The Rand Corporation suggested that “Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides should be exploited to exploit the US policy objectives in the Muslim world.” The 2004 study titled “US Strategy in the Muslim World” was to identify key cleavages and fault-lines among sectarian, ethnic, regional, and national lines to assess how these cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States.” (Abdus Sattar Ghazali; thanks Liz Burbank)

This verifies that the strategy to split up Iraq has been circulating at the top levels of government from the very beginning of the occupation. A similar report was produced by David Philip for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) financed by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation a conservative think-tank with connections to the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute. According to Pepe Escobar:

“The plan would be ‘sold’ under the admission that the recently elected, Shi’ite dominated Jaafari government is incapable of controlling Iraq and bringing the Sunni-Arab guerillas to the negotiating table. More significantly, the plan is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to balkanize Iraq—an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East.”

Is the bombing of the Golden Mosque the final phase of a much broader strategy to inflame sectarian hatred and provoke civil war?

Clearly, many Sunnis, Iranians, and political analysts seem to believe so. Even the Bush administration’s own documents support the general theory that Iraq should be broken up into three separate pieces. But, is this proof that the impending civil war is the work of foreign provocateurs?

The final confirmation of Washington’s sinister plan was issued by Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a New York Times editorial on 11-25-03. The CFR is the ideological headquarters for America’s imperial interventions providing the meager rationale that papers-over the massive bloodletting that inevitably follow. Gelb stated:

“For decades, the United States has worshipped at the altar of a unified Iraqi state. Allowing all three communities within that false state to emerge at least as self-governing regions would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup. But such a course is manageable, even necessary, because it would allow us to find Iraq’s future in its denied but natural past.”

There you have it; the United States is only pursuing this genocidal policy for ‘Iraq’s own good’. We should remember Gelb’s statesman-like pronouncements in the years to come as Iraq slips further into the morass of social-disintegration and unfathomable human suffering.

Shrine attack deals blow to anti-US unity

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Asia Times KARACHI - Spring is only a month away, and preparations for Nauroz (the Persian new year) are well under way. In Iran this year, however, Nauroz was due to come with a deadly dimension: the start of a new phase of a broad-based anti-US resistance movement stretching from Afghanistan to Jerusalem.

Wednesday's attack on a revered shrine in Iraq could change all this.

The presence in Iran of the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic

Jihad, as well as members of the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan, is well known, as is the presence of other controversial figures related to the "war on terror", such as al-Qaeda members. Security contacts have told Asia Times Online that several al-Qaeda members have been moved from detention centers to safe houses run by Iranian intelligence near Tehran.

The aim of these people in Iran is to establish a chain of anti-US resistance groups that will take the offensive before the West makes its expected move against Tehran.

Iran has been referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program, which the US and others say is geared towards developing nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to present a final report to the Security Council next month, after which the council will consider imposing sanctions against Tehran. Many believe that the US is planning preemptive military action against Iran.

With Wednesday's attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra in Iraq, home to a revered Shi'ite shrine, the dynamics have changed overnight.

Armed men detonated explosives inside the mosque, blowing off the domed roof of the building. Iraqi leaders are trying to contain the angry reaction of Shi'ites, amid rising fears that the country is on the brink of civil war. At least 20 Sunnis have been killed already in retaliatory attacks, and nearly 30 Sunni mosques have been attacked across the country.

The potentially bloody polarization in the Shi'ite-Sunni world now threatens to unravel the links that have been established between Shi'ite-dominated Iran and radical Sunni groups from Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The blast in Samarra

Two of the 12 Shi'ite imams - Imam Ali al-Hadi, who died in AD 868, and his son, Imam Hasan al-Askari, who died in 874 - are buried at the mosque. The complex also contains the shrine of the 12th imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi, who is said to have gone into hiding through a cellar in the complex in 878, and is expected to return on Judgment Day.

Nevertheless, the sanctity of the tombs is of equal importance to Sunnis. Like the tombs of the Prophet Mohammed, Imam Ali and Imam Hussain, no self-respecting Muslim, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, would ever think of attacking such a place.

Further, the custodians of the shrine in Samarra have for many centuries been the descendants of Imam Naqi, called Naqvis, and they believe in Sunni Islam, as does the vast majority of the population of Samarra.

The present custodian is Syed Riyadh al-Kilidar, whom this correspondent met before the US attacked Iraq. Riyadh was arrested by US troops after Iraq was invaded, but released after brief detention.

The same is true of the Mosa Kazim Shrine in Baghdad, where the custodians have for many centuries been descendents of Imam Mosa Kazim. They are called Mosavis, and are Sunni Muslim. The previous custodian was Sayed Sabah bin Ibrahim al-Mosavi, whom this correspondent also met before the US invasion. He was a member of the Iraqi parliament during Saddam Hussein's era. After the US invasion he moved to Pakistan. Now the shrine is managed by Najaf Ashraf (al-Hoza).

Impact of the attack on the resistance

Both the Ansar al-Sunnah Army and the Mujahideen Shura Council - an alliance that includes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda-affiliated group - are suspected of perpetrating the attack. Both groups have insurgents operating in Samarra, and have claimed responsibility for attacks against US and Iraqi forces there in recent weeks. No group has claimed responsibility for the Samarra attack.

Given that the sensibilities of both Shi'ites and Sunnis have been violated by the attack, the foreign factor in the Iraqi resistance could be curtailed.

At the same time, escalating sectarian strife will hamper the national resistance movement in cities such as Basra in the south and Baghdad, which have strong Shi'ite populations. People in these areas could quickly turn against what is perceived as a largely Sunni-led resistance, with a strong al-Qaeda link.

Leaders have scrambled to limit the damage. Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani immediately called for seven days of mourning following the attack, and urged Shi'ites to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations. The cleric, who rarely appears in public, could be seen on Iraqi state television in a meeting with other leading ayatollahs.

Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who was in Lebanon as part of a regional tour, headed back to Iraq to join his supporters, who were already out in full force. Speaking to al-Jazeera television on Wednesday, Muqtada blamed all parties in the ongoing Iraq conflict for the attack. "It was not the Sunnis who attacked the shrine of Imam al-Hadi ... but rather the occupation; the Takfiris [those who accuse other Muslims of being infidels], al-Nawasib [a derogatory reference to those who declare hostilities against others] ... and the Ba'athists," he said. "We should not attack Sunni mosques. I ordered the [Imam] al-Mehdi Army to protect the Shi'ite and Sunni shrines and to show a high sense of responsibility, something they actually did."

The violence comes at a time that Iraqi leaders are trying to form a new coalition government that will bring Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds together. This process, like the resistance, is now also in jeopardy, as calls for separate, quasi-independent regions are bound to intensify.

The anti-US resistance movement had wanted to use Shi'ite Iran as the final base to link the resistance groups of this whole region. If the current volatile situation results in Shi'ites sitting on one side, and Sunnis and al-Qaeda-linked groups on the other, this is unlikely to happen.

Instead, Iraq could become a new battlefield, not only against US-led forces, but between different factions. Iran, meanwhile, would be left to deal with the West on its own.

Syed Saleem Shahzad, Bureau Chief, Pakistan Asia Times

Payback time in Iraq
By Sami Moubayed

Asia Times DAMASCUS - With violence escalating in the wake of Wednesday's explosives attack on the Shi'ite Golden Mosque in Samarra, the situation in Iraq is as close to civil war as it has been since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.

Even appeals by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, regarded as the wise man of Iraq, for Shi'ites not to engage in retaliatory attacks against Sunnis seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Hundreds of people have died in a wave of bloodletting over the past few days, and a number of Sunni mosques have been attacked.

All the usual suspects

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has heightened the frenzy of finger-pointing.

Many in Iraq, and the Americans, would like to believe that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda and former Ba'athists are behind all evil in Iraq. US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has openly accused Zarqawi of the attack, saying that no one but the al-Qaeda leader would benefit from seeing Iraq crumble into sectarian violence.

After all, the Iraqi Ba'athists and al-Qaeda perfectly fit "criminal" descriptions. Both are "terrorist" as they are a part of the Iraqi resistance, both hate the Americans, and both are opposed to the post-Saddam order. And as important, the Ba'athists and al-Qaeda happen to be Sunnis, making them a suitable enemy, in the US world view, of the Iraqi Shi'ites.

It is highly doubtful, however, that Zarqawi or the Ba'athists would commit such a crime against such a holy place. First, al-Qaeda attacks are usually deadly. Bombs go off and hundreds are killed. Had al-Qaeda wanted to inflict pain, it would have detonated the bombs in broad daylight, during prayer time on a Friday. It is clear that this attack was intended to ignite tension, not to kill - nobody was in the initial attack.

Al-Qaeda certainly is capable of terrorism, but what would its Iraqi branch or the Ba'athists achieve by destroying parts of the Imam Hasan al-Askari shrine? It is not a political symbol of the post-Saddam era, such as the National Assembly, or the office of the Iraqi president.

Nor was it occupied by a prominent Shi'ite cleric, such as Sistani, who has to some extent been cooperating with the Americans. Al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists do not want Iraq to settle and democratize, especially not under Shi'ite control, but they also do not want to endanger Sunnis, many of whom have been giving them money, arms and sanctuary, since 2003.

The leaders of al-Qaeda would realize that an attack of this kind would automatically be blamed on the Sunnis. It would be like shooting oneself in the foot. If the Sunnis are collectively punished and terrorized into abandoning the insurgency, out of fear for their lives and property, then they would turn their backs on Zarqawi and the resistance.

It is very likely that this crime was committed specifically to be blamed on Zarqawi and the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. Many would gain from incriminating the Sunni insurgency, including the United States and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Accused of having been too soft on the insurgency since 2005, Jaafari could use such an inflamed atmosphere to crack down with unprecedented force on rebels in the Sunni Triangle.

Another party that could benefit from the unrest that has been created is Shi'ite Iran, the ally of Iraq's Shi'ites. Tehran could use the event to enflame Shi'ite emotions in Iraq, and in the meantime let the US drag on with its war on the Sunnis. Already, a number of moderate Sunnis have accused Iran of sending arms to the Sunni insurgency. This would escalate the war with US-led forces, thereby weakening both the Sunni militias and the Americans, strengthening nobody but the Iraqi Shi'ites and pleasing nobody but the mullahs of Tehran.

Another suspect is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Iran-backed leader of the powerful Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

At first glance it would seem absurd for someone as devout as Hakim to commit such a crime on one of the holiest shrines in Shi'ite Islam. A closer look, however, would show that the attack very carefully inflicted minimal damage on Shi'ites. Not a single Shi'ite was killed in the bombing. Yet it gave the Shi'ites reason to take to the streets, demonstrate and terrorize the Sunni community, in supposed retaliation.

It gave them the justification to strike at a traditional enemy. The Iran-backed Shi'ites are not pleased at the new honeymoon between the US and the Iraqi Sunni community because it threatens to curb the influence that the Shi'ites achieved for themselves after Saddam's downfall in 2003.

Already, the Americans have talked the Sunnis into running for the Iraqi assembly. and they won a total of 59 votes. Thus the Shi'ites don't have a majority to form a cabinet without support from the Sunnis. Also, the Americans reason that once the Sunnis are in government, they will share the responsibility of reconstruction and in bringing security to Iraq. They would influence the Sunni community into abandoning the insurgency waged by al-Qaeda and ex-Ba'athists in exchange for guaranteed posts in the new Iraq.

The SCIRI sees the Sunni danger on the immediate horizon. The attack on the Golden Mosque would give them enough reason to argue against working with the Sunnis. This single event is enough to be used by Shi'ite leaders to play the permanent victim and demand that they maintain control of the ministries of Defense and the Interior, arguing that if they go to Sunnis, or a secular Shi'ite, similar attacks could occur on the symbols of their faith.

An alarming announcement was made by Vice President Adel Abdul-Mehdi, a ranking leader in the SCIRI, who said that religious militias should be given a bigger security role if the government was not capable of maintaining security. Abdul-Mehdi would also gain from the bombing, to discredit Jaafari, who defeated him by one vote in inter-Shi'ite elections for the premiership.

Jaafari's many enemies say he has failed to bring security to Iraq. "Black Wednesday" only proves the accusations made against the prime minister. "If its security agencies are not able to guarantee the needed security, then the believers are able to do that with God's help," were the words used.

This would mean, in effect, that the SCIRI's Badr Organization be used to complement the Iraqi army. It would mean that the Shi'ites get to keep an armed militia, in effect a state within a state, to avoid persecution as had been done to them under Saddam.

Speaking on state-run al-Iraqiyya television, Abdul-Mehdi said, "The government should give a bigger role to the people." He was talking about the Shi'ite people of Iraq. And he was specifically talking about the SCIRI.

Political stalemate

All of this violence comes as Iraq stands in political paralysis over the formation of a new cabinet. The Shi'ites are bitter that they have to share power with the Sunnis and the Kurds and cannot rule Iraq on their own with a parliamentary majority, as they did in 2005.

They are angry that the Americans have abandoned them in fear of bringing a religion-driven Shi'ite administration to power that would want to create an Iran-style theocracy in Iraq.

Although Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr helped Jaafari win the Shi'ite elections by persuading his followers to back Jaafari, the Shi'ite community remains divided because the SCIRI is not satisfied with the Muqtada-Jaafari alliance.

The seculars are also not pleased, and the bloc of former premier Iyad Allawi has demanded that it be given the portfolio of Defense or Interior in the new Jaafari cabinet, something that Muqtada, a declared opponent of Allawi, will clearly veto.

The bombing of the Shi'ite shrine temporarily unites the Shi'ite community, but this solidarity will fall apart within days as domestic issues surface in inter-Shi'ite rivalries.

Certainly, more endangered than the Shi'ites from the events of "Black Wednesday" are the Sunnis. They are (justifiably) blamed for many of the crimes committed under Saddam, although not all of them benefited from his rule. Millions of Sunnis were persecuted under Saddam in a manner no less brutal than the dictator's dealings with the Kurds and the Shi'ites.

After paying the price in 2003-05, the Sunnis realized that refusing to cooperate with the post-Saddam order would not make it go away, nor would it restore the status the Sunni community had enjoyed since the creation of Iraq in the 1920s.

They thus wisely entered politics, insisting on keeping Iraq united and on liberating it from the US Army. They obstructed the SCIRI's demands to create an autonomous Shi'ite state in southern Iraq, which would have meant the Shi'ites would be given oil in the south, the Kurds would have had oil in the north, and the Sunnis would be left with nothing in the middle.

With the latest events, the SCIRI has gotten back at the Sunnis. On Thursday, the Sunni bloc announced that it would suspend its talks on cabinet formation. Its leaders blamed the United Iraqi Alliance (the Shi'ite bloc that won the most seats in December's polls) for sectarian violence and for deliberately failing to protect Sunnis and their mosques.

Tarek al-Hashemi of the Iraqi Accordance Front said, "We are suspending our participation in negotiations on the government with the Shi'ite alliance." The Front won 44 of the 275 seats in the assembly, much to the displeasure of the Shi'ites.

"If the price of participating in the political process is the blood of our people, then we are not willing to go back on this. This atmosphere does not help the resumption of negotiations," said a Front spokesman. This is exactly what the SCIRI wanted. It wanted the Sunnis to walk away.

At this point it really is not very important to know who planted the explosives in the Shi'ite shrine. It is also very unlikely that any group will claim responsibility, or that the authorities will capture the real culprits.

What matters is that parts of the Golden Mosque were destroyed, igniting Shi'ite hatred against the Sunni community. They almost saw it as a blessing in disguise as justification to strike back at Sunnis.

The Sunnis are paying the price for refusing to carve up Iraq. They are paying the price for refusing Iranian intervention in Iraqi affairs. And they are paying the price for ending their boycott of the Iraqi elections and taking their place in Iraqi politics. If matters are not immediately controlled, Iraq might never be the same after "Black Wednesday".

Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst.

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