Posted by: Lister | February 9, 2007

Who’s Iraqing the boat?

I’ve been reading claims that Iran doesn’t need to rock the boat in Iraq since many of the politicians that America praises in the ‘new democracy’ are former exiles who spent time in Iran.

Here’s the WPost (Dec 2004):

Another 25 candidates were drawn from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an exile party based in Iran since the 1980s and a participant in the interim government.

But the UIA’s other main party is Daawa, brought into the alliance by one time front-runner for prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari who, according to this United Iraqi Alliance article at wiki also spent time in Iran. al-Jaafari moved to London in 1989, and his children still live there.

Al-Jaafari’s replacement as choice for prime minister was Nouri al-Maliki. He spent his years of exile first in Iran, then Syria.

Here’s a little history on Daawa al islamiyah (“Invitation to Islam”) .

The party supported Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran, although they disagreed on whether an Islamic government should be led by clerics or lay-people. In return, Daawa was supported by Iran, especially during the Iran-Iraq war. Incidently, Khomeini was in exile in Iraq until they kicked him out and he went to France.

Daawa was labeled a terrorist organisation, it having attempted to assassinate Saddam and Tariq Aziz, and (suicide?) bombed American and French embassies in Kuwait.

Saddam’s brutal crack down forced many in the Daawa party into exile.

Ezzedine Salim (killed in a bombing in May 2004, when he held the rotating presidency of the Iraqi Governing Council), spent a short time in Kuwait as a teacher, then moved to Iran to be an editor for SCIRI, he returned to Iraq after the American invasion and headed Daawa al Islamiyah.

Jalal Talabani is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. He left Iraq after Saddam used chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988, seeking refuge in Iran. (NB: That link is to the BBC)

And relations between Iraq and these former exiles doesn’t seem to have cooled. Talabani ‘trusts in Iran support’ (Nov 2005). I like Aunty Beeb’s comment:

Mr Talabani’s trip to Iran is the first by an Iraqi head of state since former President Abdul Rahman Muhammad Arif visited in the late 1960s. The two countries were at war from 1980 to 1988.

Surely they could have mentioned Talabani’s previous addresses. They are not ignorant of his history, the info above is from the BBC!

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim condemns US over capture of Iranian diplomats (Jan 2007). And, surprise, the Beeb decides to tell us this time that “Mr Hakim also has close links to Iran, after many years in exile there.” From wiki: “al-Hakim went into exile in Iran in 1980, where he was a founding member in 1982 of SCIRI and headed their military wing, the Badr Organization.”

So it’s something of a mystery why Iran would want to encourage violence in Iraq. Surely they want America to leave, so that parties friendly to Iran can become good neighbours.


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