Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier:  @ejmalrai

Following Iraqi president Barham Saleh’s nomination of Adnan al-Zarfi (Zurufi or Zurfi) as the new Prime Minister, Iraq has entered a critical stage.  The Shia block is divided. The 30 days given to al-Zarfi to nominate his cabinet will lead either to a quorum of the parliament recognising his new cabinet and in consequences to a bloody future that could lead to unrest and even partition of Iraq or absence of a quorum. Why did President Saleh nominate al-Zarfi?

In 2018 Speaker Mohamad Halbousi proposed Barham Saleh as President. The proposal was adopted by “Al-Fateh”, the largest Shia coalition, with the agreement of the Sunni. Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and US presidential envoy Brett McGurk were against the nomination of Saleh. It was Iranian IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani who pushed for Barham Saleh to become president. Saleh, upon his nomination, promised Soleimani to be “better than Mam Jalal” (Uncle Jalal Talibani, one of Iran’s closest allies). Once Saleh was elected, he was asked by the “Al-Fateh” coalition, to nominate Adel Abdel Mahdi as prime minister, and he complied.  One year later, Abdel Mahdi was asked by the Marjaiya in Najaf to resign in response to street demonstrations demanding reforms, necessary infrastructure and better job opportunities.

Soleimani met with Shia leaders who all agreed– with the exception of Hadi al-Ameri, who wanted to be the Prime Minister of Iraq – to nominate Qusay al-Suheil. Al-Fateh forwarded the name to President Barham Salih who refused to appoint al-Suheil and went to Erbil for a few days, enough time for the street to reject the nomination. It was Sayyed Moqtada al Sadr – who rejected the nomination of al Suheil – who then contacted President Saleh and informed him that he represented the largest coalition, called “Sairoon”. Saleh, who feared Moqtada’s reaction, sent a letter to the parliament and the constitutional court asking them to define the “largest coalition”. None managed to respond clearly to this request.

The Iraqi constitution’s definition of the “largest coalition” is elastic and subject to interpretation. President Barham Saleh maliciously threw this apple of discord between the parliament and the constitutional court. It was Nuri al-Maliki who in 2010 introduced a new definition of “large coalition” to beat Ayad Allawi, who had managed to gather 91 MPs and was eligible to form a government. Al-Maliki formed a broad coalition after the MPs took their oaths and established that he was leading the largest coalition, as defined by the final alliances formed after the parliamentary elections, rather than by the poll results.

President Salih told Soleimani that the Shia coalition was divided and that he was not in a position to decide. At the same time, Salih accommodated the Americans who saw that Soleimani’s candidates were failing to win consensual approval. Iran’s Shia allies were effectively contributing to the failure of Soleimani’s efforts to reach an agreement among Shia over a PM nominee.

By forwarding his resignation on November 29, 2019, to President Salih, Adil Abdel Mahdi made it clear he no longer wished return to power. On February 1, Salih nominated Mohamad Allawi on Moqtada al-Sadr’s demand. Moqtada was given the leading role in choosing a candidate following the US assassination of Soleimani at Baghdad’s airport. This leadership was agreed to in Tehran by General Ismail Qaaani, who believed Moqtada should lead all groups because he was the main instigator of the protests. Even if the people in the street no longer welcomed Moqtada, he remained the only one capable of clearing the road and allowing the formation of a new government. Iran’s priority was for the parliament and the government to concentrate on the withdrawal of all foreign forces, led by the US.

Mohammad Allawi failed to achieve a parliamentary quorum because he behaved condescendingly towards some of the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds. Allawi believed that Moqtada’s support was sufficient and that all the other groups and ethnicities would have to accept his choice of ministers. Allawi presented his resignation to Salih on March 2.

According to article 73/3 of the Iraqi constitution, the sole authority for nominating a prime minister belongs to the president, who has 15 days to select a candidate. However, President Salih gave the Shia 15 days to choose a candidate. A coalition of seven members representing all Shia groups was formed—they presented 17 candidates. Three names were offered: Naim al-Suheil, Mohamad al-Soudani and Adnan al-Zarfi. Naim al-Suheil received the most votes but was rejected by Faleh al-Fayad. 

Although al-Zarfi is a member of the al-Nasr party led by former PM Haidar Abadi (al-Nasr was formed in 2018), Nuri al-Maliki pushed hard for al-Zarfi (also a member of al-Da’wa party) and sent him to Beirut to convince the Lebanese to bless his nomination. Iran was against the designation of a US national (al-Zarfi holds a US passport). Confronted by Iran’s rejection, Al-Maliki managed to convince Moqtada al-Sadr to nominate al-Zarfi. Al-Maliki managed even if al-Zarfi was the one who fought against Jaish al-Mahdi – with US support – in Najaf in 2004, persecuted Moqtada in the city and expelled him to Baghdad. Moqtada al-Sadr – who recently refused any prime minister holding dual nationality – put his signature on the agreed paper offered to Salih along with Nuri al-Maliki, Haidar Abadi and Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim as per the newly claimed “largest coalition”.

It was a golden opportunity for Salih, with the absence of Soleimani, to please the Americans, the Kurds, the Sunni and a large group of Shia. Salih used his constitutional authority to nominate al-Zarfi as a prime minister. It will be a blow to Iran if al-Zarfi manages to form his government and present it to the parliament.  With the support of such a large coalition of Shia-Sunni-Kurdish MPs, he will no doubt reach the necessary quorum.

One of the main reasons Moqtada al-Sadr supported al-Zarif (apart from al-Zarif’s promise to satisfy Moqtada’s requests in the new cabinet) is the birth of a new group called “Osbat al-Thaereen” (the “Movement of the Revolutionary Association” – MRA). This group claimed twice its responsibility for bombing al-Taji military base where the US and other members of the coalition have a permanent presence. Sayyed Moqtada rejects any attacks on US forces and prefers acting through diplomatic channels (via the parliament). Many Iraqi groups close to Iran swore to seek the withdrawal of the US forces mainly due to the Pentagon’s refusal to discuss a full removal of troops. The US is only willing to relocate troops. Moreover, the US is reinforcing its presence in crucial bases in Iraq (K1, Ayn al-Assad and Erbil) and is about to bring the Patriot interception missile system to its bases in Iraq, without Iraqi government consent.

If al-Zarfi manages to get parliament approval, he may seek to avoid any withdrawal negotiations with the US. He would also merge Hashd al-Shaabi and attempt to disarm the Iraqi groups close to Iran. But al-Zarfi is not in a position to seek a change of the parliament’s decision related to the US withdrawal. That issue will concern the newly elected parliament. However, al-Zarfi, like any new prime minister, is expected to gather a large number of MPs in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, enough to seek the prolonged presence of the US forces in Iraq.

Osbat al-Thaereen warned the US forces in Iraq.

This scenario is only applicable if al-Zarfi manages to reach the parliament in 30 days with a new cabinet and to retain his allies, notably the Shia. Iran will do everything possible to make things difficult for al-Zarfi. The ex-governor of Najaf was accused of burning the two Iranian consulates in Karbala and Najaf last year and is expected to follow the path of his al-Nasr coalition leader (former PM Abadi) in respecting US sanctions on Iran. That would be devastating to Iran’s economy, already suffering from the harshest US sanctions ever.

Al-Zarfi as prime minister will be a major blow to Iran and to those who support its objectives and ideology in Iraq. The coronavirus will not keep Iran away from the Iraqi theatre; Iran will not allow Iraq to fall under US control. If al-Zarfi comes to power, the stability of Iraq will be shaken, and partition will be back on the table. An era of instability can be expected in Mesopotamia under an Iraqi prime minister considered to be an ally of the US, particularly following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

Proofread by:  C.G.B

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Iraq condemns US airstrikes; says soldiers, police, civilians killed


Friday, 13 March 2020 11:40 AM  [ Last Update: Friday, 13 March 2020 12:28 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Iraqi security forces inspect the wreckage from an airstrike.

The Iraqi military and the presidency have condemned new US airstrikes, saying they killed soldiers, police officers and civilians overnight. 

“The Iraqi Presidency condemns airstrikes on several bases in Iraq, including a recently opened airport in the Holy City of Karbala which led to the death of security forces and civilians,” the presidency said in a statement on Friday.

The Iraqi military also denounced the US strikes as a targeted aggression against the nation’s official armed forces and a violation of its sovereignty.

According to the Iraqi military statement, three soldiers, two police officers and one civilian were killed in the attacks.

The statement said four soldiers, two police officers, one civilian, and five individuals affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) were also wounded.

The Pentagon had said earlier on Friday that the strikes targeted five weapons stores used by Iraqi groups that “targeted US forces.”

Iraqi resistance groups denied such accusations even though they supported fighting occupying US forces.

PMU group: Humiliating Iraqi nation will not go unpunishedIraq

The attack came only a day after more than a dozen Iraqi fighters were killed in airstrikes targeting an area in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

The attacks are the most provocative since the US assassinated Iran’s top anti-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s PMU commander Abu Mahdi al- Muhandis in an airstrike at Baghdad airport in January.

Iraqi groups have pledged to take revenge for the assassination and ultimately drive out US troops from the country. 

After the assassination, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel American troops, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten that the US would seize Iraq’s oil money held in a bank account in New York if it was forced to withdraw. 

Calls mount for expulsion of US troops

Following the overnight attack, Iraqi figures and officials stepped up calls for the expulsion of US troops from the country.

“We condemn the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty by foreign fighter jets and bombing of bases belonging to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and security forces,” senior cleric and political leader Ammar al-Hakim said in a tweet.

He also called on the Iraqi government to take whatever steps needed to defend the country from the assaults.

Iraqi lawmaker and Security and Defense Commission member Adnan al-Assadi said the attacks were “a blatant offense against Iraq and its people”.

He added that any Iraqi interested in preserving the sovereignty of the nation should condemn the American attack and urge the expulsion of US forces from the country.

Iraqi lawmaker Naim al-Aboudi of the Fatah (Conquest) alliance also tweeted that the US will not be “able to remain on this soil much long” despite attacks targeting Iraqi people and the country’s infrastructure.

Iraq’s Nujaba resistance movement, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning the US violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

It warned that the provocations may push Iraq into a “new phase” of armed and popular resistance against US forces.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

مفاوضات الجلاء الأميركي تحت النيران العراق محطة أولى

محمد صادق الحسينيّ

لم يكن ما جرى في العراق، خلال الساعات الأربع والعشرين الماضية، من قصف صاروخي على أهداف للمقاومة العراقية في محيط البوكمال السورية، وآخر صاروخي سبقه قبل ذلك ضدّ قاعدة التاجي العسكرية العراقية شمال بغداد، التي تحتلّ القوات الأميركية جزءاً منها، لم يكن هذا القصف المتبادل يهدف الى إرسال رسائل متبادلة.

والسبب في ذلك، كما أفادت مصادر استخبارية غربية، ان طبيعة العلاقة بين المقاومة العراقية والاحتلال الأميركي قد تجاوزت مرحلة تبادل الرسائل الى مرحلة المفاوضات، وإنْ بشكل غير مباشر، على الانسحاب العسكري الأميركي السريع والكامل، من العراق، بما في ذلك من المحافظات الشمالية، التي تسكن بعضها أغلبية كردية.

إذن، فالإدارة الأميركية، وبعد تلكُّئها في سحب قواتها من العراق بعد اغتيال الشهيدين الجنرال سليماني وأبو مهدي المهندس، قد بدأت مفاوضات سرية مع المقاومة العراقية، من خلال القيادة العامة للقوات المسلحة العراقية والقائد الأعلى لهذه القوات، وذلك بهدف الاتفاق على جدول زمني يضمن انسحاباً سريعاً وكاملاً شاملاً لقوات الاحتلال الأميركي من كامل الأراضي العراقية.

وعلى الرغم من انّ هذه المفاوضات السرية، التي تأتي أيضاً في إطار تطبيق قرار البرلمان العراقي المطالَب بانسحاب قوات الاحتلال، قد وصلت مرحلة متقدّمة وان قيادة الجيش الأميركي قد بدأت فعلاً بسحب بعض الوحدات والمعدات العسكرية الأميركية، من العراق الى الخارج، وعلى عكس ما توحي به بعض التصريحات الأميركية حول احتمال نقل منظومات دفاع جوي أميركي، من طراز باتريوت، الى العراق، لحماية القوات الأميركية هناك، نقول إنه وعلى الرغم من كلّ ذلك فإنّ بعض دوائر صنع القرار في واشنطن تحاول عرقلة إنجاز المفاوضات، وبالتالي عرقلة حصول اتفاق عراقي أميركي نهائي، حول جدول زمني لسحب القوات الأميركية.

وهو الأمر الذي يجعل لزاماً على قوى المقاومة العراقية، بين الفينة والأخرى، أن تقوم بتذكير القيادة العسكرية الاميركية بضرورة الالتزام الدقيق بهدف المفاوضات السرية وعدم الخضوع لابتزاز بعض جهات صنع القرار في واشنطن. وذلك تجنّباً لمواجهة انسحاب تحت النيران، تتكبّد فيه القوات الأميركية خسائر مادية وبشرية كبرى، كتلك التي تكبّدتها خلال الانسحاب 2010/2011.

يضاف الى ذلك، وكما يؤكد المصدر، انّ ردّ محور المقاومة على اغتيال أبرز شخصيتين قياديتين عسكريتين فيه، الجنرال سليماني ورفيقه أبو مهدي المهندس، يجب ان يُستكمل بانسحاب القوات الأميركية ليس من العراق فقط وانما من كل الدول العربية التي تحتلها هذه القوات، بما في ذلك فلسطين المحتلة التي يوجد فيها قواعد صواريخ ومنظومات رادار في إطار الدرع الصاروخي الاميركي المضاد للصواريخ والموجهة ضدّ الصين وروسيا وإيران.

وهو ما يعني انّ الانسحاب حتمي وانّ موازين القوى، في كامل مسرح العمليات، من حدود الصين شرقاً الى سواحل المتوسط غرباً، ليست في صالح المحور الأميركي على الإطلاق. خاصة بعد الهزيمة العسكرية المنكرة التي مُني بها مخلب حلف شمال الأطلسي، أردوغان، في الميدان السوري قبل أيّام. تلك الهزيمة التي أجبرته، ومعه سيده في البيت الابيض وأدواته في بروكسل (الناتو)، ان يخضعوا لميزان القوى الميداني في سورية، بين حلف المقاومة وداعميه من جهة وبين المعسكر الأميركي وأذنابه من جهة أخرى. هذا الميزان الذي أكثر او أبلغ ما تعبّر عنه هي هزيمة الجيش الأردوغاني (وليس الجيش التركي) في سراقب وإثبات القوات المشتركة لحلف المقاومة، وعلى رأسها لواء الرضوان في حزب الله، إن مَن هزم الجيش الإسرائيلي في بنت جبيل ووادي الحجير سنة 2006 قادر على هزيمة جيش أردوغان في سراقب 2020 وجاهز للتقدّم داخل الجليل الفلسطيني المحتلّ ساعة صدور الأوامر بذلك من غرفة عمليات القوات المشتركة لحلف المقاومة.

كما أكد المصدر على أنّ انسداد الأفق الاستراتيجي، أمام الخطط والمشاريع والحروب الأميركية في المنطقة، بدءاً بالحرب على أفغانستان مروراً بغزو العراق واحتلاله ثم العدوان على سورية منذ 2011 وصولاً الى إنشاء تنظيم داعش، من قبل الإدارة الأميركية وجيشها، واستخدامه كحجة للعودة الى العراق، كلّ ذلك جعل هذه الإدارة تتوسّل اتفاق وقف إطلاق نار مع حركة طالبان الأفغانية، يسمح للجيش الأميركي ومرتزقة الناتو الآخرين بالانسحاب الآمن من أفغانستان؛ وهو الأمر الذي تمّ قبل أسابيع وسمح للجيش الأميركي بالبدء بسحب وحداته ومعداته (120 ألف حاوية من الحجم الكبير/ كونتينر) من تلك البلاد. وللمرء أن يتخيّل كيف سيكون انسحاب 14 ألف جندي أميركي مع هذا الكمّ الهائل من المعدات بدون اتفاق مع حركة طالبان.

وهو ما ينطبق على الجيش الأميركي، الذي يحتلّ أجزاء من العراق، فكيف سيكون انسحابه تحت نيران المقاومة العراقية الأكثر عدداً والأفضل تسليحاً من مقاتلي طالبان، في حال اضطراره للانسحاب دون اتفاق، أيّ تحت نيران المقاومة؟

كما أنّ هذا الانسحاب، الذي سيتمّ الاتفاق عليه وجدولته والبدء بتنفيذه قبل نهاية العام الحالي، سيكون اتفاقاً مفصلاً على قياس مصالح ترامب الانتخابية. فهو كان قد وعد الناخب الأميركي، خلال حملته الانتخابية الأولى بعدم الدخول في حروب خارجية وإعادة الجنود الأميركيين الى الوطن. وها هو بالاتفاق مع طالبان وقرب انسحاب قواته من العراق يحقق ما وعد به، بغضّ النظر عن الاتفاق او الاختلاف معه ومع سياساته المرتكزة الى مصلحته الشخصية البحتة. تلك المصلحة التي تُحَتِّمُ عليه أن لا يسمح بتواصل عودة جنوده أفقياً الى الوطن.

أو تحوّل العراق الى فيتنام ثانية.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

مقالات متعلقة

انسحاب أميركيّ وحكومة توافقيّة؟

ناصر قنديل

منذ ثنائية الاغتيال الأميركي للقيادي الإيراني قاسم سليماني وقصف إيران لقاعدة عين الأسد، هدأت المواجهة المباشرة بين القوات الأميركية وإيران، وبقي التصعيد السياسي الذي طغى عليه فيروس كورونا كاهتمام أول لإيران ولاحقاً لأميركا نفسها، بينما تقدّم على المواجهة مع إيران للمرتبة الثانية أميركياً الاستحقاق الانتخابي الرئاسي، وقد شهدت المنطقة ثلاثة تطورات كبرى، تزاوجت خلالها وتناوبت المواجهات الضارية غير المباشرة، والخطوات السياسية غير التصادمية، ما أدى إلى طرح سؤال كبير حول إمكانية اقتراب طهران وواشنطن عبر وسطاء فاعلين كفرنسا وألمانيا واليابان وعمان وقطر وباكستان، وخصوصاً روسيا، من صياغة تفاهم ينظم التهدئة في السنة الرئاسية، عنوانه ترسيم التوازنات بعد اختبارها في الميدان وترصيدها في السياسة.

جاءت مجموعة عمليات نوعية عسكرياً في أفغانستان استهدفت القوات الأميركية، وألحقت أول أذىً نوعيّ بالقوات الأميركية منذ زمن، زادت الإصابات خلاله على العشرات، منها قادة وضباط كبار، وخلال أيام تسارعت المفاوضات بين الإدارة الأميركية وحركة طالبان، للإعلان في زمن قياسي أيضاً عن التوصل لتفاهم على وقف للنار يتخلله تخفيض تدريجي للقوات الأميركية، تواكبه تسوية سياسية داخلية أفغانية تنتهي بحكومة وحدة وطنية، وسلم داخلي، وانسحاب أميركي كامل، ومثلما يعرف كل متابع جدّي لوضع أفغانستان، أن إيران لم تكن بعيدة عن التصعيد العسكري الذي استهدف الأميركيين، وأنها لم تكن بعيدة عن التفاوض، ولن تكون بعيدة عن الحكومة الجديدة، وليست بالتأكيد بعيدة عن خلفية التفكير الأميركي بقرار الانسحاب.

شهدت سورية معركة ضارية بين الجيش السوري والجيش التركي، كانت واشنطن خلالها وراء الجيش التركيّ ومشروعه بتعويم جبهة النصرة، وكانت روسيا وإيران في ضفة الإسناد الحقيقي للجيش السوري. ورغم أن الدعم الأميركي لتركيا كان سياسياً ودبلوماسياً وببعض العتاد العسكري في مجال صواريخ الدفاع الجوي لجبهة النصرة، قياساً بدعم روسي ناري مباشر عالي الوتيرة للجيش السوري، وحضور قتالي ميداني فاعل لقوى المقاومة وفي مقدمتها حزب الله إلى جانب الجيش السوري، خصوصاً في معركة سراقب الفاصلة التي كانت الفصل الأخير في هذه المواجهة، إلا أن توصيف ما جرى بنسبة معنية كواحد من اختبارات القوة بين طهران وواشنطن، لا يجافي الحقيقة. وما نتج عنه يعني بوضوح استحالة الربح في الميدان على حلفاء إيران ولو تمّ الزج بأقوى حلفاء واشنطن في المواجهة، وأن الحلف الروسي الإيراني متين لدرجة يصعب فكّه، وأن الحلفاء الذين تدعمهم إيران يشكلون قوى حقيقيّة قادرة ومؤهّلة للفوز بمعاركها.

جاءت المعارك السياسية على تشكيل الحكومات في لبنان والعراق، فنجح حزب الله الحليف الأبرز لإيران في المنطقة، بالتعامل مع محاولة دفع لبنان نحو الفراغ وتعطيل المسار الحكومي عبر انسحاب حلفاء واشنطن من الملف الحكومي رهاناً على ترك حزب الله مكشوفاً، وترك لبنان بلا حكومة، فتشكّلت حكومة لم يستطع أحد بوصفها أنها حكومة حزب الله، رغم محاولات واشنطن وبعض حلفائها دفع الأمور بهذا الاتجاه. وخلال أسابيع بدأت الحكومة الجديدة مساراً يصعب تجاهله لإثبات حضورها وقدرتها على مواجهة التحديات، كما يقول اسم الحكومة، بينما نجح الأميركيون في العراق في فرض الفراغ الحكومي وإعادة تشكيلها إلى المربع الأول، لكن ذلك فتح الباب واسعاً أمام أزمة سياسية قد تندلع في ظلالها مواجهات أمنيّة لن يكون الأميركيّون في مأمن منها.

خلال يوم واحد، يعلن في العراق عن نجاح رئيس مجلس الأمن القومي الإيراني الجنرال علي شامخاني، بالتوصل لتفاهم مع الأطراف المعنية بتسمية رئيس حكومة جديد، يقضي بتشكيل لجنة من سبعة أعضاء للقيام بالمهمة، وتسرّبت أنباء عن رفع الفيتو الذي وضعته بعض قوى المقاومة على المرشح الذي قيل إن واشنطن تقف خلف ترشيحه وهو مدير المخابرات مصطفى الكاظمي، الذي شكل عملياً نقطة تقاطع وتنسيق بين الأميركيين والإيرانيين لفترة طويلة. وفي اليوم نفسه خرج قائد القوات الأميركية كينيت ماكينزي، وهو يتحدّث عن المواجهة المستمرة مع إيران، يعلن سحب ألفي جندي إضافي من الكويت بعدما بدأ سحب ألف جنديّ قبل شهر، فهل يتم وضع قواعد اشتباك جديدة، عنوانها قرار الأميركي بالانسحاب، مقابل تسهيل الانسحاب الأميركي من المنطقة، وتظليل المرحلة بحكومات توافقيّة، على الأقل حيث يثبت التشارك والاشتباك توازناً يصعب كسره، كحال أفغانستان والعراق؟

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الشباب ينتزعون السلطة والثوار يشكّلون الحكومة في عهد سليماني الجديد

محمد صادق الحسيني

على عكس ما أرادت أميركا وخلافاً لكل توقعات الغرب وأمنيات الأعراب والمنافقين والذين في قلوبهم مرض والمرجفون في المدينة..

تستعدّ طهران الجمعة المقبل ومعها المحافظات الإيرانية الحادية والثلاثين لاجتياح الشباب الثوري لمقاعد البرلمان الجديد الذي سيتشكل بإرادة شعبية مصمّمة على الدفاع عن قيم الثورة الإسلامية والقرار الوطني المستقل من خلال ملحمة مليونية جديدة وعرس وطني انتخابي هو الأكثر حماسة في تاريخ إيران…

وكأن الحاج قاسم سليماني كان منذوراً لهذه اللحظة التاريخية التي استشرفها الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي مبكراً يوم أطلق منشورها التاريخي الذي سماه بالخطوة الثانية للثورة الإسلامية…

أربعون عاماً من الكفاح المضني الذي لم يكلّ ولم يملّ يوماً سيبلوره الإيرانيون يوم الجمعة من خلال انتخاب وجوه جديدة من الشباب الثوري السائر على نهج ومدرسة الحاج قاسم سليماني..

كل المؤشرات والعلائم واستطلاعات الرأي تفيد بأن المزاج الشعبي العام في إيران قد تحوّل تحولاً كبيراً منذ نحو سنتين لغير صالح المراهنين على الحوار والمفاوضات مع الغرب..

وجاءت العملية الحمقاء والغادرة في مطار بغداد لتقصم ظهر البعير والعجل السامري اللذين ظنّا أن بإمكانهما قلب معادلات الداخل الإيراني لصالح الغرب الاستعماري الأعمى…

كتب جاك سترو وزير خارجية بريطانيا الاسبق وأحد الأعمدة الثلاثة من مفاوضي الغرب الخبثاء الذي راهنوا يوماً على ما بات يعرف بـ “توافقات سعد أباد” النووية في حينها يوم كان الشيخ حسن روحاني أميناً عاماً للمجلس الأعلى للأمن القومي الإيراني والتي مهدت للاتفاق النووي الحالي المتنازع عليه اليوم داخلياً وخارجياً بشدة، فكتب في مذكراته:

“أردنا من خلال هذه الاتفاقية ورهاننا عليها هو ان نخلق جيلاً من الشباب في الداخل الإيراني يمسك بعد نحو 10 الى 15 عاماً بتلابيب الإدارة في طهران يؤمن بأهمية وجدوى الحوار والمفاوضات بدلاً من المقاومة”…!

لكن هذا الذيل الأميركي القصير النظر ومعه منظرو الكاوبوي الأميركيون الذين يجهلون عمق وحيوية الروح العقائدية والوطنية الإيرانية التاريخية، لم يكونوا يدركون أنه سيأتي يوم على إيران هذه التي “ساكنتهم” مؤقتاً تظهر فيها العناصر الواقعية والاساسية المكونة للهوية الوطنية الإيرانية التي لطالما كانت “محافظة” وأصولية ومتديّنة حتى قبل دخول الإسلام الى إيران، فكيف بها اليوم وبعد تأثيرات الإسلام المحمدي الأصيل القوية ومن ثم الإسلام الثوري الخميني وخلفه إمام المقاومة الخامنائي كما يحبّذ أهلنا العرب تسميته…. وأخيرا وليس آخر مدرسة الحاج قاسم الأممية العابرة للحدود والموانع القومية والعرقية والطائفية والمذهبية…

يعني ليس فقط لن يأتي ذلك اليوم الذي سيبقى حسرة في قلب جاك سترو وقلب كل المنظرين من جنسه خارجيين كانوا او داخليين، بل إن ما ينتظر إيران من بعد استشهاد قاسم سليماني وأبو مهدي المهندس ورفاقهما على يد رأس محور الشر والاستكبار العالمي والشيطان الأكبر، ليس إلا إدارة مؤمنة حازمة نواتها الأولى في عهد الخطوة الثانية برلماناً شبابياً ثورياً سيتم انتزاع مقاعده بوسائل ديمقراطيتكم الغربية (الانتخابات) يا جاك سترو، ومن ثم الاستعداد لانتخابات ايضاً مفصلية وحاسمة أخرى في الربيع الذي يلي هذا الربيع لرفع رجل من جنس الحاج قاسم سليماني تعرفه الناس، الى سدة الرئاسة لتكتمل لوحة السجادة الإيرانية الجديدة التي تناسب عصر الشهيد القائد الحاج قاسم سليماني…

سيندم الغرب وأميركا بشكل خاص عندما سيطلعون على نتائج انتخابات مجلس الشورى المزمع إجراؤها هذه الجمعة، وسيندمون أكثر عندما سيفاجأون برئيس جمهورية قادم من جنس الحرس الثوري الإيراني وخريج كلية الاشتر التابعة لجامعة الإمام الحسين الطهرانية يعتلي منصة الرئاسة ليطالب هذه المرّة ليس فقط بدعم حركات التحرر في المنطقة وفي مقدّمتها لبنان وفلسطين واليمن، بل ليترجم أيضاً منشور خامنئي الثوري لإعادة رسم خريطة العالم على قواعد جديدة من جنس معادلة ونريد ان نمن على الذين استضعفوا في الأرض… اي ما بعد بعد تحرير فلسطين…!

المعلومات المتوافرة للمتابعين الفطنين لمجريات الاستحقاق الانتخابي الاول تؤكد أن ما لا يقلّ عن سبعين بالمئة من مقاعد مجلس الشورى الجديد ستكون من نصيب الأصوليين الثوريين الذي ستكون أولى مهامهم التشريع لقوانين جديدة تؤسس لاقتصاد إسلامي إيراني مقاوم ومن ثم التوجه فوراً الى المنطقة لاستكمال بناء قوة إيران الصاروخية وقوة جيش العشرين مليون لتحرير القدس، وهو الجيش الذي بدأ يتشكّل من هرمز الى باب المندب ومن البصرة الى بنت جبيل ومن مزار شريف الى أسوار جزائر المليون شهيد…

هذا ليس كلام شعارات تُصرَف في الخطابات الجماهيرية ولا للتحشيد الشعبي في هذا الاستحقاق أو ذاك. هذا برنامج متفق عليه في غرفة عمليات المقاومة المشتركة أعدّ له أسطورة الشرق القائد الملهم قاسم سليماني وسيتابع تنفيذه بدقة إسماعيل الوعد الصادق قاءاني، شاء مَن شاء وأبى مَن أبى…

هي سنن الله في أرضه.

من رحم الشهادة الملحمية في رافدين العراق سيخرج شرقنا الجديد انطلاقاً من المنازلة الكبرى ويوم قيامة فلسطين التي تنتظر وصول قوافل المهاجرين والأنصار إليها من امصار الوطن العربي الكبير والعالم الإسلامي الثوري الجديد…

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.


South Front

On February 15, Hezbollah unveiled a giant statue of Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in January in a US airstrike, was unveiled in southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel.

The figure of the killed Quds Force leader was put up in the border village of Maroun al-Ras. It became a part of the “resistance museum.”

Soleimani and several other prominent Iranian and Iraqi commanders were killed in a US strike outside Baghdad’s International Airport on January 3. This US move put the entire region on the brink of an open military conflict, caused a wide-scale crisis and eventually undermined the positions of the US in the region.

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Imam Khamenei’s Defense Advisor Tells Al-Ahed of Martyr Leaders, Fate of the Region

Imam Khamenei’s Defense Advisor Tells Al-Ahed of Martyr Leaders, Fate of the Region

By Mokhtar Haddad

Tehran – Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan was among the first members of groups linked to the Revolutionary Guards to come to Lebanon and the official who supervised the training of Hezbollah mujahideen. He witnessed the founding of the Islamic Resistance and lived with its martyred leaders. He is also Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s advisor on defense and Iran’s former minister of defense.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ahed, Brigadier Hussein Dehghan talks about his memories with the leaders of the martyrs of the Islamic Resistance and Lieutenant General Hajj Qassem Soleimani. He also recalls how he founded the Al-Ahed newspaper – currently Al-Ahed news site – as he discusses recent developments in the region.

Below is the full transcript of the interview:

You have witnessed the establishment of the Al-Ahed newspaper. In marking 35 years since the paper was established, what does our veteran colleague remember about how it all started?

The conditions that Hezbollah faced early on helped in forming the organization. But considering Lebanese culture, if you want to stimulate a political course in Lebanon, you have to appoint a spokesperson and define the media as its own cultural apparatus in order to connect with the people. At the time, anyone could claim that he belonged to Hezbollah and say whatever he wanted. The goal was to create an information outlet.

When this suggestion was presented to His Eminence, Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, he opened the Quran and found the following verse {And do not approach the property of an orphan, except in the way that is best, until he reaches maturity. And fulfill [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.} So, the newspaper was called Al-Ahed. The paper’s editorial team was appointed, and it started worked to publish two to three issues per week. The newspaper was widely admired by all Hezbollah members. Within a short period of time, the newspaper grew within the Lebanese media sphere. After that we set up a radio station in Baalbek. The station often broadcast recitation of the Holy Quran and announced to its listeners the station’s frequency. Martyr Hjaiji was appointed as the station’s director and Abu Hisham as its political director. It was necessary for the party to establish ties with the Lebanese society to be able to share its opinions and ideas.

Going back to Al-Ahed, what impressed me was that we had two young Iranian men who wrote in Arabic even though they were literally translating from Farsi. When the late Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlullah read what they wrote, he exclaimed: ‘You are writing in Farsi. You should try to write in Arabic.’ And Sheikh Yazbek helped the editorial team become better in writing and played an important role in Al-Ahed.

How would you define the progress by the resistance in the media sphere?

We did not face a lot of problems because there was a natural need for this outlet and it took a lot of time for our work to be coherent and purposeful. Even with regard to the formation of Hezbollah, it was important that the movement was formed in Lebanon. At the time, there were various groups in Lebanon that needed to be integrated and organized, and most of them joined Hezbollah.

The formation of Hezbollah itself was a historic and temporal necessity. Today, after thirty-five years, media outlets must be able to convey the party’s message to the target audience using artistic and technical means and through appropriate content because in Lebanon, Hezbollah is engaging in a political society that is prone to radical change. What is happening in Lebanon is moving more rapidly towards renewal and change than anywhere else in the world. For this reason, anyone who wants to work in media must familiarize themselves with the environment in order for them to work well and present their message and be able to communicate effectively. We created Al-Ahed newspaper so that it could work as a spokesperson for Hezbollah. Now, thank God, Hezbollah is in a position where any member linked to Hezbollah can have a significant impact inside and outside Lebanon.

How do you evaluate the resistance’s media in facing the cultural and soft war?

This is normal in political affairs and the Lebanese society. This matter started before and has continued until now.  And the active political movements in Lebanon have a form of unlimited support without exception, and they have a form of representation. Today, the only political movement that is completely Lebanese is Hezbollah. Today, the Lebanese people do not view Hezbollah as merely a Shiite political movement, but rather a symbol of Lebanese national resistance in the face of the Zionist aggression and regime.

Today, the Lebanese Hezbollah is defined as the Lebanese people’s public conscience towards dignity, independence and freedom, and these types of causes. We can also say that Hezbollah plays a role in defining everything that matters in Lebanon’s political and social arena. Some say that ‘this is because Hezbollah has strength and weapons’. But this is not the root of the matter. Rather, the principle is that Hezbollah has proven its ability in preserving and developing Lebanon’s national interest, in addition to bearing all necessary costs. However, the sensitivity of Hezbollah’s behavior is also important. It leaves no room for confusion over representation and the private thoughts of the Lebanese people. Thanks to the wise leadership of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, he managed to preserve Hezbollah and always influence Hezbollah’s dignity and influence in politics as well as the social and cultural aspects in Lebanon.

What is the impact of Al-Ahed or other Hezbollah media outlets on the resistance?

This effect is fundamental and is the essence of the resistance. And that is what it is.

You lived with the master of the martyrs of the resistance, Sayyed Abbas Al-Mousawi. Can you tell us about the martyr and your memories with him?

No one could be like him. We had an office near his house. He possessed special qualities that made him special. The first is that Sayyed’s rule was realistic and unparalleled, not only because he was cultured, but also because his relationship with the leader of the Islamic revolution and his adherence to him was never shaken.

The second quality is that any behavior or decision emanating from him was in accordance with Islam. He was always trying to mirror the teachings of Islam in his words and actions. There is a hadith for the Messenger (PBUH) on the issue of Sharia, the way and the truth. The meaning of the hadith is as follows: What I say is sharia, and my conditions are the way and my actions are the truth. That is why Sayyed Abbas sought, through the introduction of the Sharia and the method, to confirm the truth about the Messenger of God (PBUH) through his behavior. And he had this quality in his promotional and advertising work.

His third trait was his indulgence, and as such he was able to attract a lot people to his side. And for this reason, Sayyed Abbas’s circle of influence was very wide. When he sat with anyone, he directly connected with them and brought them to his side. He had a deep sense of mercy and compassion. The tone of his voice was well heard by others. Humility, sympathy, and compassion were among his many traits. He was extremely humble and compassionate. We have hadith that says you should tell the person you love them. He took this matter into account. His spirit of jihad was distinctive.

Sheikh Saeed Shaaban was in Tripoli. He was accompanied by his son, a doctor who had a great influence on his father. Initially, Sheikh Saeed Shaaban expressed his concern about the emergence of Hezbollah and the fate of the Sunnis! At the time, we told Sayyed Abbas that if we stay here, we will not find a solution to this issue. We have to relieve Sheikh Saeed’s mind. Sheikh Saeed Shaaban was following up with the Islamic Revolution and was a revolutionary himself. We all went to him, and Sayyed Abbas was scheduled to speak to Sheikh Saeed. So, he spoke with his influential words, and the atmosphere changed.

When the issue of supplying the Baalbek clans with weapons was raised, we went to some of the tribal heads and discussed this matter. Then we headed to Beirut, and we went to many places with Sayyed Abbas. In Beirut, there were many roadblocks. In addition to war and conflict, the burden of dialogue was on Sayyed Abbas. Sayyed played an important role in shaping Hezbollah’s early features and unifying the ranks under a common Hezbollah flag until a common vision and language emerged within the party. This took a lot of time, but it was the responsibility of Sayyed Abbas to coordinate all these issues.

How would you describe Hajj Radwan?

I think even those closest to Hajj Radwan are unable to fully explain his personality. One of Hajj Radwan’s characteristic was his constant silence. Hajj was the most silent person in Hezbollah. He did not say anything. But his work on the ground was very extensive. The second trait was his complete reliance on divine victory. When we discussed strategic issues, he would only say one thing: “I rely on God.” And then he’d start his job without any hesitation. Therefore, he had the ability and belief in the divine victory and the strength to lead. And he had control over his language which stemmed from his heart.

In the war of minds, the creative martyr Hajj Hassan Lakkis was one of its pioneers, and you had a close relationship with him. What does Brigadier General Dehghan say about martyr Hassan?

Hassan was Hassan. I will tell you a special trait of most Lebanese youth. They are very creative. They are very brave and take risks. They do not fear the unknown. If I had to sum up Hassan in one sentence, I would have to say that he was a young man who freed his mind from everything that was dominant and invisible. That is why ideas were being constantly produced. It was important that Hassan always tried to be different and did not submit to the harsh conditions of life.

The relationship between Sayyed Nasrallah and Sayyed Abbas was that of a student and his teacher. What worried Sayyed Abbas worried Sayyed Nasrallah. When Hassan entered the field of missile manufacturing, we met him many times in Iran. Our last meeting was when his son was martyred, he came to me and said: ‘Do you know I also became the father of a martyr?’ Then, he was also martyred. Hassan was one of the closest people to me intellectually, spirituality, psychologically and practically. He was my best friend.

The US representative to the Security Council repeated her threats several times that the demonstrations in several countries in the region will continue if Iran does not submit to American demands. Do you fear for the axis of resistance in light of the new changes?

We have to go back to 2006 and the 33-day war. There was a front that was formed in the face of “Israel”. They analyzed where they have to weaken this chain and its weak point. So, they decided to hit Hezbollah in order to destroy this front. And they launched the 33-day war. What happened in this war? Wasn’t the occupation army – ranked fourth in the world and had defeated the Arab states in 1948, 1967, 1973 and throughout the years of the Nakba – defeated by Hezbollah? They believed that Hezbollah was the weakest link in the resistance front that is why they attacked it. But when they attacked Hezbollah and nothing happened, they realized that their calculations were wrong.

Is there any element in the region today that possesses the capabilities of this group? Has this determination? Has a goal and was able to achieve it on the ground? Can challenge the will of the US and “Israel” in the region? That is why they seek to strike such a force. What did they think about Hezbollah? To this day, Hezbollah possesses all the power and prestige to represent the Lebanese nation. It is a Lebanese national resistance force. That is why they want to discredit Hezbollah in the eyes of the people. This prompted them to pressure the Lebanese people in a bid to force them into a confrontation with Hezbollah over its policies and weapons.

You see, some in Lebanon suggested that Hezbollah should be disarmed. They believe that all of Hezbollah’s capabilities are limited to the weapons it possesses. This is not the case. Hezbollah’s strength and prestige lie in the Lebanese people and the resistance, and its weapons are necessary for the defense posture it adopted. The political scene in Lebanon is affected by a variety of events, such as those who claim that the unrest in Iraq is caused by the popular mobilization, and in Lebanon it is caused by the presence of Hezbollah.

Another point is that Iran does not need any military attachment to Hezbollah or others. Iran is strong enough.

In the event that a major war is waged against the resistance front in the region, Hezbollah will carry out its duty on its own. It does not need us to intervene and tell it what it has to do or not do. Hezbollah is also keen on adhering to this formula not causing a problem because the principle was supposed to be fixed for the Lebanese and not for us. Hezbollah is a target because it is a factor of stability and because it is an element that stands in the face of aggressors and authoritarian forces such as “Israel”, who do not want peace and stability in Lebanon. Hezbollah makes every effort to preserve these pillars, and this is why they oppose Hezbollah.

How can they oppose Hezbollah? By pitting the party against the Lebanese people. There will be a confrontation between them. However, Hezbollah never adopts such a policy. This is why they are imposing their plans and moving their agendas in Lebanon to inflame the situation. In the previous parliamentary elections, it was said that Saudi Arabia pumped large sums of money in order to impose its hegemony over the parliament. But its plans failed.

Now, most countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US, “Israel”, and even the Europeans, target Hezbollah’s reputation. Lebanon has been the scene of struggle for influence between foreign powers throughout its history, and Hezbollah came to clean up all these interventionist parties and turn Lebanon into an arena where its people take part and show their presence in the region. Everyone is angry about this, which is best embodied by the words of martyr Beheshti: “Let America be angry with us, and let it die from this frustration.”

Did the Zionist enemy and those supporting it start a new war with the resistance front? Some Western analysts talk about replacing a military offensive with an economic one, and this is what we are witnessing (American economic terrorism). Does the Islamic Republic have the ability to withstand such a challenge?

In any case, we have to accept that these are our enemies in the first place, and ultimately they will enter into a war with us depending on the conditions they choose themselves. The Zionists and the Americans have always threatened us with strikes, ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The person who wants to attack and can strike will not announce his intentions. But when he makes a fuss without doing anything, he wants to use this matter for political gain. On our part, we have never ruled out an attack or a military campaign against us, and there is always a military threat against us. The enemy is the enemy, and it wants to do what its intends to do, but when will it enter this war? When it can guarantee victory. No one enters a war unless he can guarantee two things, the first of which is victory, or that he is able to control it and end it when he wants.

Neither the Americans nor the “Israelis” reached the conclusion that they are able to win the war or prevent it from continuing if they ignited it, and for this reason they did not use any weapon against us or wage a war against us. But in other ways, they are waging economic, propaganda, and legal wars and many other pressures on us. And the economic war is the most violent war against us, and it managed to bring some to the streets and say that living conditions have become difficult and … The answer is that we acknowledge that the sanctions have imposed pressure on our nation.

The sanctions that the US imposed on our country aims to shock the authorities. However, these sanctions targeted the public because the blockade of medicine targets the people directly. It is contrary to the slogans that America is ranting about.

In fact, these people are seeking first to create a rift between the people and the government by increasing pressure and sanctions. Secondly, here they will incite the people against the government due to its inability to meet their demands. Thirdly, they will ignite riots and sabotage across the country against the political regime in Iran.

But the Iranian people love their revolution, their regime and their leader, and they are steadfast in the face of these American plans.

What about martyred Lieutenant General Hajj Qassem Soleimani and his martyred companions?

The martyr, Lieutenant General Hajj Qassem Soleimani, did not only belong to the Iranian people. He belonged to all the free people of the world because he fought injustice and the enemies in the past decades and thwarted all the arrogant plots.

The absence of martyr Soleimani is not the end of the axis of resistance but the beginning of a new rise of the resistance front in the face of arrogance and Zionism as well as the expulsion of the American occupation from this region.

Martyr Soleimani was seeking martyrdom, and he always hoped that he would eventually join his martyred companions. He possessed indulgence. He caused fear and terror in the hearts of the enemies but was kind to the people and the families of the martyrs.

Hajj Qassem Soleimani was raised in the school of Islam, Imam Khomeini and the leader of the Islamic revolution. Now, there is not one Soleimani but there are thousands and thousands of Soleimanis in the world who will continue on the path of this great martyr. His name is engraved in the hearts of the free people in the world, and he was born again. Today, martyr Qassem is stronger and his influence is greater.

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