Attention is turning and speculation increases about the features of the upcoming conflict between the armed Shiite factions in Iraq and the administration of the new US President Joe Biden, after an era full of tensions and tensions that turned Iraq into a hot arena pregnant with military responses and emotions for both parties.
These speculations and questions are raised about the possibility or likelihood that the conflict will end with Biden’s assumption of the US presidency or at least diminish in intensity after a period of tumultuous tensions during the reign of his predecessor Donald Trump, most notably the assassination of the Iranian Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Authority. Along with 8 others, in an airstrike carried out by an American plane near Baghdad International Airport in early 2020.
Biden is considered one of the hawks of the Democratic Party, and he participated in voting on the so-called “liberation of Iraq” law in 1998 and the war on it in 2003, and the project to divide Iraq and establish regions, and his support for similar positions in many places, amid differing opinions about his decisions as to whether they are effective or not in the next stage.
Biden, who has deep experience with regard to the politics of the Arab region, specifically Iraq, will push all armed factions into a dark tunnel that impedes their movements, and will not allow them any longer to take the first and influential role in the Iraqi arena easily, as the veteran Iraqi politician Mithal Al-Alousi believes, based in his opinion on possession Biden and his new team have detailed and complete information about the nature and history of these groups’ work.
Al-Alousi, who is close to Washington, says that Biden will limit the role of the factions close to Iran and prevent any political consideration for them in any future dialogue between Washington and its allies in the region, by “relying on his democratic, moral and humanitarian values.”
In response to a question by Al-Jazeera Net, whether US foreign policy is affected by the coming and departure of people? And to what extent they are subject to democratic institutions or not, Al-Alousi confirms that what happened during the Trump era, especially the last year of his rule, was a clear emotion of personal impulses for the elections and the interests of the White House, and it led to the division of the situation between him and the Pentagon and even former presidents such as George Bush Jr. and others that caused confusion within the American institutions.
And he adds that these emotions have plunged Washington into a trap, and the Biden administration will not allow it to be repeated again, likely not to allow these factions to have any space to sit on the negotiating chair in Iraqi politics.
Al-Alousi considered that what will happen in Iraq in the future depends on the skill of Iraqi politics, stressing the need to send a government delegation to Washington to open new channels away from the influence of the factions.
The position of the factions
On the other hand, the armed factions believe that the American policy is based on subjugating the peoples of the world under their control, especially the Middle East and Iraq in particular, and it excludes any change in this policy with the departure of Trump and the arrival of Biden, the owner of the project to divide the country and the region.
Saad al-Saadi, a member of the political bureau of the League of “Ahl al-Haq” led by Qais Khazali, affirms that the factions under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces will not give up their demands to remove American forces from the country.
Al-Saadi, in response to a question by Al-Jazeera Net, wonders about the possibility of reconciling with the Biden administration if it showed flexibility with the popular crowd and armed factions by saying: How do we reconcile with America that has committed crimes and massacres against us, especially after targeting sectors of the Popular Mobilization Forces and the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, and its breach of Iraqi sovereignty and its lack of respect for it. Iraqi blood, vowing that the price of pure blood will be greater and tougher than Washington expects.
The leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the most anti-Washington parties, does not see any difference between Biden, Trump and others with regard to foreign policy, as it pursues a policy of preserving Israel’s national security and its efforts to pass the “deal of the century” in the region, expecting major changes to take place in the region. Given the US interests that seek to dominate and control the region’s assets, including Iraq.
However, political analyst Ahmed Al-Sarraji goes beyond what Al-Alousi and Al-Saadi mentioned, and points to the existence of harmony in controlling the movement of the armed factions, particularly the Shiite ones, between Iran and America, and does not exceed the interests of each, pointing to what he calls “keys” to a solution The symbols and talismans of these groups whenever America feels that there is a threat to them, and the result does not change Washington’s policy towards the factions, while keeping Iraq a sick man, but not to the point of death.
Al-Sarraji likens the killing of Soleimani and the engineer – which has stirred up relations between Tehran and Washington a lot – to “Othman’s shirt” which is used for purposes far from the core of the matter. Perhaps the killer and perpetrator is known, and he has declared himself, yet we find the response to him through denunciations, denunciations, condemnations and festivals. And the opening of pictures and not through retribution.
It reveals the features of one truth from this incident, which is the military’s inability to respond, and the fear of American retaliation, whether through bombing, commercial sanctions, or placing people on the terrorism list. The result: The issue of Soleimani and the engineer remains a sad drama that is repeated every year with the opening of new photos, and the release of their names on the streets and alleys of the miserable shantytowns in southern Iraq.
Sarraji puts the broadest weight on the Iranian position in determining Biden’s policy with the armed factions during the next stage, as it is the legitimate and moral sponsor for it, and not what it is carrying out in terms of bombing or media escalation, and this makes the congruence in performance converging between Trump and Biden despite Iran’s attempts to reduce the tone. And opening a page with the latter, hoping that it will get hope in lifting the sanctions, and it is possible that the factions paper will be among the negotiating papers between the two sides if there is a rapprochement as desired by Tehran.
He is surprised by the questionable US position and its seriousness in eliminating it, supporting the political process and making it successful, stressing the existence of a clear lax in this aspect to the extent that these factions used to expiate the policeman, the soldier and even the employee under the pretext of assisting the occupier, which made the process of building a strong state that would go uneasy to chaos and loose weapons and control Leaders over the country’s capabilities, which control the state and its governments.
Al-Sarraji ends his speech to Al-Jazeera Net by accusing America of its unwillingness to build a strong and stable Iraq, by making the country the bait with which Iran and its followers are preoccupied with interfering in the affairs of other Arab countries and Israel.