(Sull, Iraq) So America’s liberal newspaper of record is shocked, shocked! that Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Iraqi government are puppets of the Iranian administration.

In what might be more a function of the curtailing of foreign reporters and the use of stringers to report news, one of the most open secrets in Iraq, even as far north as here in Kurdistan, was seen as news by the New York Times the other day. (“U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions,” 8/18/12)

When talks failed to reach an agreement allowing American troops to stay in Iraq, a power-sharing agreement was reached between the Shia, of whom al-Malik is politically in charge, and the opposition Sunni Muslims, who got the vice presidency spot.

Within weeks an arrest warrant was issued for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi a leader of the Sunni contingent. With a completely straight face the arrest warrant was issued against al-Hashemi charging him with terrorism!

al-Hashemi fled immediately fearing for his life but only as far as northern Iraq, Kurdistan, where he lives rather well. He has been known to travel around the Middle East at the request of various governments, i.e. Saudi Arabia and Qatar and has a residence in Turkey.

al-Hashemi was put on trial back in May not attending himself. The trial is occurring through his aides and government witnesses. The trial has been suspended and will continue in September.

This is nothing but a political show trial. The entire point is to consolidate the power of al-Maliki and the Shia Muslims who are closely associated with Al Qaeda. Reports of an increased Al Qaeda presence in southern Iraq have been rising.

Reports I get from friends, students, etc. who visit the Baghdad area and other southern areas report that there is a low-level civil war occurring that the world does not know about.

Iran has wanted to control Iraq for decades. Geo-strategically, if Syria, backed by Iran, is to fall, Iraq will be an excellent buffer between the Israelis and the Saudis.

This is an unstable region run entirely by corruption, not reason. The future is grim.


Vincent McGuire is a member of the University of Colorado political science faculty, currently on a two-year university teaching fellowship in northern Iraq.