Iraqi positions on Iran’s strikes

Nermeen Al-Mufti , Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

Most Iraqis support the rights of the Palestinian people, though there are differences concerning support for the Iranian strikes on Israel, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti in Baghdad


Iraq is always in the midst of the different struggles in the region, either because of its geographical location and its natural wealth or because of its political positions regarding the critical issues and its allies and alignments.

However, there are always also differences among the Iraqis themselves on these issues, and this has also been the case with last week’s Iranian strikes on Israel.

Social media platforms in Iraq revealed differences regarding the Iranian strikes that targeted Israel, but even so there were posts and tweets by activists known for being against Iran. They supported the Iranian strikes because the majority of Iraqis stand behind the Palestinians and their right to an independent state.

One Iraqi intelligence officer from the period before 2003 tweeted that “regardless of the results, the Iranian attack on Israel was great and bold.” There were other posts against the strikes fearing for Iraq’s security.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq also blessed the Iranian strikes on its social media platforms, but it was noteworthy that there was no official Iraqi comment on them, even as they came on the eve of a long awaited meeting between US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani in Washington at the weekend.

During a meeting on Sunday with National Security Adviser Qasim Al-Araji and a number of security officials at the Peace Palace in Baghdad, Iraqi President Abdel-Latif Rashid stressed the need to reduce tensions in the region and not be drawn into an expanding circle of conflict.

In a statement published by his office, he said that wars will not bring solutions and will deepen the problems between countries.

The Lebanese daily paper Al-Akhbar quoted a source in the Iraqi Council of Ministers who had accompanied Al-Sudani on his trip to Washington as saying that “the Iraqi government acts on the basis of its independence of any regional or international party. Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani always makes it clear to others, especially Iran and the US, that Iraq is a neutral country that does not act at the expense of its stability.”

“The Iraqi prime minister asked Iran about three months ago to put the Iraqi arena outside regional tensions, and this happened after the comprehensive agreement to calm the situation.”

Political analyst Abdel-Ameer Al-Majar told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Iraqi official stance on the Iranian strikes on Israel was determined by official statements made either by the prime minister or the Foreign Ministry.

Iraq supports the rights of the Palestinians, but it does not want to be a party to the conflict and does not want the war to expand and bring the entire region into chaos, he said.

“There are political forces close to Iran in Iraq that have announced their support for the strikes,” Al-Majar said, but “Iraq’s position cannot be reduced to this.”

Regarding the differences among the Iraqi positions, Al-Majar said that “these different positions are due to differences in political and ideological orientations, but in general the majority of Iraqis support the right of the Palestinian people to achieve their aspirations, while also noting that there is sensitivity towards Iran in the streets.”

* A version of this article appears in print in the 18 April, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


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