IRAN CONTROLS IRAQ'S CABINET APPOINTMENTS

IRAN TRIES TO CONTROL THE APPOINTMENT OF IRAQ’S KEY CABINET POSTS

Twice in the past week, the Iraqi parliament blocked the appointment of key ministerial posts by Iraq’s new Prime Minister Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi. The main sticking point with certain party blocs in the parliament has been Mahdi’s insistence on the appointment of Faleh al-Fayadh as Interior Minister. Major blocs like Saairun, supported by Muqtada al-Sadr, have walked out of the parliament, leaving it un-quorate each time Mahdi has tabled Faleh al-Fayadh’s nomination. The issue has left the government in stalemate since the elections in May, with many politicians accusing Mahdi of backtracking on his pledge to appoint a cabinet of independent technocrats. 

Faleh al-Fayadh

Opposition to al-Fayadh is not surprising. He was the brutal security advisor to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and masterminded the military assaults on the PMOI/MEK refugees in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, killing 168 defenceless men and women and wounding a further 1,700. His record of atrocities has earned him the accolade of an indictment by the Spanish Courts for crimes against humanity, limiting his ability to travel in Europe. Predictably, the venally corrupt and sectarian Maliki has openly rejected the Iraqi parliament’s refusal to nominate al-Fayadh as Interior Minister and has thrown his support behind the pro-Iranian blocs in the dispute. Like his former boss Maliki, Fayadh is a puppet of the Iranian regime. On the orders of the mullahs in Tehran he led the ruthless Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces during the campaign to oust Daesh (ISIS) from Iraq, overseeing the almost complete destruction of the ancient cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul in the process and the genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Sunni population.

 

Determined to see their candidate installed as Interior Minister, the mullahs have now sent the terrorist commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force on a diplomatic mission to Iraq to press for his appointment. The sinister General Qasem Soleimani visited Baghdad to take tea with the Mufti and to order the Iraqi Parliament’s Speaker, Mohamed al-Halbousi, to ensure the vote in favour of Fayadh was passed. The message that Tehran insisted on Fayadh’s appointment was apparently also delivered to the Prime Minister. General Soleimani then flew to Erbil in Northern Iraq, to pressurise the Kurds into backing al-Fayadh. According to British security officials that are in Baghdad to train the Iraqi military, Soleimani has also directed Iranian hit squads to assassinate critics of the mullah’s regime and opponents of al-Fayadh. These Qods Force hit squads allegedly assassinated Adel Shaker el-Tamini, a close ally of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and a fierce critic of the clerical regime in Iran. Shawki al-Haddad, a close ally of Muqtada al-Sadr was also allegedly murdered by the Qods Force assassins last July.

The Iranian mullahs’ malign interference in the internal affairs of Iraq has added to the growing crisis in the country, where there have been on-going public protests against the corruption of the political elite and the resulting unemployment and lack of public services. Rampant power cuts have left many Iraqi towns and cities with only a few hours of electricity daily. Water and sewerage infrastructure, destroyed during the US invasion, has never been re-built, despite Iraq’s burgeoning income from oil and gas. The country has been ranked as the 12thmost corrupt in the world, according to Transparency International, with billions being pillaged annually by the criminal political class. 

The turmoil over al-Fayadh’s appointment has paralysed the Iraqi government, where eight key post remain unfilled. The international community must persuade al-Mahdi to dump the terrorist Fayadh and revert to the plan of appointing a cabinet composed on independent technocrats. Iranian interference in Iraq has cost the country dear. The blood-soaked sectarian legacy of Nouri al-Maliki and his henchman al-Fayadh should be a stark reminder that the mullah’s influence in Iraq has only ever been malevolent.