Al-Kazemi and Iran... cautious support

I'm an image! 2020 / 05 / May

Al-Kazemi and Iran... cautious support


Reza Al-Gharabi Al-Qazwini - researcher and writer on Iranian affairs

No one disputes the importance of the Iraqi file to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iraq is a country of strategic importance in the region and an important neighbor to it. This importance increases when the United States, the sworn enemy of Iran, is present with all its weight, power, and political, security, and military powers on the western side of its borders in Mesopotamia.

For more than a decade and a half, there has been a clear conflict between the two countries in the Iraqi arena, with each side holding the other responsible for the failures and tensions that are reflected in the arena. While both sides have a great political weight that reaches the stage of drawing the features of successive Iraqi governments and their heads.

While Iran was accused of being responsible for the setbacks of the majority of those governments because of its support for some active Shiite forces and personalities in the political arena, and the use of the media for this purpose, as it left a clear impact on the feelings of the angry squares, to which it was depicted that Iran and its allies are the cause of all the devastation and failures in Iraq, ignoring the role of the opposite axis and the parties working in its orbit. This is the prime minister who did not gain the approval of the American administration because of his stances towards the Americans.

As for Mustafa Al-Kazemi, he did not reach power under normal circumstances. The man is the result of difficult labor and a destructive marathon. Even if the circumstances were normal, he was not even offered as an option by the Shiite powers and Iran for many reasons, including his favoritism over the Americans.

However, the very critical and disturbing circumstances lifted the very possible Iranian veto over Al-Kadhimi, and thus the latter was able to reach the most important executive position in the country, amid Iranian concern that warned of the repercussions of this nomination and acceptance.

There are clear reasons on the Iranian side for concern about Al-Kazemi assuming the position of prime minister, and most importantly, what is said about him about his closeness to the American decision-making circles, and from here began fears inside Iran of undermining Iranian influence inside Iraq and strengthening the American presence. Tehran believes that the American military presence harms its interests in Iraq and poses a threat to its internal security. It also poses a threat to the Iraqi resistance factions close to it, which were a striking force against the terrorist organization ISIS.

These concerns were transmitted to the Iranian media and even activists on social media, where many, especially those close to the fundamentalist movement, believed that after Al-Kazemi assumed power, it was necessary that his first mission be to expel the US military forces from Iraqi lands, in implementation of the decision of the Iraqi parliament and in response to the crime of assassinating the two martyrs, Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.

However, the issue of the raid on the headquarters of the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades in Baghdad by a force affiliated with the Prime Minister shortly after he assumed power aroused greater concerns among followers in Iran, and they considered the issue a quick start to implementing the scheme targeting the crowd.

Clearly, the active force and the official and semi-official media in Iran have taken a calm and cautious stance towards Al-Kazemi and his government, which confirms the existence of an Iranian decision not to weaken the new prime minister and his government due to the current conditions in Iraq.

Al-Kazemi's visit to Iran, which was to be his second stop after Saudi Arabia, had a remarkable role in the Iranian view of the new prime minister, at least on the media level. Especially the meeting that brought together Al-Kazemi with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, who considered the "meeting that breaks the strict health protocols" imposed inside the leader's residence due to the Corona pandemic, and he is the first official to meet him during the past months.

  The meaning of the meeting was clear to the Iranians, as Mr. Khamenei stressed during the meeting the need for the Americans to withdraw from Iraq and that his country does not forget the killing of Soleimani. It was clear that Tehran expected Al-Kazemi to implement a new plan to expel the Americans from Iraq, which is a thorny matter that would be embarrassing for Al-Kazemi, especially since the latter wants to build balanced relations with both parties, in addition to the relations between him and the Americans.

The existing information and the Iranian position towards Al-Kazemi so far indicates cautious support for his government without dropping or putting obstacles, but the matter depends on the way Al-Kazemi deals with strategic political and security files, the most important of which is the balance in His foreign relations and not ignoring Tehran and restricting the American military presence or withdrawing them from Iraq, in addition to the way to deal with the Iraqi resistance factions.

Nor can we ignore the file of economic relations between the two countries. The Iranians are counting heavily on increasing trade and exporting goods and energy to Iraq because of the urgent Iranian need for hard currency in light of the current economic conditions, because Iraq is the main economic artery for Tehran after the stifling US sanctions.

It seems that Al-Kazemi's recent visit to the United States does not worry Tehran as long as the man can maintain balanced relations with both parties and not ignore the concerns of the Iranians.

The interest of all Iranian decision-making circles in dealing with the Iraqi file confirms a new Iranian awareness of the importance of the current Iraqi situation and the need for changes in the form of relations and the expansion of the roles of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council and the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Despite all this, and contrary to the official Iranian trend, it seems clear that some Iraqi Shiite political parties exert great political and media pressure on Al-Kazemi through several files, and this matter seems complicated, as it is not yet possible to know the extent to which Tehran will be affected in the future by this pressure and attack, or whether it can calm its allies. As I mentioned, it is largely due to Al-Kadhimi's ability to deal with these complexities.