Iran Lost All Its Cards

Al-Arab, London, April 19

It is no longer a secret that the Iranian regime is losing its cards one by one. The recent loss of control over Iraq may very well be a precursor to the mullahs’ own troubles at home.  Until a short time ago, Iran was the primary decision-maker in Iraq, especially since it managed to impose Nuri Al-Maliki as prime minister and prevent Ayad Allawi from assuming the post. However, while Maliki served as prime minister since 2006, the 2010 elections stirred the pot and gave rise to Allawi, who got the largest number of deputies in parliament. That was enough to enable [then-president] Jalal Talabani to replace Maliki and form a new government. Iran rejected this and imposed Maliki by force, in direct violation of the Iraqi constitution. This was all done through an implicit understanding with the Obama administration that all Iraqi matters be handed over to Iran. George W. Bush invaded Iraq, and Obama withdrew. Now, in 2020, Iran has significantly lost its power. All it is capable of doing is objecting to Adnan al-Zurfi, Iraq’s prime minister-designate, who was elected this past March. The cards have changed and Iran now has no veto power.  With each passing day, we gain a better appreciation of the blow suffered by Iran. On January 3, the United States managed to eliminate Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani, who was assassinated shortly after leaving the Baghdad airport, was the only Iranian figure able to rally Iraqis and Iranians together under the banner of an “Islamic republic.” We also know that Soleimani was killed together with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a pivotal figure in Iraq who enabled the mullahs to exert political power over their neighbor. Moreover, the recent drop in the price of oil and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic have dramatically changed the geopolitics of the region. The Iranian regime did not prepare itself for such swift changes. If Iraq is a model for the future of the Iranian project, then the Islamic Republic is in grave danger. What unites Iran and Iraq is not Shia sectarianism or belief in the guardianship of the Islamic Jurist. Rather, it is a deep dependence on oil revenues. The Trump Administration knew what hurt Iran most and where to put pressure on it. Therefore, there is only one bet left for Iran: to hope for Trump’s downfall in the November presidential election. Would a Biden Administration be enough to return US-Iran relations to what they were under Obama? What Iran does not realize is that the days in which hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on its militias are long gone. Iran’s problem with Iraq is that it is rejected by the Iraqi people themselves, most of whom are Shi’ites rather than Sunnis. Even in Syria, there is widespread mistrust and discontent toward Iran. As for Lebanon, Iran has found nothing to offer other than spreading the misery and poverty the Lebanese suffer from. Our region has entered a new era. This is the era in which the Iranian project will come undone. – Kheir Allah Kheir Allah (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.