In a remarkable interview with the Sumaria television station, Ali al-Adib of the Daawa party has described recent cases of Iranian trespassing on the Iraqi borders as “trifling”:
إيران تعمل على أن تكون الحكومة المقبلة غير عدوانية ولا تحب الحرب واستخدام منطق القوة لحسم بعض التحركات البسيطة مثل تلك التي تجري على الحدود العراقية”، في إشارة منه إلى القصف الإيراني لمناطق شمال العراق والتوغلات في الأراضي العراقية الجبلية
Over and above that, Adib goes on to accuse unnamed parties for exploiting these “innocuous” incidents for propaganda purposes and demagoguery.
Given the current heated atmosphere of Iraqi politics, some commenters are already rushing to interpret these statements as an indication of the pro-Iranian stance of the State of Law alliance (SLA) as a whole, and as decisive proof of Iranian support for Nuri al-Maliki’s candidature for the premiership. That is too simplistic. In fact, there seems to be intense rivalry going on inside State of Law for the time being, with some reports saying Tareq Najm, the director of Maliki’s office, has been sacked while others say he is on sick leave. Significantly, since the summer of 2009 Adib himself has been a moving spirit in bringing SLA closer to the “other” Shiite alliance, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), and he recently refused to rule out himself as a possible compromise premier candidate for such a pan-Shiite constellation, indicating in fact a record of considerable friction between him and Maliki.
Although there is a certain parallel in the lack of reactions to the Fakka incident in December 2009, perhaps the most shocking aspect of this latest comment is the level of audacity. Back in 2006, Adib reportedly dropped out of the Shiite premier contest because he was seen as having too many family connections to Iran. Today he apparently does not see any problems in playing down what others will see as unacceptable violations of Iraqi sovereignty by Iran. It really is a far cry from the kind of “reduced Iranian influence in Iraq” scenario that the Obama administration has propagated over the past weeks during the run-up to the anticipated Iraq speech by the US president on 31 August.