Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Reactions to the Occupation of Fakka: A Barometer of Pro-Iranian Sentiment in Iraq?

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 20 December 2009 15:33

OK, so it was Friday, and a day off for most Iraqi journalists. For many hours we had to rely solely on Western newswires for information about the astonishing occupation by Iranian soldiers of an oilfield called al-Fakka on the Iraqi side of the border with Iran in the Maysan governorate. And in the end, also Iraqi news agencies did begin publishing the reports, even if half a day had lapsed before they really got going.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this little episode – and one of the few things that is possible to analyse without getting bogged down in speculation and conjectures – is precisely the reaction, or lack of it, by Iraqi media. Not so much what writers affiliated with Iraqi nationalists and secularists say – they were predictably scathing about both the Iranian occupation and the rather limited, belated and at times confusing official response by Baghdad. No, the interesting thing is what media close to the leading Shiite Islamist parties said.

On the one hand, the Buratha new agency, supportive of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and in particular close to Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, one of its more radical preachers, for a long time (i.e. well into Saturday) said absolutely nothing. Then it had a story to the effect that Jalal al-Din al-Saghir said the rumours of the occupation were lacking “corroboration”, before adding a report that the Iranians were denying having ever entered the disputed area. Today, around midday, it reported on how the Iraqi and Iranian foreign ministers had been in touch regarding the “misunderstandings” concerning Fakka. A similar lack of concern was expressed at the Nahrainnet website, which is frequently mislabelled a “Sadrist” website but in reality seems more like an Iranian-inspired pan-Shiite website that seeks to bring ISCI and Sadrists together over issues like support for the Huthis in Yemen (conversely the more genuine Sadrist website Al-Amara had a more critical angle on the occupation; the Iraq News website close to Ismail al-Waili, the brother of the ex-governor of Basra with past ties to Fadila, condemned it).

Things looked a bit different at the State of Law website, which is sympathetic to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Here, too, there was a long delay. However, towards the evening on Saturday it did publish a report in which the Iraqi foreign ministry confirmed that the Iranians had seized Fakka. Not only that, the website editors juxtaposed this item to a copy of the report from Buratha in which Jalal al-Din al-Saghir seemed to deny the incursion.

State of Law website coverage of the Fakka episode on Saturday [click to view in full]

Meanwhile, the US ambassador in Baghdad, Christopher Hill, sounded bullish about the emerging Iraqi official reaction: “It does speak to the overall view here that they are not going to be pushed around by Iran.” This seemed like an echo of his predecessor, Ryan Crocker, who never tired of telling us that the anti-Iranian stance of Iraqi Shiites during the war in the 1980s constitutes a veritable guarantee against excessive Iranian interference – never mind that Crocker focused his Iraq diplomacy precisely on those Shiites and Kurds that fought on the Iranian side, like Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim and Masud Barzani. But these days Maliki and not the Hakim family seems to represent the focus of attention for the optimists in Washington, and given the slightly more critical perspective on the Iranian operations on the State of Law website, maybe Hill was right?

Maliki’s press release disowning the State of Law website, reproduced on the pro-ISCI Buratha website

Not so fast. Saturday also saw another important press release from Nuri al-Maliki. In a brief note, signed 19 December in his capacity as chief of the State of Law list, Maliki disassociated himself entirely from the State of Law website, saying it was run from “outside Iraq”, and specifically dismissing articles that had been critical of ISCI’s leader Ammar al-Hakim. It is not the first example of friction between Maliki and the State of Law website, but the most serious so far. Previously, the website has come under criticism from circles within the Daawa party for running articles critical of Iran, ISCI, Hakim and not least its ISCI competitor, the Buratha website. Some of this material has since been removed, but the decision of Maliki to disown the website just at the height of the Fakka episode speaks volumes about the delicateness of his relations with Iran as well as the somewhat exaggerated nature of the Western narrative that construes him as some kind of bulwark against Iranian influences. True, that kind of Iraqi nationalist attitude certainly exists among many Iraqi Shiites – this is an important fact that many Westerners and Sunni Arab state leaders have serious problems in acknowledging. But at the same time, it would be wrong to portray Maliki, who is under double pressure from the Americans when it comes to the Kurdish issue and the Iranians with respect to de-Baathification, as the champion of this trend. (Breaking news: The State of Law website announced its own closure just minutes ago.)

Previous article on the State of Law website critical of Iran and the Shiite-led alliance, now unavailable

Until there is a more persistent pattern of Iranian transgressions, episodes like the Fakka incident ultimately serve as political theatre that will deflect attention from the more fundamental question about Iranian influence – at the level of high politics in Iraq, and through a constitution that works in Tehran’s best interest. In that perspective, Hill’s reaction is reminiscent of the way Crocker and General Ray Odierno spent a disproportionate amount of time tracking weapons smuggling from Iran while at the same time continuing to dine with pro-Iranian leaders like Hakim. We can only speculate about the possible explanations for the Fakka occupation itself, which may range from everything like local issues in the Maysan area via internal disagreements on the Iranian side of the border to the possibility that Tehran would like to test Maliki on the eve of his visit to Cairo. Far more important, for internal Iraqi politics, is probably how the Hakim–Maliki relationship continues to evolve over the coming months.

56 Responses to “Reactions to the Occupation of Fakka: A Barometer of Pro-Iranian Sentiment in Iraq?”

  1. Salah said

    Hummmm….U.S.-Iraq Troop Agreement?

    Article 26

    Iraqi Assets

    Based on a letter that will be sent from the President of the United States to the Prime Minister of Iraq, the United States will remain committed to helping Iraq in regard to the demand it submitted to the Security Council to extend the protection and other arrangements regarding petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas produced in Iraq and the resources and commitments that stem from these sales and the Development Fund of Iraq, these are the arrangements defined in the two resolutions of the Security Council (1483)(2003) and (1546)(2003).

  2. Joel Wing said

    I think the reactions by Iraq officials to this incident was muted because it was not that big of a deal. According to a US officer this type of thng happens every couple of months. There is an unofficial agreement not to work on disputed parts of fields that straddle the border between the 2 countries, but every now and then they will set up shop in the disputed area, raise their flag, and then when they leave the other side will go in to the same spot and put up their flag. The fact that the well that was involved in this incident was dormant, the Iraqis had only been there for a couple days, and the Iranians have apparently withdrawn points to this explanation.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    But it is getting more airplay in the Iraqi debate than previous incursions, including some of those involving various Shatt al-Arab islands. Politicians affiliated with both Iraqiyya and Unity of Iraq have been quite vocal in condemning it today.

  4. Salah said

    احتلال إيران لحقل فكة العراقي يرفع أسعار النفط

    2009/12/18بغداد ــ كريم عبد زاير

    في حين التزم وزيرا النفط العراقي حسين الشهرستاني والدفاع عبد القادر العبيدي الصمت ازاء هذا الخرق الايراني. فيما قالت مصادر في الحكومة ان هناك فكرة للتشاور مع السفير الايراني في بغداد. من جانبها نفت إيران التقارير التي أفادت بحدوث توغل لقواتها داخل الأراضي العراقية، وقالت إن السفارة الإيرانية في بغداد لم تتلق، حتي اللحظة أية اتصالات من جانب المسؤولين في الحكومة العراقية بهذا الشأن. وقال العقيد بيتر نيويل قائد الفرقة الرابعة في اللواء المدرع الاول المتمركز في حقل ادير “يقوم موظفون في وزارة النفط العراقية بزيارة هذا الموقع كل ثلاثة او اربعة اشهر لاصلاح مضخة او لاجراء اعمال الصيانة. ويطلونه بالالوان العراقية ويرفعون العلم العراقي. وعندما ينهون عملهم يعودون ادراجهم”. واضاف “وما ان يذهبوا حتي ينزل الايرانيون من التلة ويعيدون طلاء الالوان الايرانية ويرفعون العلم الايراني. لقد حدث ذلك منذ ثلاثة اشهر وهو يتكرر”. وبحسب الضابط الاميركي فان هذا الحقل يبعد مسافة 500 متر عن الحدود، ومسافة كيلومتر واحد عن موقع قوة عراقية. ويقع هذا الحقل في الجانب العراقي بحسب اتفاق الهدنة الموقع بين البلدين اثر انتهاء الحرب التي استمرت من 1980 الي 1988،. واشار الي وجود خمسة حقول اخري ضمن الاراضي المتنازع عليها بين البلدين. فيما دعت الحكومة العراقية الي رد هادئ وحل القضية عبر الوسائل الدبلوماسية. من جانبه قال مسؤول عراقي لجمعة ان جنودا ايرانيين عبروا الي اراض عراقية واتخذوا موقعا عند حقل نفط جنوبي تنازع ايران في ملكيته. وقال احمد علي الخفاجي نائب وزير الداخلية انه عصر الجمعة تسلل 11 جنديا ايرانيا عبر الحدود بين البلدين وسيطروا علي بئر النفط. واضاف انهم رفعوا العلم الايراني وما زالوا في الموقع “حتي هذه اللحظة”. وقال ان الحكومة العراقية لم تتخذ اجراء عسكريا لكنها اكدت انها ستسعي لاتخاذ رد دبلوماسي

    Iranian troops start withdrawal from Iraqi oil well
    20-12-2009 , 08:14 GMT
    Iraq said on Sunday Iranian forces had withdrawn partially from a disputed oil well claimed by both sides. According to Reuters, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh conveyed a small group of Iranian soldiers who seized the oil well in a remote area along the border on Thursday were no longer in control of the well, which Iraq considers part of its Fakka oilfield.

    “The Iranian flag has been lowered. The Iranian troops have pulled back 50 metres, but they have not gone back to where they were before,” Dabbagh was quoted as saying. “The Iraqi government has asked for the troops to go back to where they were,” he said.

  5. Reidar,
    If this incident is a message then who is the sender? Iran or the US?
    Perhaps Maliki understood it came from Iran so he is cosying up to ISCI in compliance to the threat (possibly for joining INA eventually?)
    Or is the media spin getting out of hand?
    The sadest part is the American interpretation of events, seeing that they are winning when in reality they are losing?

  6. Salah said

    The fact that the well that was involved in this incident was dormant

    This is a false statement, IT NOT dormant field, although it’s a low production field, its around 1000b/day.

    This biased, ill informed statement comes from supposedly from a “Teacher” who teach the respect and he knew the law well.

    What if your neighboring country will rise flag on US territory is that ok for you or be a miner act?

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, I’m not really sure whether it was intended as an important message after all. I am quite sure that the characterisation of the Iraqi response as a wonderful sign of political independence from Iran is off base. I think we will know more about the direction of intra-Shiite relations in Iraq when Muharram is over in a month’s time, hopefully without incident.

  8. Salah said

    Reidar, this recent incident in fact is not only one, a month ago Iran requested from Iraqi not using khur Al-Amya port” “!!ميناء خور العمية

    نائب عراقي:مطالب النظام الايراني بضم ميناء خور العمية الى اراضيه مخالفة للقانون الدولي

    قال عضو مجلس النواب العراقي محمد سلمان الطائي ان مطالب النظام الايراني بضم ميناء خور العمية الى اراضيه مخالفة للقوانين والاعراف الدولية وعلاقات حسن الجوار .
    واوضح الطائي في تصريح صحفي: كما هو معلوم ان ميناء خور العمية انشئ بايادي عراقية قبل تاسيس الدولة العراقية وبالتالي هذه المطاليب لاتزيد العلاقة بين العراق وايران الايجابيات وانما تسهم في تعقيد الاشكاليات وادعو الايرانيين الى التروي قبل اطلاق هذه التصريحات لانها لاتساهم في بناء علاقات وطيدة بين البلدين

  9. Salah said

    إيران تدعي ملكيتها لبئر الفكة

    ت إيران اتهامات عراقية بأن جنودها دخلوا إلى بئر نفطية في الأراضي العراقية، وأكدت أن البئر تقع داخل أراضيها بحسب الحدود الدولية المتعارف عليها. وفي المقابل أكد العراق أن البئر عراقية والاستيلاء عليها يعد انتهاكا لسيادة البلد، ودعا لحل سلمي وفوري للأزمة.

    ونقلت قناة العالم الإيرانية عن مصدر مسؤول في هيئة الأركان الإيرانية أن بئر النفط رقم أربعة من حقل الفكة النفطي تقع داخل الأراضي الإيرانية، وذلك بموجب معاهدة الجزائر الموقعة بين إيران والعراق في العام 1975 والتي رسمت الحدود بين البلدين.

    من جهته اعتبر المتحدث باسم الخارجية الإيرانية رامين مهمان برست أن الأخبار التي تناقلتها بعض وسائل الإعلام حول حقل الفكة النفطي لا أساس لها من الصحة، مشيراً إلى أنها ترمي إلى التأثير على العلاقات بين البلدين، موضحا أن بغداد وطهران تبحثان المسائل الحدودية بالطرق الدبلوماسية وعلى أساس معاهدة الجزائر.

    مع تصاعد الأزمة حول بئر “الفكة”
    إيران تطالب العراق بـ1000 مليار دولار كـ”تعويض حرب”

    قال مسؤول لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في البرلمان إنه وفقاً لتقديرات الأمم المتحدة، فإن الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية تطالب العراق بـ”خسائر حرب” تبلغ 1000 مليار دولار.

    وتعليقاً على ما سمّاها الضجة الأخيرة لبعض وسائل الإعلام العربية حول مزاعم احتلال الجمهورية الاسلامية الايرانية لبئر نفطية في العراق، اعتبر حسين ابراهيمي أن إيران “قد تغاضت في الماضي عن الكثير من قضايا العراق”، مضيفاً أنه “استناداً لتقديرات الامم المتحدة فإن الجمهورية الاسلامية الايرانية تطالب العراق بـ1000 مليار دولار كتعويضات عن خسائر الحرب التي شنها العراق”. وأضاف “حتى الآن لم نطرح مطلقاً هذه المسائل”.

  10. Joel Wing said


    well number four that was taken over is dormant, not the entire oil field. Perhaps you need to check your facts rather than resort to name calling.

  11. Joel Wing said

    Reidar according to a US army officer in southern Iraq back in Sep 09 a very similar incident happened. Did that get much play in Iraq at the time?

    It would seem to me that if the recent incident is getting more attention it’s because of election politics.

  12. Reidar Visser said

    Joel, the most recent event that did get a certain level of attention, if not quite as much, was the Khur al-Amiya incident referred to by Salah above. That was in November. And in the Shatt al-Arab. I can’t remember having seen any major public outburst about the situation in Maysan earlier.

  13. Salah said

    The Al-Fakah saga has two side play game.
    Internally in Iraq most Iranians hearts lovers’ politicians tried to use this saga distancing themselves and looks more nationalist for next election.

    Hazim al-Nuaimi, a political science professor at Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University.

    On the other hand, Mr. Maliki has appeared willing to dissociate himself from politicians Iraqis identify with Iran. He has also blasted Iranian ally Syria, blaming it for harbouring militants Iraq holds responsible for major bomb attacks.

    “His differences with Syria are in fact a message to Iran,”

    Also Iraqi oil analyst Mahmoud al-Jubouri said.

    As Iraqis increasingly reject outside interference, politicians seen as close to Iran may fare badly in March, leaving Iran a small window to define borders on its own terms.

    “Iran knows it has many allies in the current government, and there is no guarantee they will have the same influence in the next one,”

    As for Iran Al-Fakah occupation is a first step more serious in coming days or months.
    Iran by seizing Al-fakah oil filed was weighting the reactions inside Iraq and out side especially US reactions, and they may waiting 2011 for more dramatic move.

    Muwafiq Al-Samoraie who was head of Military intelligence he went exploring the next Iran move which he think more important and more worth in value, specially he was involve in Iraq/Iran war with his knowledge of Iranians greed and games as they now raising the issue of her compensation for 8 years war .
    He said:

    لم يخف المسؤولون الإيرانيون إصرارهم على مطالبة العراق بما سموه غرامات الحرب، التي تصل أو تتعدى 100 مليار دولار حسب تقدير المتسامحين منهم. لذلك ينبغي على الحكومة العراقية التحسب بدقة وحسم لتأمين الحماية الكاملة والقوية للبقع المهمة، وأولها حقل مجنون أحد أهم الحقول الغنية بالنفط شمال البصرة، والذي يقع على مرمى حجر من الحدود مع إيران. فخطوة كهذه أكثر أهمية ألف مرة من شق خندق على طول الحدود الغربية بدءا من الحدود مع سوريا، فالخنادق لا تؤمن الأمن. وينبغي الانتباه الى عدم الانشغال أكثر من اللازم بجهة الغرب العربية وترك الجهة الشرقية مفتوحة للمشاريع الإيرانية. ولا بد من موقف سياسي وإعلامي قوي، وعلى الأقل السماح للقوى الشعبية والمنظمات المدنية للتظاهر السلمي لشجب التجاوزات الإيرانية. فالسكوت عن قطع مياه الروافد والأنهار شجع الإيرانيين على تجاوز لا يقل خطورة.

    ان في وسع الحكومة الحالية كسب تأييد انتخابي قوي لو أنها قررت التصدي للدور الإيراني، لكن هيهات!

  14. Salah said

    Reidar, you did not respond to why US acorrding to SOFA stand silinet with this incedent and SOFA spacifically stated:
    protection and other arrangements regarding petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas produced in Iraq and the resources

    What your takes?

  15. Salah said

    a US army officer in southern Iraq

    this source lack of credibility for many reasons. non of any Iraqis can take his worthless words at all.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I suggest you take another look at the SOFA. It does not transform Iraq into a straightforward American protectorate. Article 26, which you quote, has to do mainly with protecting Iraqi interests that are being threatened as a result of remnants of the pre-2003 UN sanctions regime and post-1991 reparations etc. The reference to “protection” does not refer to military protection generally. The “protectorate” stipulations are in article 27 where there are a number of “ifs” and “buts” attached to them.

    With regard to your comment to Joel, of course you may or may not approve of the presence of US soldiers in your country, but as an historian I don’t think it would be wise to systematically invalidate and exclude US sources from the analysis of post-2003 Iraq without at least engaging with their substantive content.

  17. Salah said

    With regard to your coment to Joel, of course you may or may not approve of the presence of US soldiers in your country,

    Reidar, with full respects of your thoughts and views, but I found Jol is a complete biased neocones propagandist who believe in “NOBEL” Neocoen project in Iraq, which turned to be a hoax with his handlers.
    Its not more than an colonialism greed with such liars as turned from Blair recent questioning its all lies nothing with the ground oh humanitarians or human rights.
    During 1991&2003 With two distracted war I witnessed with all Iraqis which we as Iraqis, we believes the distraction of state of Iraq was not directed to a dictator and his gangs who were in US and Britons or in another places with billions in their accounts, and main thing here is the doctor’s family with billions of Iraqi money looted during their time living under US eyes in Jordan and Qatar kms from US the biggest and major inelegance and military basses.

    As a historian yourself and with all due respects of your positions here, we “Iraqis” first hand witnesses of major US and thinktank liars but also they are propagandist for their colonial project in ME.

    One last thing Reidar history written by the winners that’s means not necessarily an accurate and reflects the reality on the ground, Iraq 2003 war telling a lot.

  18. Joel Wing said


    you are both clueless and wrong.

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Hey guys please try to stay focused on the Fakka oilfield and its related mysteries. Thanks.

  20. Salah said

    إيران تواصل احتلال حقل الفكة
    استمر احتلال إيران للبئر الرابعة من آبار حقل الفكة النفطي العراقي الواقع على بعد 84 كلم شمال شرق مدينة العمارة بجنوب العراق لليوم الخامس على التوالي، رغم أن مجموعة الجنود التي قامت بعملية الاحتلال وهم 11 جنديا بقيادة ضابط برتبة نقيب اكتفت بإنزال العلم الإيراني والتراجع بضعة أمتار عن البئر.
    وقال موظف في شركة نفط الجنوب بالهاتف للجزيرة نت إن السرية الإيرانية التي احتلت البئر رقم “4” تراجعت قليلا إلى الخلف وأنزلت العلم الإيراني، لكنها ما زالت ترفع أسلحتها في وجه من يقترب من البئر وترفض التحدث لأي شخص وتلوح باستخدام السلاح عن بعد.
    وأيد عضو لجنة الأمن والدفاع في مجلس محافظة ميسان ميثم لفتة انسحاب القوة الإيرانية إلى الخلف عن البئر، غير أنه أكد أن “القوة الإيرانية لم تعد أدراجها بل إنها قامت بوضع دلائل وعلامات حول البئر قبل تراجعها بضعة أمتار إلى الخلف”.
    وكشف الخبير في شركة نفط الجنوب المهندس مسلم عبود عن “وجود مضايقات من الجانب الإيراني خاصة في حقول مجنون والفكة، خاصة أن حقل الفكة النفطي يضم احتياطيا يقدر بملياري برميل وقد تم اكتشافه أواسط السبعينيات، وبدأ العمل في الحقل عام 1979 عندما تم حفر أربع آبار تنتج خمسة آلاف برميل يوميا وزيد هذا الرقم ليصل إلى مائة ألف برميل يوميا بعد تشكيل هيئة نفط ميسان بعد ذلك ببضع سنوات”.
    ومن جهته وصف مركز الإعلام الاقتصادي العراقي الإجراء الإيراني بأنه سيعطي إشارات سلبية للشركات النفطية الساعية للاستثمار في العراق، مشيرا إلى أن توقيت هذا الحادث لا يتناسب مع سعي العراق لترسيخ ثقة تلك الشركات بقدرتها على العمل في الساحة العراقية.

  21. Salah said

    دعا رئيس مجلس النواب اياد السامرائي الحكومة إلى التعامل مع احتلال حقل الفكة بصورة جدية وترك أسلوب التباطؤ الذي يميز تعاملها مع القضايا المهمة وعلى أكثر من صعيد مع الدول المجاورة. وقال مكتب رئيس مجلس النواب في بيان له ” إن السامرائي يؤكد على أن الكل يعلم أن العراق لديه الكثير من المسائل العالقة مع إيران مشيرا إلى أن هذه القضايا لا تحل باتخاذ أجراء من طرف واحد بل عن طريق الحوار والتفاهم وتطبيق الاتفاقات والاعتراف بحقوق الجميع والوصول إلى حالة مرضية”، حسب ما ذكرت وكالة الصحافة المستقلة.

    وأضاف ” أن الحقول البترولية في كثير من دول العالم تعترض الجغرافية السياسية لأنها تمتد بين هذا البلد أو ذاك وفي هذه الحالة تتفق الدول على كيفية الاستثمار والتعاون”.

    ودعا السامرائي الحكومة الإيرانية إلى إيقاف التجاوز وسحب القوات الإيرانية التي دخلت إلى الأراضي العراقية وإيقاف العمل في هذا البئر من الجانب الإيراني في أسرع وقت.(حسب البيان)

    وحول إمكانية إنعقاد جلسة طارئة للمجلس حول هذا الموضوع أكد السامرائي :”أن هذا الأمر هو من اختصاص الحكومة التي يجب عليها التحرك بصورة سريعة لإنهاء هذا التجاوز لكن إذا ما قصرت الحكومة فان من واجب البرلمان الضغط على الحكومة لكي تتخذ الإجراءات المطلوبة بالسرعة الممكنة”

  22. Salah said

    مصدر: القوات الايرانية مازالت في ميسان

    أكد العضو في مجلس محافظة ميسان ميثم لفتة استمرار وجود القوات الإيرانية قرب البئر النفطية التي سيطرت عليها الجمعة الماضية ضمن حدود المحافظة. وذكر لفتة في تصريح صحفي أن الايرانيين انسحبوا من البئر بعد أن أنزلوا علمهم وابتعدوا مسافة تقدر بخمسين متراً لكنهم مازالوا داخل الأراضي العراقية. من ناحيته، أكد مصدر أمني أن قوات عراقية من حرس الحدود وحماية النفط تنتشر على مسافة مئتي متر عن البئر المحتل من الجانب الآخر

    دعوة لجلسة خاصة للبرلمان لمناقشة اتفاقية الجزائرمع ايران

    دعا النائب محمود عثمان مجلس النواب الى مناقشة اتفاقية الجزائر الموقعة مع ايران عام الف وتسعمئة وخمسة وسبعين . عثمان قال في تصريح صحفي إنه يجب تخصيص جلسة لمناقشة الاتفاقية ورفع التوصيات بشأنها ومعرفة ما اذا كان العراق يريد الاستمرار بها او رفضها ، موضحا ان مشكلة بئر الفكة النفطي الذي احتلته القوات الايرانية ناتجة عن تلك الاتفاقية . ودعا النائب محمود عثمان الى انهاء موضوع حقل الفكة باسرع وقت وعن طريق الطرق الدبلوماسية ، مضيفا انه اذا لم تتمكن الحكومة من انهاء الموضوع فيجب احالته الى الامم المتحدة

    اسامة التكريتي:احتلال بئر الفكة يعيدنا الى العداوة والتناحر

    وصف النائب اسامة التكريتي احتلال إيران احد ابار حقل الفكة بانه يمثل عملاً استفزازياً . وقال التكريتي في تصريح صحفي ان هذه الممارسات ستعيدنا إلى مربع العداوة , والتناحر , والاحتراب مع الآخر معبرا عن استغرابه من هذا الموقف ، في وقت يأمل فيه الجميع بناء علاقات ايجابية مع دول الجوار ومن ضمنها إيران

    استمرار الجدل بشأن التوغل الايراني في حقل الفكة النفطي العراقي

    شدد المتحدث باسم قائمة تجديد ان ايران وجدت باب الدخول العسكري المباشر مفتوحا لها في العراق وهي مطمئنة للصمت الرسمي الذي سيكون سيد الموقف ، على حد تعبيره. وقال شاكر كتاب في تصريح صحفي ان ايران تستمر لليوم الخامس باحتلال بئر فكة العراقي فيما تواصل الحكومة العراقية والأحزاب المتنفذة صمتها المريب دونما حتى ولو كلمة استنكار واحدة ، وكأن ما حدث أصبح من الامور الطبيعية وان إيران إنما تمارس حقها الشرعي. ودعا كتاب رئيس وأعضاء مجلس النواب الى المبادرة باتخاذ الاجراءات الضرورية الحاسمة التي من شأنها صد العدوان وانسحاب القوات الايرانية بأسرع وقت ممكن

    الهاشمي يؤكد ان العراق لن يسمح باي تدخل في شؤونه الداخلية ويدعو ايران الى كف اذاها عن العراق

    تواصل الجدل بشأن التوغل الايراني في حقل الفكة النفطي فقد دعا نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي الجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران الى الكف عن أذى العراق، مشددا على عدم السماح لأية دولة أن تتدخل في الشأن العراقي

  23. Salah said

    Adm. Mike Mullen,

    America’s top military official said the oil well incident must be resolved between Iran and Iraq, and there were no plans by the United States to intervene.

    In Baghdad during a two-day visit to Iraq, Mullen said Saturday that he remains worried about Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

    “I think signals are very clearly in the air that another set of sanctions, another resolution, that that’s coming,” he said.

    “I grow increasingly concerned that the Iranians have been non-responsive. I’ve said for a long time we don’t need another conflict in that part of the world,” he said. “I’m not predicting that would happen, but I think they’ve got to get to a position where they are a constructive force and not a destabilizing force.”

    “I worry a great deal about … Iran and destabilizing as opposed to stabilizing,” Mullen said.

    “And I worry about, you know, the clock now running on the dialogue and the engagement and sort of, where are we if that doesn’t finish well? And certainly recent indications are … they’re not very responsive.”

    الفكة أوّل اختبار للاتفاقية الأمنيّة العراقيّة الأميركيّة

  24. Salah said

    An official from Iraq’s South Oil Company, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Associated Press that Iran has been “pumping oil from their portion of the field at such high rates that nine of 22 wells in Iraqi territory have been left inoperable.”

    Azzaman reporter Mohammed Hameed spoke to Iraq Oil Ministry Inspector General Abdulkarim al-Aibi who offered the following summation of the claim:

    “I cannot understand the target of making such statements as well as their timing. It is strange to raise the issue of joint oil fields with Iran and ignore how Kuwait has been stealing millions of barrels for years and up to the present time.”

    Furthermore, the fields in question are not even mentioned by al-Aibi in his statement to Azzaman.

    “The joint fields with Iran are those of Naft Khaneh and Missan,” al-Aibi told Azzaman.

    According to Al-Aibi, Iraq has created a special committee to “coordinate with neighboring states the exploitation of joint oil fields.”

  25. “episodes like the Fakka incident ultimately serve as political theatre that will deflect attention from the more fundamental question about Iranian influence ”
    I think now upping the ante of Al Fakka incident is becoming more than a political theatre. On the surface it shows strong nationalism (demonstrations in Karbala?? It makes me feel proud!) but a deeper analysis may reveal that Mahmoud Al Jubouri’s statement in Salah’s comment #13 has substance, which means that the elections will be dirty.

    Although I sympathize with many of your arguments, you can’t blame an American for being a good American; Joel and those who believe that a Neocon agenda serves America’s interest and these nobel US soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country in Iraq are good Americans in my view, they should not be blamed if their policy did not serve Iraq’s interest. You can criticize Neocon policy because it didn’t serve US interest and this is what I argue about.

  26. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, I agree that it is becoming increasingly clear that the opposition is benefitting from this episode and that the strongest reactions are at the popular level, whereas the Maliki government seems to be in an uncomfortable squeeze. Most uncomfortable is ISCI, whose media for a long time even tried to deny the incident and labelled some of the anti-Iranian demonstrations as “Baathist”, but also Zebari, the KDP foreign minister (who called for a secret session at today’s parliament) and Daawa officials have been criticised for not being clear enough. Personally I had expected that the pro-Iranian politicians of Iraq would use the opportunity to feign some kind of strong “nationalist” reaction that could strengthen them in the elections, but apparently they are unsure about how to handle the situation. So maybe this is after all a test balloon by Tehran to study pan-Shiite solidarity in the middle of Muharram?

  27. Salah said

    So maybe this is after all a test balloon by Tehran to study pan-Shiite solidarity in the middle of Muharram?


    With all due respect, I have another thought, a test balloon by Tehran to find out who is still threaten here control on the south of Iraq, find out those who oppose here in southern Iraq.

    Remember Iran’s Quads Forces, and Iran’s militia had a lot of blame of the sectarian killing and assassinations.

    غير أن أغلب شرائح المجتمع في المدينتين اصطدمت بالقائمين على السياحة الدينية في الحكومة المركزية ومنهم أصحاب الفنادق الذين وصفوه بـ«هيمنة منظمة الحج والزيارة الإيرانية» على شؤون السياحة في النجف وكربلاء في ظل غياب وزارة السياحة والمؤسسات الحكومية المسؤولة، حيث تقوم هذه المنظمة بتوزيع الوفود الإيرانية على الفنادق، حسب ما يريدون وبأسعار متدنية جدا، بحسب أصحاب الفنادق. ومدينتا النجف وكربلاء تضم أقدس مراقد الأئمة لدى الشيعة.

    Faisal Kadri,

    I respect your view but I have never ever heard a long the history that people praised the invader/occupiers of their loved land.

    Reidar may tell us about German when they invade his country if Norway’s praised them because German soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country?

  28. Joel Wing said

    Once again, I neither supported the invasion nor the neocons, which is why I said that Salah is misinformed.

  29. Joel Wing said

    As for the events surrounding the Fakka take over I wrote this piece yesterday:

    It’s increasingly apparent that there was a series of tit for tat exchanges between Iraqis and Iranians along the border leading up to the seizure of Well Number Four. A local sheikh said that Iranian forces had been acting belligerent in the area since the beginning of Dec. 09 threatening any Iraqis who came close to the border. A U.S. officer in southern Iraq said that one side would go to a disputed well, put up their flag, work for a few days, then leave, then the other side would go to the same well, put up their own flag, etc. An Oil Minister spokesman confirmed that Well Number Four is dormant and not in use. A week before the take over Iraqi workers went out to the well and put up their flag, which definitely seemed to be an act meant to get an Iranian response given the preceding events, and then the Iranians seized it.

    It will definitely become election fodder, although it seems like it will all blow over soon enough.

  30. bb said

    Nobody seems to wish to address the Elephant – ie the threat that the shia majority Iraqi representative democracy represents to the current Iranian regime both in the long term (for regime survival) and the short-term ie the looming Iraq national elections which will stand in stark contrast to the recent Iranian election.

    Both Maliki and ISCI would have very good reasons to be treading a delicate path on this incident. Next door to Iraq stands a totalitarian regime, increasingly using “saddam” style police state methods to put down its democracy movement. Iran has more the twice the population of Iraq and the regime is bent on developing capacity to build nuclear weapons against which disarmed Iraq would be helpless.

    No wonder Maliki and ISCI want to play it down.

  31. Salah said

    Although Reidar did not let my all comments go through which is his rights as onwer of this space and I fully respect that.

    But now turned to be Iran occupied more tow oil filed in Al-Fakah region. as usual Iranian responded that they did not entered Iraqi terrestrial and they are on Iran side, i.e. these fields they invaded and controlled are Iranian not Iraqi!!!

  32. Joel,
    I think the escalation of Al Fakka is putting Iran in a difficult position: The choice between either supporting its Iraqi sympathizers or affirming its own claims for retribition, it seems that Iran chose the latter. To my mind, Iran’s overt message is clear: Iraqi electioneering will not matter, so from an Iranian point of view Al Fakka is (probably) not election fodder.

    I don’t think you should respect the views of Iraqis who praise an invader, I certainly don’t. I think you should respect the power of the US and the humanity of foot soldiers.
    Happy holidays.

  33. Salah said

    العراقيون يبدون استيائهم وغضبهم لاحتلال الفكة4من قبل ألإيرانيين

  34. Reidar Visser said

    BB, please note that ISCI and Jalal Talabani (of the PUK) were among the first in the world to congratulate Khamenei on the “succesful” re-election of Ahmadinejad.

    Salah, not all of your “comments” are comments. Rather they are links. Out of respect for other readers of the blog I need to limit the amount of space consumed by this kind of material. I have already e-mailed you privately at the address you supplied and explained this, but the e-mail bounced back again. At any rate, I am generally happy to publish links along as they come with some thoughts and comments of your own that can stimulate further debate on the main topic of the post in question. Of the 33 “comments” above, 17 contributions are from you which is more than half and I think a fair share.

  35. Salah said

    shia majority Iraqi representative democracy represents to the current Iranian regime

    This not true reading of the elements of Iraqi society .

    There is Iraqi Shiites in Iraq which majority and there is Iranians Shiites in Iraq who are small element.

    What US invasion of Iraq did is the Iranians Shiites Rise.
    In Iraq The Iranians Shiites Revival, US used them in here Conflicts Within Islam to Shape the Future of ME.

  36. Salah said

    Reidar Visser,

    I did not complain at all, just I thought my updating of Al-Fakah chopped, I understand that, with my full respect, I apologies if my comment sometimes not suite the topics.
    Thank you so much for letting us discussing here in this joyful panel with other people and friends, hope we have civil and fruitful discussion.

    Thank again Reidar wish you a happy Merry Xmas.

  37. bb said

    “BB, please note that ISCI and Jalal Talabani (of the PUK) were among the first in the world to congratulate Khamenei on the “succesful” re-election of Ahmadinejad.”

    Well of course they did. And of course they would have. That is my point.

  38. Salah said

    Faisal Kadri,
    May I suggest to you to read this book “Howling in Mesopotamia” by Haider Ala Hamoudi, spacially the part that Hamoudi’s commentary about his and his family’s dealings with American military members.

  39. Reidar Visser said

    BB: But you also seemed to suggest that Tehran was trembling because the valiant forces of democracy would enter from its neighbour in the west and threaten the survival of the Iranian regime. My point is that a more pessimistic narrative is also possible: That the arrows of causation may be pointing in the opposite direction, and that Tehran may opt to teach its friends in Iraq about how to handle democratic challenges from below – either by manipulating the election results, or, if necessary, by engineering mysterious “security disruptions” that almost automatically would bring back a more sectarian atmosphere. Or a combination of those two.

  40. Salah said


    Do you think this story have links to what the Iranians did with Al-Fakah, this remind us what Shah Iran did with three island that Iran invaded and occupied during Shah Iran till now:

    To illustrate the evolution of a new balance of power, we pointed to an alleged meeting between the commander of Iran’s infamous Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, and the American commander in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, along with the American ambassador, Christopher Hill.

    Our correspondent in Baghdad had been told of this meeting, which was said to have taken place in early September, first by a leading Iraqi politician with close ties to the Iranians. This was confirmed by a senior American official in a position to know whether such a meeting had taken place. Just before publication, General Odierno and Mr Hill officially denied that the meeting had occurred.

    The intricacies of regional diplomacy and a strenuous American denial
    The Economist, Nov 26th 2009

  41. Salah said

    Are these Shiites not Iraqis, these whom you think Iran control them and they related to Iran.

    These your misinformed dream , this what you don’t like this is what US have prevented them as they the voice of real Iraqis who love their land and hate those the traitors and occupier planted Green Zoon government.

    انما وفي سابقة لافتة. فقد أطلقت آلافا من الحشود الكربلائية هتافات نددت بشكل واضح بالسيطرة الإيرانية على بئر الفكة في العمارة.

    “ليش قوت الشعب بيه تتحكمون/ وبمصير الفقراء صرتوا تتجاورون/ الفساد ال بالتجارة/ استفحل وما له جارة/ جئنا نشكوهم اليك يا حسين/يا إمام الثائرين/على دربك سائرين”.
    .وتساءل الآلاف بحناجر غاضبة في الصحن الحسيني عن مصير تلك الحملة التي توعد رئيس الوزراء بالقضاء عليها وردت الحشود قائلة ” وين حامي الحرب على المفسدين/ ليش ما شفنا حكم عل المجرمين/ رقابهم محد لواها/ لا قضاء ولا نزاهة..؟
    .ورددت حشود أخرى هتافات اتهمت جميع الأحزاب والكيانات السياسية بالعمالة والتآمر على المواطن و العراق قائلين”تدري جيران الوطن متآمرين/ على تمزيق الوطن متوحدين/ كل حزب عنده أجنده/ والشعب بس الله عنده/ يا إمام الثائرين/ على دربك سائرين يا حسين..

    ورددت حشود اخرى قائلة” كم وزارة سابحة ببحر الفساد/ دمرت هذي الحالة أحوال البلاد/ ما كو لهم ليش رادع/ على الشعب من يدافع/
    وردت جموعا اخرى “نحن ندري الموت خبز الفقراء/ يده بيد من سفك دمك الأبرياء/ جئنا نشكى لك يا حسين/سرقنا المدعي بالشرف والدين/ يا إمام الثائرين/ على دربك سائرين..

    وردت جموعا تالية قائلة”نحن لا نريد من يبني له قصر على دجلة/ والشعب يقتله الفقر/ أسالك اين العدالة/ الشعب ساءت أحواله..
    عبد الحميد المهاجر ينتقد ويهدد رئيس الحكومة لمنعه من ارتقاء المنبر الحسيني
    وتابع: نسيت كل شيء بجلوسك على الكرسي؟ هل تظن انك ستبقى للابد؟
    فقاطعته الحشود المتجمهرة “هيهات منا الذلة.هيهات منا الذلة.
    وعاد الشيخ المهاجر للقول: الليلة الماضية قطعوا بث المحاضرة لأربعين دقيقة.منعوا وصول التردد للقمر الصناعي.يظنون أنهم يستطيعون إسكات صوتنا.انا اعلم الشخص المسئول عن ذلك. واقول لهم . ان لم تصلحوا الأمر فستلقون ما لا تحبون.
    وتابع: سأخصص ليلة للتحدث عن الانتخابات .لأهميتها القصوى.وأحذركم من انتخاب من سعى الى الكرسي.فجلس عليه. أحذركم من انتخاب من سعى الى كرسي الحكم ليس لخدمة الناس. وانما لتكديس الأموال التي يودعونها في المصارف السويسرية ودولة عربية لن اسميها الان.
    و.أردف :هل يظنون ان الشعب سيعيد انتخابكم؟

  42. bb said

    R, is it your interpretation that I was suggesting that forces of democracy would enter Iran in a military sense?

    Hardly. Was making a rather obvious point that the (shiite) Iranian regime is under threat from its own home grown democracy movement and that as a consequence would see the functioning(shia led) democracy in Iraq as a highly unwelcome source of inspiration to its dissenters.

    Montezeri for example. Would he have had more in common with Sistani’s sttand of thinking or Khomeineni?

    Given the potential for Iranian regime interference in the domestic politics of Iraq it is not surprising that Iraqi leaders would be very, very circumspect in the presence of the Elephant, and that should be taken into account in your analysis, in my view.

  43. bb said

    “Tehran may opt to teach its friends in Iraq about how to handle democratic challenges from below – either by manipulating the election results,”

    As you would know it is extremely difficult to manipulate elections conducted on the basis of proportional representation because of the huge number of fake ballots that would be required to alter the proportions to a decisive degree.

    Even if they were able to produce tens or even hundreds of thousands of fake ballots, the Iranians would also have to destroy a similiar number of genuine ballots otherwise the Iraqi election count would reveal a mystifyingly huge increase in voter registrations?

    “Security disruptions” are far more likely scenario.

  44. Salah,
    The book you mention: Howling in Mesopotamia, is old and not relevant to Al Fakkah events. I was in Baghdad two months ago and have more up to date stories.

  45. Joel Wing said


    That Economist story, if true, had the Americans asking Iran not to have Special Groups attack the withdrawing U.S. forces, and to tell Tehran not to interfere with Iraqi politics after the U.S. is gone. I don’t think it’s anyway related to the well take over.

    Like I said before, it appears that both the Iraqis and Iranians were provoking each other along the border over disputed oil wells, and that’s what led to the Fakka incident.

  46. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, maybe I misunderstood what you said, but I certainly don’t think that Odierno and Hill encouraged the Iranian occupation of Fakka, if that is what you mean.

    With respect to the much-feared scenario among many Arabs that the US will do a deal with Iran at the expense of Iraq, I think there are two tendencies on the American side. People like Odierno and Hill appear to genuinely believe in the idea of Shiite Iraqi independence from Iran. In practice, of course, many of their policies nonetheless strengthen Iran’s hands in Iraq, but I think these are unintended consequences stemming from analytical problems rather than the result of some kind of sinister plot aimed at undermining Iraqi independence. We see this for example each time Maliki tries to be nationalist, the Americans get paranoid about him getting too strong, too centralist, or too critical of the Kurds. They issue warnings to him, and voila, he is back to being a Shiite Islamist instead. This happened for example with the idea of joint patrols in the northern areas (an Odierno project) and the strong US reactions against special measures for Kirkuk in the elections law (which were fronted by Hill). As a(n unintended?) consequence, it will be exceedingly difficult for Maliki to win new voters north of Baghdad.

    There are others in Washington who do not believe Iraqi nationalism exists at all, and who may be more inclined to the sort of direct deal-making with Tehran that many Iraqis and Arabs fear. I am still not sure whether Biden belongs to the former or the latter category, but certainly his warnings to Maliki over the summer not to be too critical of the Kurds had the net effect of strengthening the prospect of the Kurdish-Shiite alliance that Tehran prefers.

    Bb, no I understand what you referred to. The view that some kind of benign democratic wave will spread peacefully from Iraq to Iran is another common idea among people in Washington who take an optimistic view on the situation in Iraq. To my mind it overlooks a.) the ability of the Iranian regime to strike back using dirty tricks; and b.) the fact that the Shiism of Najaf is not nearly as “quietist” as they think, and that Sistani often considers himself to be above the law and the constitution. I am not sure what is so wonderfully democratic about millions of Iraqis waiting and waiting for weeks in October 2005 so that Sistani could make up his mind about what they should vote with respect to the constitution, and when Sistani finally issued his extremely reluctant yes (“it has [unspecified] weaknesses, but OK, vote Yes, then”) many asked no further questions. Also I wouldn’t underestimate the likelihood that there may be significant fraud under a proportional system: With the current set-up of around six competitive entities, even small changes to the results can produce dramatic political effects, and the ethno-religious parties that won in 2005 effectively control 8 out of the 9 commissioners of the IHEC (they were nominated on a muhasasa basis).

  47. Salah said

    Reidar Visser,

    Yes that what I meant (you may call me conspiracy theories) but we knew that US in may regions and countries they had have some sort of deals to facilitates their interest even that side is a Devil they hat .

    As for the oils field saga I think Iran have to test as you said all the reaction in same time sending massage that they can interferers and make miss here with very small effort without moving have army troops and air force its only a matter of moving few KMs, today and follow that more move.

    By doing so, Iran got more attention and free hand in the region with very weak like Iraq or shaky kingdoms like all GCC states who are hopeless and dependently on US to help.

    The other point here also as Iraq auctioning his oil field and the estimation for Iraqi oil reserve 115billion (This in 1970 estimations, some saying now it’s 300billion) Iraq has the world’s second largest proven oil reserves. According to oil industry experts, new exploration will probably raise Iraq’s reserves to 200+ billion barrels of high-grade crude, extraordinarily cheap to produce. The four giant firms located in the US and the UK has been keen to get back into Iraq.

    I do not believe the American do know what people they choose in Iraq have heavily Iranian dependent and Iranians lovers. If you asked about their some Iraqis before the war they most possible they will tell straightforward they are Iranian backing and lovers.

    Therefore, US with all their project for Iraq that has been obvious years before 2003, I don’t think they are so stupid they don’t know the outcome of putting Maliki, Ja’afary “Da’awa party” or Al-Hakeem with Badar Militia and others in power and they expected a new nationalist movement been built in new Iraq.

    As for subject of critical of the Kurds, I think you well aware that US are playing on both side in this case about Kirkuk

    There are others in Washington who do not believe Iraqi nationalism exists at all, and who may be more inclined to the sort of direct deal-making with Tehran that many Iraqis and Arabs fear.

    I think not just there are others in Washington who do not believe Iraqi nationalism exists, their denial knowingly that Iraqi nationalists against their interests, their occupation in Iraq and against their roadmap for Iraq.
    This the main cause of their inkling and talking/ denial about the non-existence of Iraqi nationalists.

    The fact is Iraq a nation and state have 5000 years of life with history full of brightness and pride if compared to any nation of planet that cannot been denied of saying not exists.

    As you would know it is extremely difficult to manipulate elections conducted on the basis of proportional representation because of the huge number of fake ballots that would be required to alter the proportions to a decisive degree.


    This is not quite right.
    We had Afghanistan election, we had Iraqi election,. in Afghanistan US ambassador and US/UN representative (who were fired after that) the fraud and fake ballot/ lection form was massive(Just to remind you BBC reporter(under cover) had managed to get 5000 election forms by paying USD100. and he told whatever number of form its available up to 50,000. this report broadcasted by BBC before the election)

    In Iraq there the last election were the election form was bought by paying USD 100 for the person also you my remained those many ballet boxes vanished and then turned after 2-3 days after and the counted.

    Therefore, there are no guarantees that any elections in Iraqi or Afghanistan have very reliable and less variances, to drive you to say it is difficult to manipulate elections conducted.


    I did not said it has anything related to Al-Fakah at all, Yes is an old book, Please reread my comment I pointed you to those “ a good American; Nobel US soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country in Iraq are good Americans they treated Iraqis during their mission in Iraq. Even with people who came with invaders as the writer, whom were Iraqi /American himself telling in his book? I do not need to remind you with Abu Graib war crimes…

    Btw, Faris,
    I believe (correct me please) you left Iraqi in 1970, you never been in Iraq since, you visited Iraq two months ago. So you really do not have idea what Iraq been before 1991, during 13 years of sanction, followed by Shook & Awe distractive war.

    Can I ask you one question, honestly how many Iraqis (normal Iraqis not the green zone ones), asking you how and they wish to leave or left Iraq due to all miss and chaos?

    Joel Wing

    That Economist story, if true, had the Americans asking Iran not to have Special Groups attack the withdrawing U.S. forces,

    Joel, if you read the Economist, they first overdraw the article that they publish first due to US denials (especially Odierno and Hill) then they come with this new article telling that their Iraqi report was right, the meeting was happened, this first part of the story.

    The second thing you saying that Iranians had “Special Groups attack the withdrawing U.S. forces” I did it read any where this matter, any way let not forgot same Iranians as Iran’s spiritual leader said publicly that Iran helped US in her war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    But what Iran now trying they understand well the politics in the region and US policies in ME they trying to extends their power as much as they could even against US wishes so they playing their very famous chess game they invented deep in history.

  48. Salah said

    To Bb, Joel and Faris,

    Please read this may give more deep understanding what Iraq today after 7 years…. of those who sacrifices their lives to built a new Iraq but what new mean that the question is?

    ما قاله ارسطو عن الهريسة

  49. Salah said

    We see this for example each time Maliki tries to be nationalist, the Americans get paranoid about him getting too strong, too centralist, or too critical of the Kurds. They issue warnings to him, and voila, he is back to being a Shiite Islamist instead.

    A balance of powers has given way to an imbalance of power, and space for a legitimate counterweight has thereby been handed over to shadow armies impelled by private agendas but mobilised in the name of nationalism. Patriotism gives theocratic movements strength that they might never have achieved by a more transparent declaration of intent. This was the story in Iraq; this is the story in Afghanistan. In Iraq, they have been co-opted into the system, where they bide their time, waiting for local politicians to self-destruct and American forces to leave.

    The Guardian, Friday 25 December 2009 14.00 GMT

  50. Salah,
    I have been to Iraq since I left, I grew up in Abu Ghraib and not everybody wants to leave Iraq now.
    Salah: You care about attitude, I care about policy. If you want my response then please keep your comments to the policy subject because I can’t fix your attitude problem.

  51. Salah said

    If you want my response then please keep your comments to the policy subject because I can’t fix your attitude problem.

    Policy produced chaos with disastrous outcome to Iraq and Iraqi life, it has nothing to do with attitude Faris.

    not everybody wants to leave Iraq now
    Iraqis top list of refugees seeking asylum
    Thu October 22, 2009

    apologies been out of topic , Faris sorry I can’t change your attitude either.

  52. bb said

    One wonders if the (continual) suggestions that the Iraqi shia leadership act under the control of Iranian masters, the absence of consideration of the geo-political context, the deriding of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the debunking of his quietist credentials is not an ethno-sectarian analysis reminiscent of saddam and the Baath’s demonisation of the “persians” during the 80s and 90s under the guise of “nationalism.”?

    The effect can be seen by the outpourings of anti-persianism from Salah every time the issue is raised. May I respectfully suggest that more balance is needed?

    “some kind of benign democratic wave will spread peacefully from Iraq to Iran is another common idea” among people in Washington who take an optimistic view on the situation in Iraq”

    This is not my view. The shia led Islamic Republic of Iran had a democratic (ie modernising) component from the beginning. The increasing secularisation/westernisation in Iran became clear in the 90s (after end of war.) The appearance of the modernising “Green” movement was a logical extension.

    Ergo, the reformist Iranians have little to learn from the maturing Iraq democracy. However the obvious danger for Iraq is the turmoil in the Elephant as the totalitarian regime there resorts to saddam-like measures to purge the reformists and extinguish the democratic component of the Republic.

    To go back to my original point, the current Iraqi leadership has good reason to be very circumspect. Iraq has no choice but to live with the winners, regardless of the outcome.

  53. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, I wondered if you could elaborate on what you mean with “the deriding of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the debunking of his quietist credentials” as “an ethno-sectarian analysis reminiscent of Saddam and the Baath’s demonisation of the Persians”?

    My own “debunking of Sistani’s quietist credentials” is available in a paper at as well as in a recent article in SAIS Review vol. 29 no. 2. Unfortunately, the latter it is not freely available online (there is a pay link at ), but here is an excerpt that maybe addresses some of the themes you are concerned with:

    “So far, in studies of Sistani, there has been an unhelpful polarization
    between, on the one hand, those who characterize the leading Shiite cleric
    as entirely quietist, almost dormant, and, on the other hand, those who see
    him as a great manipulator behind the scenes. Looking at Sistani’s behavior
    over time, though, it is clear that there is nothing static about the higher
    Shiite clergy. Quite the contrary, it seems as if the Shiite clergy chooses to
    interact with the state on a case-by-case basis. When it does so, it expects
    to be listened to, and at times may actually consider itself above the law. In
    other words, the idea that Iraq’s clergy consists of ‘quietist’ scholars who
    have relinquished all pretensions to power for doctrinal reasons simply does
    not stand up to scrutiny. Rather than involving the cession of authority, it
    is the aversion of entrapment in the institutions of state that characterizes
    the top Shiite scholars, and that continues to define their non-state role.
    Put differently, when some Iranian oppositionists dream of a ‘Sistani alternative’
    in their own domestic politics, featuring a pliant, ritual-oriented
    clergy—a vision that came to the fore once more after the disputed June
    2009 presidential elections—such oppositionists engage in a high degree
    of wishful thinking. Rather, today Iraqi Islamists claim that the Iraq-based
    clergy exercises a stronger influence over Iraqi politics than their Iranian
    counterparts, precisely because they remain outside of institutions when
    they enter politics.”

  54. bb said

    R, I asked a simple question if Montazeri would have more in common with Sistani’s strand of thinking or Khamenei? This question was in the context of the Iranian regime’s present crackdown on the Montazeri-supported reform movement and why the Iraqi shia leadership – ISCI and Maliki -would have good reason not to be making an issue of reported Iranian provocations over the Fakka oilfield. In other words, was offering a geo political context to add to the ethno-sectarian one implied in your analysis when you concluded:

    “episodes like the Fakka incident ultimately serve as political theatre that will deflect attention from the more fundamental question about Iranian influence – at the level of high politics in Iraq, and through a constitution that works in Tehran’s best interest. ”

    Your reply immediately debunked Sistani “the fact that the Shiism of Najaf is not nearly as “quietist” as they think, and that Sistani often considers himself to be above the law and the constitution.”

    In your 2006 paper, curiously enough, you do not make the charge that Sistani considers himself to be above the law and the constitution? So why do you say it now? What’s happened since 2006 to suggest Sistani sees himself above the law and constitution?

  55. Reidar Visser said

    And my reply is that, yes Montazeri is somehwat more similar to Sistani, but Sistani is not what you think Sistani is, i.e. quietist. Obviously when I wrote my paper in early 2006 the constitution had barely come into effect so by that time Sistani had not had much time to contradict it. However, he subsequently did so on a number of occasions in the 2006-2009 period, covered in the other article which I referred to (which unfortunately I am not allowed to publish in full online due to copyright restrictons). However, I have detailed some aspects of one of these episodes here:
    Another one, referred to in the paper, materialised in the context of the SOFA debate in the autumn of 2008.

  56. bb said

    Not being learned in these matters I have no idea if Sistani is a quietist or not. Although one thing seems obvious – he does seem to stay quiet for very long periods!

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