On June 17, the pro-Qatari London-based website Middle East Eye (MEE) published a lengthy discussion with Iraqi millionaire Khamis al-Khanjar where he narrated his political transactions packaging them as his “patriotic” struggle for Iraq.
Those with even superficial knowledge of Iraqi and regional politics can immediately deduce that a millionaire involved in politics in a plundered country like Iraq, who according to Reuters “was paying $65,000 a month to a Washington, D.C. based lobbying firm run by former Clinton White House officials to promote his cause in the United States” is a red flag.
The latest MEE piece exposes a couple of strategic Western narratives on Iraq which are important for Muslims to be mindful of when analyzing events in that violence-wracked country.
In discussing post-US invasion politics of Iraq, Western policy makers and their media outlets peddle a narrative which presents the West as the only power center aiming to establish a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional system in Iraq based on an honest electoral process.
This is far from true. Imperialist occupiers, throughout history have always had only their own narrow interests at heart. The US is no different.
Al-Khanjar’s storytelling to MEE about his political salesmanship contains many half-truths and the entire piece peddles Western arrogance camouflaged through al-Khanjar’s political odyssey.
One of the primary half-truths presented in the piece is that Washington was working with former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and all other Iraqi political groupings in order to create some sort of political balance.
Crescent International has covered Iraq extensively and is familiar with many Iraqi politicians and their groupings from their days in exile, long before they adorned three-piece suits and became regular visitors to Western capitals.
Since the days of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Husain, Western intelligence agencies have been attempting to create an anti-Iran political bloc among Iraq’s Shia population.
The political rise of Ayad Allawi has to do with this agenda.
While the US managed to create a grouping of Shia politicians distant from Iran’s regional anti-imperialist agenda, that “achievement” never transformed into a popular project supported by the masses.
The simple and most obvious validation of this failure was the presence of millions of Iraqis for the funeral of General Qasem Soleimani.
Washington’s other primary objective in Iraq was and is to turn the Islamic scholarly institutions in Najaf into centers of opposition to Qum.
While American contacts with scholars in Najaf are regularly presented as being rooted in academic discourse, plurality of thought and inter-faith dialogue framework, the key objective is to attempt to transform Najaf into a center of opposition to Qum.
Such a project has no real popular traction on the Iraqi street.
When covering Iraq, Western corporate media regularly pushes the narrative that it is the US and its NATO allies who are preoccupied with building a diverse Iraq free of sectarianism.
It should be remembered that prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Sunni-Shia tensions were never at the forefront of political issues in West Asia.
The same applies to the conflict in Syria. The sectarian narrative of events in Syria is also of Western making.
While sectarianism and corrupt politicians are part of Iraq’s political landscape, attempting to explain the situation in Iraq primarily through these two phenomena whitewashes NATO’s crimes in Iraq and the wider region.