Iraq’s protests hold threat of Shiite internecine showdown, key to Tehran’s control of Baghdad

Adel Abdel-Mahdi’s resignation as Iraq’s prime minister on Saturday, Nov. 30, confirmed that Iraq’s 22 million Shiites (out of a 39 million population) are being torn apart by a potential internal Shiite war. More than 400 people were killed in three months of protest and 16,000 injured. At least 40 died on Friday, most from gunfire.

The protest against corruption and failure of government sweeping the Shiite south and parts of Baghdad is pitting opponents of Iranian influence against the Shiite militias loyal to Iran which defer to Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani. By stepping down, the prime minister responded to the demand of Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who condemned the use of force against protesters and called for a new government.
DEBKAfile analyses the root- causes leading up to the current crisis.

  1. The last Iran-Iraq war was fought 40 years ago when Saddam Hussein led Sunni rule in Iraq and the Shiites were an oppressed minority.
  2. The current crisis finds Baghdad ruled by Shiite politicians. They command Shiite militias of quarter of a million officers and men, which are more powerful than Iraq’s national army and armed with more advanced weaponry.
  3. However, the split allegiances of those militias are the cause of the unfolding internecine war, since, through them, Tehran calls the shots for the Baghdad government.
  4. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei entrusted Gen. Soleimani with the “Iraq file.” His task is to employ Iraqi militias to forcibly incorporate Iraq in Iran’s Shiite arc of influence, along with Syria and Lebanon. But the Al Qods chief missed a beat by being too focused on his task to notice the increasing restiveness of a population deprived of proper services and jobs under a failing economy and deep corruption. He first responded by transforming the loyal Badr Brigades militia into a political party, the Badr Organization, which took its place in parliament as one of the largest factions.
  5. Officials of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, meanwhile, instead of developing the war-torn country and its oil-based economy, busied themselves with promoting Iranian influence, while amassing personal wealth and positions of strength for themselves and their personal militias.
  6. They took no interest in the quiet competition going forward between the Iraqi and Iranian clerical establishments for control of the world’s 150 million Shiite Muslims. The question of which is superior between Qom in Iran and Najaf and Karbala in Iraq has never been resolved. For now, Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali al-Sistani, aged 90 and 45-year old Moqtada Sadr hold the edge over their Iranian colleagues. And it is they who are most adamantly opposed to Iran’s dominant influence in Baghdad and the machinations of its agent Gen. Soleimani. The motives behind this power contest are therefore both national and religious.
  7. The protest demonstrations started out in October under the slogan of “The Iraqi Intifada of 2019” marking them as an uprising against Iran’s dominant footprint in Baghdad as well as their other grievances.
    On Saturday, after burning the Iranian consulate in Najaf, they celebrated the prime minister’s resignation, but went on to demand an end to Iran’s interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
  8. The protesters remained defiant amid a bloody crackdown. After the burning of the Najaf consulate, Gen. Soleimani made the huge mistake of ordering Iraqi Shiite militias led by Al Qods officers to suppress the street riots in Najaf and Nasiriya with live ammunition as well tear gas. More than 40 protesters were killed in 24 hours.  The Iranian general was reported late on Saturday to be planning to go to the extreme of deploying loyal Iraqi militias to seize control of Najaf in order to silence Ayatollah Sistani.
  9. The Iraqi protest movement’s battle with armed pro-Iranian gunmen is fast descending into a showdown that will determine not just who rules Baghdad but the fate of Iran’s influence in Iraq,
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39 thoughts on “Iraq’s protests hold threat of Shiite internecine showdown, key to Tehran’s control of Baghdad

  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:00 at 20:00
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    Iraq is in civil War for 20 years. Even if there will be new civil War the outcome will be like Syria. The riots gives good opportunity to eliminate opposition and the Iranian will use it.

    Reply
    • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:53 at 20:53
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      And 10- iraq is now more likely to use as a missile pad for any attack to israel

      Reply
    • Nov 30, 2019 @ 22:57 at 22:57
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      As Predicted, now Iran Shiia Regime is Facing Conflict Chaos in Iran, Tehran, & 5 Fronts in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza, & Syria. Welcome to Shiia Nightmares Regime Change!

      Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 10:36 at 10:36
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      Despite the Measures the Israel & America Border Security will not be fully addressed until each Nation State itself becomes a Reliable Security Partner to Protect All People from Religious Terrorists, Drug Cartels, Criminal Financial Arms Groups.

      Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:00 at 20:00
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    WELCOME ALL SHARMOUTAS!!! ALL DIRTY HOLES WILL BE SERVICED HARD AND DEEP. FIRST THE HAIRIEST AND MOST STINKY ONES!! ALL YOUR SHARMOUTA DISEASED MOTHERS WILL BE HUMPED TOO!!!!! IA MA THE HUMBING SHARMUTA GOD!!! YOU ARE ALL SHARMUTAS!!! ON YOU KNEES!!!!

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:32 at 20:32
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    the only thing you can be sure of is that the Iranian People that want Freedom and Democracy will suffer.

    Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 1:02 at 1:02
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      you mean like in ‘Zimbabwe’ and ‘Britain’?

      Reply
      • Dec 1, 2019 @ 13:29 at 13:29
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        Ivan, Rhodesia was far better run than ‘Zimbabwe’ today.

        Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:52 at 20:52
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    Marg Bar Iran!

    LONG LIVE PERSIA!

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 20:54 at 20:54
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    iraq will be divided into a kurdish state the east half shiite the western sunni that will ally with saudi and jordan egypt that translated to NO LAND BRIDGE FOR THE SNAKE IRAN TO CROSS via LAND INTO SYRIA

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 21:42 at 21:42
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    I hope Iraq finds its way out of Iran control. Iraq has natural resources and can be one of the richest country in the ME. Iraq does not need Iran as its model as Iran does not have anything (beside death) to offer.

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  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 22:17 at 22:17
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    MAY THE GREAT IRAQI PEOPLE THROW THE BEARDED PERVSIANS OUT AND SAVE THEIR WELL-HUNG HUMP-BACK CREATURES FROM THE BEARDED SAVAGES OF IRAN!

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 22:27 at 22:27
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    Solemani does not have the brains it takes to establish hegemony….. with over 400dead, it’s not going to end well,…yet the sunnis and Kurds are yet to start rebellion against Iran, which they will in a short while.
    Following close by is Lebanon and Iran proper……
    GOD BLESS ISRAEL,THY ENEMIES ARE CRUMBLING
    https://m.jpost.com/Opinion/A-new-Christian-antisemitism-609334

    Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 13:55 at 13:55
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      @Robert… IRGC Solemani is now a Hunted Scapegoat & be given the blame by the Mullahs!

      Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 22:53 at 22:53
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    The Great Shiia Schism Division between Iran-Iraq Split & Now a Secular Separation that can result in Dividing Iran & Iraq into a New Persia, New Iraq, & Kurdistan Nations. https://youtu.be/FcGFOorA2xg

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2019 @ 23:54 at 23:54
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    Democracy in ME, a wrong and unfair proposition for the period from the XX to the XXIV centuries.
    Leave these people to themselves in the middle of their medieval era?
    Plus, are mostly Muslims, and by way of consequence severely handicapped!

    Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 0:50 at 0:50
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    At least when the Muslims are doing internecine stuff they are not targeting Israel.

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    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 2:07 at 2:07
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      If the Iraqi Shiia are Smart they would Align with Israel & be Part of Removing Iranian Shiia Regime from Iran Power. It is going to happen anyhow as Ordain by Allah having them back in Mosques Helping Not to Kill People!

      Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 1:29 at 1:29
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    Who cares if these animals in Iraq kill each other? The worst of their worst killers will illegally enter the EU and well – we already know the rest of that story, don’t we?

    Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 3:31 at 3:31
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    “Mission accomplished” !

    Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 10:41 at 10:41
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      Protections for Present Solving Peril Problems of the Past cannot Advance Mankind by Iran Shiia taking it back to 632 AD-CE & must Change, Adapt, & Evolve or Disappear!

      Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 10:43 at 10:43
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    The Judaeo-Christian American Revolution Based on Biblical Values must be the Global Restoration over French, Russian, & Chinese Secular Revolutions. As well as, Iran Shiia Revolution that do not Value Individual Life for Every Person Globally?

    Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 12:35 at 12:35
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    Muslims can’t quite divorce themselves from their extreme religion to build good lives and economy. They always manage to ruin the lives for themselves and others in their conquest for supremacy.

    Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 12:44 at 12:44
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    It shouldn’t be a surprise that a region which the uneducated, reckless US cowboys intervened in by first supporting Saddam against Iran, then destroying Iraq and disbanding its army ended up like this. Trump should do what he said and get all US personnel out of involvement in the region’s wars. He hasn’t really done this and it’ll probably come to bite him in next year’s US elections.

    Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 13:11 at 13:11
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      @David… It looks like that was the Plan after 911? The Planes Terrorists came from Arabia & Egypt. Saddam was a Threat to Israel. What better way to make sure Sunnis Fight Shiia! Shiia run to Russia & china for Help, Sunnis come to America & Israel, and EU as Always in between making money from both sides. Better Fighting among Mideast Broken Governments Anyway instead of in America. Up to Mideast Tribal People to Protect Themselves Wasting Oil Resources & Less Fighting Abroad! America Oil & Gas Dominate Again as well!

      Reply
    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 15:40 at 15:40
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      David
      Trump is still learning.

      Reply
      • Dec 1, 2019 @ 21:44 at 21:44
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        @Anon… Everybody is still Learning never stops & Events causes Responses with more Learning. The Life We Learn With & The Life We Live With Happens To All! Except Mideast They Are In A Loop Of Century Mistakes!

        Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 15:38 at 15:38
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    In these End Times, we need to keep in mind that corruption is the natural order of things in this fallen world:

    If you see oppression of the poor and perversion of justice and righteousness in the province, don’t be astonished at the situation, because one official protects another official, and higher officials protect them. The profit from the land is taken by all; the king is served by the field. (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9)

    https://raptureandendtimes.com/2019/11/23/giving-thanks-from-prison-to-deliverance/

    Reply
  • Dec 1, 2019 @ 20:37 at 20:37
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    I would like to wish BOTH Shia factions the best of good luck in wiping out the other faction

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    • Dec 1, 2019 @ 21:48 at 21:48
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      POTUS FDR acted the Same Way when Fascists & Communists fought each other in Spain until Europe needed America to Save Europeans Themselves from both! Mideast Shiia still fighting 632 Blood Feud over Ali!

      Reply
  • Dec 3, 2019 @ 0:20 at 0:20
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    Thanks George.

    Reply

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