Although the Iraqi historian and researcher in security and strategic affairs, Hisham al-Hashimi, was not a significant figure on the Iraqi political scene, his assassination a few days ago, however, by unmasked assassins denoted a clear defiant message to prime minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi aimed at deterring him from going too far in curbing the Iranian influence in Iraq. The assassination of al-Hashimi came amidst the American pressures in their various forms and divergent levels to clip the wings of Iran and control her conduct in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon while paving the way for the regional solution stipulated by Trump’s Deal of the Century backed by the evangelical rightwing in the US. Al-Hashimi had close links with the Iraqi prime minister and he had been scathing in his criticism of Iran and the Popular Mobilisation Forces; his assassination came soon after the changes in the security leadership introduced by the prime minister, which included dismissing Faleh al-Fayad, head and advisor of the National Security Council and chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces, and replacing him by one of his close allies, General Abdul Ghani al-Asadi, a former Commander of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces.
It is common knowledge that Mustafa al-Kadhimi was imposed as prime minister by America with the backing of the Iraqi president Barham Saleh, as well as some Shia forces supported by al-Najaf, in the aftermath of the popular protests that erupted in October 2019 and forced prime minister Adel al-Mahdi to step down. Seven months after the delay in forming the new government due to the differences over the person of the president, the partisan apportionment and the government’s programme which revolved around Iranian and US influence in Iraq continues to have no connection to the popular demands save in a token manner, exactly as is the case in Lebanon.
President Barham Saleh was very instrumental in backing al-Kadhimi and rejecting candidates of the Shia blocs loyal to Iran; it was a precedent that would have not happened since the American invasion had it not been for America’s persistence in downsizing the Iranian influence in Iraq and the region and assigning the task to the intelligence chief, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who hoisted the slogan of “regaining the state” in line with the demands of the protesters who had become exasperated with the team loyal to Iran dominating the decision-making mechanism, getting disproportionately rich and securing Iran’s economic and political interests at the expense of the masses, not to mention their oppressing of the masses, including kidnapping and killing the protesters, which was not confined to the Sunni constituent but also targeted the Shia elements linked to the Shia political forces loyal to the Hawza of al-Najaf.
According to LCIR’s own understanding, al-Kadhimi has been a CIA agent since he was an activist in the Iraqi opposition and linked to Ahmed Chalabi who supplied the US with fake reports on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that were used as a pretext to invade Iraq in 2003.
Evidently, Iran and her men in Iraq and the region were aware of America’s tendency to dwarf Iran and redefine her functional role within the framework of terrifying the Gulf States to give them the pretext to establish an alliance with Israel; this is the conventional role Iran has been playing since the days of the Shah and continues to do so in service to the US such as shelling the Saudi oil installations, damaging several ships in the Emirati seaports and supplying the Houthis with ballistic missiles and drones to threaten Gulf capital cities, in addition to the recent deployment of a number of missile launchers directed at the Gulf coastlines, which America dealt with in a covert manner to the point where she withdrew some patriot air defence systems from Saudi.
The appointment of al-Kadhimi as prime minister within the context of downsizing Iran’s role in Iraq coincides with the US actions of curbing Iran’s role in Syria and Lebanon, tightening her gip on the Syrian regime and dismantling its hard nucleus through economic pressure, which has affected its Alawite powerbase in the coastal towns and cities, instigating the Druze protests in al-Suwayda, and implementing the Caesar Act which will eventually weaken Iranian and Russian support to the regime, generate more popular resentment towards it, especially in the areas under its control, and incite rebellion within the armed forces, in addition to the military strikes by Israel on Iranian positions in Syria. The recent explosions targeting military sites on the outskirts of Teheran may have come in the same context despite the fact that they may institute the concoction of a limited confrontation to coincide with the imminent US elections, boosting Donald Trump’s electoral campaign, giving the Arab regimes a pretext to openly establish an alliance with Israel and serving Netanyahu’s domestic political agenda.