Official Baghdad Pursuing Balanced Policy both with Iran & USA – International Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 8 May / corr. Trend D. Khatinoglu, E. Tariverdiyeva, R. Hafizoglu/ By deviating from the remarks of the Iranian policy concerning Iraq, official Baghdad is demonstrating a wish to support good relations with both Iran and U.S. "The statements by Iraqi officials in favour of Iran is because of the wish of the official Baghdad to purse a balanced policy between Washington and Tehran," Salih Kaabi, an independent Iranian political expert said.

"There is no evidence that Iran is supporting saboteurs in Iraq," Ali Dabbag, the official representative of the Iraqi government said in a press conference in Baghdad, BBC reported on 5 May. Ali Dabbag made this statement while commenting on the results of the visit by Tehran's delegation to Iraq who discussed Iran's intervention to Iraq's internal affairs. However, Dabbag unexpectedly denied the statement he made earlier in the emergency press conference held three hours later.

"Though Iraq is dependent on the US, officials of Baghdad clearly understand the political and religious influence of Iran in the region," Kaabi said to Trend by electronic mail from Baghdad. According to the political expert, the statements by the Iraqi government against or in favour of Iran are steps of the government members to confirm their political existence.

"The statements about Iran supporting terrorists in Iraq are an issue raised by a request from the US, "Kaabi said.

According to the political expert, at present Iraq is an arena to clarify its relations with high powers and it has also become a place where arms are sold cheaper than in any part of the world.

"The officials of Iraq are turning a blind eye to some provocation connected with Iran, however, any position against dangerous interventions of Iran to this country is taken seriously," Alireza Nourizadeh, the chairman of Iran-Arabic Research Centre based in London said to Trend .

Nourizadeh said that the diplomatic delegation of Iraq who visited Iran was insulted by Tehran. "The officials of Iran were scornful of the delegation in the first two days of the visit and they met, not with diplomats from Tehran, but representatives of Sepah Guds, the organization considered as the military organization of Iran. The harsh statement by the Iraqi premier Nouri-al-Maliki to establish an investigation group into the support by Iran to the Iraqi terrorists shows that the official Baghdad takes a hard line against Iran," Nourizadeh said.

"It seems that Iran supports both Iraqi Shias inside Iraq's official security forces and also Iraqi Shias outside of Iraq's official security forces," US expert Dr. Thomas R. Mattair said to Trend

"It seems, based on interrogations of Iraqi Shias from special forces or militias that are not part of Iraq's official security forces, that some of them travel into Iran and are trained in Iran by Lebanese Hezbollah trainers," Mattair said.

"And it is well known that Iran helped organize and train Lebanese Hezbollah. And some of the weapons used by these Iraqi Shia militias have Iranian markings or components," Mattair, independent policy expert based in Washington, said by e-mail from Washington on 7 May.

"I think Iran is hedging its bets. It wants to have good relations with Iraqi Shias that are in the Iraqi government and it wants to have good relations with Iraqi Shia special forces that are resisting the U.S. military presence in Iraq, particularly in order to tie down U.S. forces and make it harder for U.S. forces to stay in Iraq or think about military strikes against Iran," he said. According to Mattair, that strategy just provides justification for those in the United States who think the U. S. should strike Iran.

"Why do Iraqi government officials say what they say? Probably because they need to cultivate the good will and encourage the cooperation of Iran and discourage the U.S. from attacking Iran," Mattair added.

"I think there are several, complex reasons behind this assertion by the Iraqi government's spokesman. To begin with, the Americans themselves have yet to prove definitively that there are Iranian hands behind the insurgency," USA-based Iranian political scientists Mehran Kamrava said to Trend .

"Mere accusations do not constitute proof, no matter how often they are repeated. One of the things we see is that the US occupation forces accuse Iran whenever they encounter severe difficulties in establishing order in Iraq. I tend to question the voracity of their claims and accusations," Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Director Center for International and Regional Studies School of Foreign Service in Qatar Georgetown University, said by e-mail to Trend from Doha on 7 May.

"Also, I doubt if the Iranians, or even elements within the Iranian regime, are actively trying to undermine the central authority in Baghdad," he said.

"Instead, I think the Iranians are giving advice and training to groups on whom they can call in case of an American attack on Iran. Finally, the denial comes in the face of very delicate relations between Tehran and Baghdad, with Iraq's leaders not wanting to antagonize the Iranians further or, worse yet, give a pretext and an excuse to the US authorities to launch attacks on Iran. The Iraqis are only too well aware of the costs to them of a military confrontation between Tehran and Washington," Kamrava said.

" Iraq finds it useful to cohabit with both the US and Iran, so it is necessary not to provoke the US by arguing that Iran is supporting Iraqi militias," American political scientist Michael M. Gunter, professor of Tennessee Technological University, said to Trend .

"In addition, of course mere possession of Iranian weapons does not prove Iranian support for Iraqi militia. There is an open market for weapons cheaply bought by almost anyone. Certainly many fighters around the world possess US weapons that were not given to them by the US," he said.

"The PKK has US weapons which it picked up after 2003 but this does not prove that the US supports the PKK," Gunter said.

The Iraqi delegation paid a visit to Teheran to suspend Iran's invasion in Iraq and its support to anti-American militants. Achieving no results the delegation went back to Baghdad on 4 May. USA accuses Iran of supporting terrorist groups in Iraq and breaking the country's stability. Official Teheran has many times denied the accusations.

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