U.S. policy on Iraq Shi'ites could aid Iran

The Bush administration's courtship of the biggest Shi'ite party in Iraq could worsen a dangerous rift between rival Shi'ite groups and ultimately give Iran a greater political role, a think tank said on Wednesday.

The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, or SIIC, a cornerstone of the political alliance behind Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, has enjoyed close relations with Washington since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, unlike the rival Shi'ite movement led by anti-American cleric Moqtada al Sadr.

But the International Crisis Group urged the United States to adopt a more evenhanded approach to the majority Shi'ite community, saying in a report that Shi'ite rivalries are likely to have more influence on Iraq's future than the sectarian conflict between Shi'ites and Sunnis.

"The U.S. has fully backed (SIIC) in this rivalry. This is a risky gambit," the Belgium-based think tank said.

It warned that U.S. reliance on fighters from SIIC's Badr Organization as a counterweight to Sadr's Mehdi Army militia is "bound to backfire, polarizing the Shi'ite community and creating the foundations for endemic intra-Shi'ite strife."

"While Washington is intent on stabilizing Iraq, for example, (SIIC) is bent on ruling it," the report said.

It described SIIC's rivalry with Sadr as a class struggle between a Shi'ite merchant elite represented by SIIC and the far more numerous Shi'ite urban underclass devoted to Sadr.

SIIC members are believed to make up a sizable segment of Iraq's security forces, and the party holds about one-quarter of the parliament seats occupied by Maliki's ruling Shi'ite Alliance.

But SIIC could not prevail alone in free elections and would face a tough challenge from the Sadr movement even if it sought power at the head of a coalition of political parties, the think tank said.

"SIIC's empowerment through U.S. protection and support may open the door to greater Iranian involvement, especially once U.S. forces begin to withdraw," it said.

"SIIC's control over government security forces is far from complete and is challenged by many. As a result, it may seek even greater Iranian support in its battle for power."

SIIC was founded in Iran in 1982 by Iraqi Shi'ite exiles who returned to Iraq after the 2003 invasion toppled Saddam.

Although the party has tried to bolster its Iraqi credentials, the International Crisis Group said SIIC has not quite managed to shake off its past as an Iran-bred group of exiles with a sectarian agenda.

It said the United States should force SIIC to undergo fundamental change, including a purge of members involved in sectarian killings, torture and divisive rhetoric.

The think tank also urged the Bush administration to help move SIIC away from demands for a Shi'ite super region spanning Iraq's nine southern governates, an idea that has stirred widespread opposition, notably from Sadr, who portrays himself as a nationalist. ( Reuters )

Consumers must protect IoT devices - Fortinet
Consumers must protect IoT devices - Fortinet
WB plans to issue loan to finance another road project in Azerbaijan
WB plans to issue loan to finance another road project in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund opens tender to buy printing devices
Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund opens tender to buy printing devices
Loading Bars
Latest
WHO records over 817,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 worldwide
Iraq decides to quarantine evacuees from India for 14 days as total cases hit 1,108,558
UK records another 2,047 coronavirus cases, 5 deaths
Azerbaijan marks Day of Victory in Great Patriotic War
Iranian trucks do not transport goods to Karabakh - Iranian embassy
NCDC: Georgia to receive extra half a million Sinopharm vaccine doses in June
Iran may extend cooperation on inspections with IAEA
Consumers must protect IoT devices - Fortinet
Azerbaijan’s Baku city has beautiful National Gymnastics Arena – Russian gymnast
Baku holds awarding ceremony of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani team reaches finals in group exercises as part of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup (PHOTO)
WB plans to issue loan to finance another road project in Azerbaijan
Any attempt to glorify fascism is disgusting - Russian expert
Group team competitions underway in Baku as part of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani ADA University sсreens film timed to Day of Victory in WWII (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan names finalists in exercise with clubs as part of gymnastics World Cup in Baku
Azerbaijani gymnast reaches finals in exercise with ribbon as part of World Cup in Baku
Iran providing much needed mechanization for farmers in Qazvin Province
Germany’s import of steel from Turkey up
Azerbaijani president allocates funds for construction of new school in Shusha
Funds allocated for construction, repairs of educational institutions in Baku
Uzbekistan interested in co-op with French pharmaceutical company
Funds allocated for creation of heat supply system in Azerbaijan’s Shusha
France’s import of steel from Turkey up
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 9
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places medium-term bonds on auction
Cotton spinning factory of Turkmenistan’s Lebap region names production data
Chevron should remain cautious in further increasing oil & gas production
Azerbaijan to continue online lessons in 10th-11th grades, minister says
Foreign shipping lines expected to return to Iran
Austria increases import of steel from Turkey
Fars Province to be connected to north-east and south-east of Iran via railway line
1Q2021 value of operations via interbank national settlements system in Azerbaijan down
United Arab Bank turns around with Dh10.2 million net profit
Azerbaijan's MoD shares video about Shusha - cultural capital of Azerbaijan
New jobs created in Iran's Ardabil Province
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for overhaul of gas turbine engines
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price falls
World Cup in Baku became one of my favorite competitions - Azerbaijani gymnast (PHOTO)
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of controller
Value of Iran's import of Turkish steel in 4M2021 grows
Russia’s coronavirus reproduction rate remains below 1
Azerbaijan sets up new military units in liberated lands (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan increases exports to UAE
Best moments of second day of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (PHOTO)
Kazakh gymnast shares impressions of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup taking place in Baku
Cult of personality of Garegin Nzhdeh in Armenia can be compared with that of Hitler in Nazi Germany – Russian analyst
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 8
EU sceptical on vaccine waiver, but ready to discuss proposal
Azerbaijan confirms 649 more COVID-19 cases, 1,720 recoveries
Iran declares details of exports from Ardabil Province
Uzbekistan projects volume of direct foreign investments for 2021
Exports via Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province up
Turkey's 4M2021 export of steel to Georgia surges in value
China boosts import of Azerbaijani products y-o-y
Azerbaijan's Central Bank unveils data on foreign exchange transactions over March 2021
Azerbaijani Ro-Pax type ferry reaches Kazakh port of Kuryk (PHOTO)
G-7 countries back Taiwan's observer status in World Health Assembly
Lack of minefield maps delays mine clearance - Trend TV
Uzbekistan’s 1Q2021 cars export revealed
Results of Azerbaijani gymnasts’ performance in exercises with clubs, ribbons as part of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (PHOTO)
Turkish Energy Ministry prolongs oil, gas exploration licenses for several companies
Azerbaijani president displayed successful strategy on battlefield and in media - two tactics of Great Victory
Turkmenistan sees active dev't of cotton industry
Latvia reveals main economic indicators of bilateral cooperation with Georgia
Iran discloses number of restored mines in South Khorasan Province
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 15,685
Azerbaijan's CBC radio starts broadcasting in Karabakh
Iran's Khorasan Razavi Province to increase trade with Turkmenistan
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva made Instagram post on Shusha (VIDEO)
Iran to import Coronavirus vaccine - President Rouhani
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan implementing road and railroad construction projects
Competitions in Baku always held at highest level - Slovenian gymnast
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry discloses events to be held on occasion of Victory Day - May 9
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
Iran Khodro Diesel Company boots its production
Azerbaijan’s Baku city always warmly welcoming - Ukrainian gymnast
Uzbekistan's international reserves grow
Sri Lanka approves Pfizer COVID vaccine for emergency use
Turkmenistan signs decree on pardon for Qadr Night
Uzbekistan Railways plans to resume railway communication with Russia and Kazakhstan
Iran's IMIDRO begins study of public and comparative discovery in Albalaq mine
Azerbaijan’s Azerenergy company names winner of tenders for maintenance of IT equipment
Number of Azerbaijani insurance companies entitled to operate within Green Card system increase
Kazakhstan’s Intergas Central Asia company opens tender to attract services
Baku Stock Exchange unveils 4M2021 transactions on corporate securities
Azerbaijan expanding cooperation with Czech Republic in nanotechnologies
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 8
Uzbekistan suspends flights to Turkey and India
Scientific conferences, organized by Baku Higher Oil School on occasion of 98th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, are coming to an end (PHOTO)
Uzbek ministry extends tender for pumping and power equipment
Saudi Crown Prince, Pakistan’s PM hold talks as bilateral agreements, MoUs signed
Russia records another 8,329 new daily coronavirus cases
Kazakh-Turkish JV launches tender to attract equipment inspection services
Iran's Shahid Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company plans to increase production
Azerbaijani Central Bank makes allocations for software platform support
Israel among 12 ‘green’ countries okayed for UK summer travelers
Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku organized at high level - Georgian gymnast
Kazakh oil refinery opens tender to attract examination services
Int'l Judo Federation thanks Azerbaijan for return of previously detained Armenian judoka
All news