by Alireza Jafarzadeh for FOX Fan Central
Washington, D.C. — As we get closer to the January
30th elections in Iraq, the main question is who has the
real potential of stealing the outcome of the elections? The Sunnis? The
Kurds? The independent-thinking Shiites? The Saudis? Or the Syrians?
A quick reality check
would reveal that Iran is by far the sole party with the
most realistic chance of pocketing the results of the Iraqi elections.
Many correctly argue that
the Iraqi-Shiites are different from Iran's ruling clerics. Even pro-Iran
Shiite leaders have assured U.S. congressmen that they are not
seeking an Iraq modeled after Iran. But does this guarantee that Iraq will not turn into an Islamic
republic? Absolutely not.
While in exile just weeks
before the fall of the Shah, Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini claimed that upon returning to Iran he would go to the holy city of Qom to teach in a seminary. He even
appointed a Western-educated, cabinet once the Shah fell. A few months later,
however, all ministers were jailed, executed, or otherwise sacked and the
dragon of Islamic extremism made his move to install an absolute theocracy.
Running on an anti-American, anti-Western platform, Khomeini’s Iran soon became the world’s leading
state-sponsor of terrorism, and began to develop a nuclear weapons program.
Khomeini also sought to establish a global Islamic empire, coining the motto
of “liberating Jerusalem via Karbala (Iraq).”
Today Tehran is paying some 10,000 Iraqi
clerics and thousands of Iraqi agents on a regular basis.
Nearly three-quarters of Iraq's population live within a 100
miles radius of the country's 900-mile border with Iran, making it vulnerable to the
region’s sole Shiite-dominated theocracy. Over the past few weeks, senior
Iraqi officials have repeatedly called Iran “enemy number one.” In a January
press conference, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the detained members of the Muhammad Army
responsible for a series of bombings and beheadings in Baghdad and elsewhere, admitted to have
been in contact and have received support from Iran.
According to information
received from sources in Iran, Tehran has spent $80 million to buy
Iraqi votes, and to help campaign for pro-Iran candidates. Tehran has also been funding at least 30
Iraqi media outlets, including radio and television stations, as well as
newspapers and magazines that have been campaigning for Islamic extremists.
Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan
warned recently that over a million Iranians had entered the country to pose
as Iraqis in the upcoming elections. He charged that Tehran was determined to "build an
Islamic dictatorship and have turbaned clerics rule in Iraq."
Some argue that because
of the escalation of violence, and the Sunnis’ fear of being left out, the
election should be boycotted or postponed. Others argue that the election in
and of itself guarantees Iraq a democratic future.
The real solution,
however, is for the Iraqi interim government and other relevant officials to
initiate a series of specific steps.
anti-fundamentalist and democratic Iraqi voices – both Shiite and Sunni — should
be strengthened, and the free flow of Iranian money, arms, and personnel into
Iraq should be stopped, to deter Tehran’s otherwise imminent dominance
over the outcome of any election held at any time. The outside instigators
involved in swaying the outcome of the elections should be arrested, exposed
to the Iraqi public, and brought to justice. Any Iraqi neighbors, especially Iran, caught meddling should have
their embassy personnel expelled. This would assure all Iraqis, Sunnis and
Shiites of a fair chance in the election. Those who are shunning the election
now would be encouraged to participate or otherwise would be isolated.
As King Abdullah of Jordan recently cautioned, if Iran succeeds in legitimizing its
long-held ambition of an Iraqi Islamic Republic, the result “would be very
destabilizing for the Gulf countries and actually for the whole region.”
Jafarzadeh is a FOX News foreign affairs analyst and president
Policy Consulting, Inc. He is a well-known authority on issues
relating to Iraq, Iran, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and Islamic
international concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program has
largely arisen from Jafarzadeh’s stunning revelations about seven formerly
secret nuclear sites, including the sites in Natanz, and Arak.
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