Iraq is accusing a group of foreign nations of launching a de-facto war on their country, and it doesn’t include the United States or the UK. Try Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In a sign of growing tensions between an Iranian-led bloc of Middle East nations and a Saudi-led group, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told France24 news that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding and supporting terrorists in Iraq.
In an interview with France24’s Marc Perelman, Maliki said, “I accuse them of inciting and encouraging the terrorist movements… I accuse them of leading an open war against the Iraqi government.”
Maliki, part of the same Shia Islam religious denomination as the leadership in Iran, further accused the Sunni Islam-led Saudis and Qataris of sponsoring terrorism in Syria and across the globe.
It’s ironic, really, since Iran is itself a world-sponsor of terrorism, including support for the Hezbollah terrorists fighting on behalf of the regime in Syria. And it’s true that both Iran and Saudi Arabia have been indirectly duking it out in Syria, each hoping the winner in Syria is on their side.
But the fact that Iraq is now accusing their neighbors of spearheading a proxy war in Iraq shows that this Middle East cold war is more than just opportunism in Syria’s civil war. It’s a full-blown regional battle.
Maliki told France24 that he doesn’t want to confront the Saudis or Qataris, but issued a veiled threat nonetheless. “We’re telling those countries, be aware, be careful, because the support of terrorism will turn against you.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported on their Facebook page earlier this month that 703 Iraqis were killed in acts of terrorism and violence during the month of February—not counting those injured in the ongoing battle over Anbar province.
According to UNAMI’s unverified figures, 298 civilians were killed in Anbar during the month of February. That puts the estimated total at around 1000 for the whole country.
The numbers stand in stark contrast to last year at this time, when UNAMI reported roughly 400 civilians were killed in Iraq in February 2013. The Iraqi death toll skyrocketed last May and has stayed relatively high ever since.
The fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran is disturbing enough—especially considering the oil controlled by the two sides—but the risk that Iran’s nuclear program could spark a nuclear arms race between sides raises the stakes even more. That would really start to bring back flashbacks of the US and the Soviet Union’s decades-long global struggle.
After all, the Iran-Saudi conflict is a cold enough war already.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, March 9, 2014)