Which party is worried about the ratification of Iraq’s National Guard legislation? Which party benefits if the Iraq’s National Guard is not established?
The National Guard bill was drafted by the al-Abadi government in early September 2015, and it aimed to be sent to the Parliament for voting and ratification. However, Iran’s opposition and the pressures of elements affiliated to the Quds Force in Iraq postponed the voting to another time.
The ratification of the National Guard bill by the Parliament is one of Iran’s major concerns in Iraq. The ratification of this bill will strike a heavy blow to Iran’s investment in Iraq, being the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF). That is why Iran is going to all lengths to prevent the ratification of this bill.
1. According to the Quds Force’s internal assessments, the ratification of the National Guard bill, the PMF will either turn into a useless and illegal force, or forced to merge into the Army or Police, or be recruited within their own provinces under the National Guard bill. With the establishment of the National Guard, the PMF will no longer have its pervious use, when it was at the service of the Quds Force.
2. Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani has asked Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the Badr Corps, and other militia commanders affiliated to the Quds Force to block the ratification of the National Guard bill in Parliament with all their might, and if in any case the bill were to be ratified in Parliament, violent measures have to be carried out in Baghdad and other provinces against this bill.
3. In late August, in a meeting with the presence of Hadi Ameri and other militia commanders, such as the Badr Corps, Seyyed al-Shohada Movement, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq, Katayeb Hezbollah, Jahad – Sazandegi, Resaliyoun, al-Najba, Katayeb Emam Ali, Fat’h al-Mobin and the Khorasan units, the actions after the ratification of the National Guard bill were discussed. Hadi al-Ameri noted a few points about the future of the militias after the ratification of this bill in Parliament:
· If the National Guard bill is ratified, all of the militia offices that were established during Maliki’s term will become illegal and have to be shut down
· Based on the National Guard bill, the entrance of militia members into the National Guard is banned
· Any military budget will be distributed based on the budget law and the militias will be out of this context.
4. Abadi insists on changing the entire PMF structure and organization, and cancelling arms deals with Tehran. This was the main subject of dispute between Suleimani and Abadi in the [Shiite] National Alliance session,” Iranian regime officials saying.
5. Senior Iranian officials are saying in addition to the National Guard Law, the changes Abadi is scheduled to make in the PMF has raised enormous concerns for them. Therefore, to prevent the adoption of the National Guard bill Iran dispatched a military delegation to Iraq in late August to first hold a joint meeting with previous Quds Force commanders and review and analyze the National Guard bill.
6. This delegation reviewed the National Guard bill from a technical point of view, reaching this conclusion that the plan has been prepared very professionally and to the utmost precision. Under this plan any force or unit outside of this framework will end in futility, and the PMF and militias will be considered outlaws.
7. In addition to implicitly threatening Abadi on adopting the National Guard plan in the Parliament, Suleimani has called on Iraqi MPs representing Iran-associated parties to take advantage of the popular demonstrations in Iraq to depict the issue of dissolving the parliament as a popular request. Iran has called on its affiliated Iraqi TV stations to conduct interviews with elements loyal to Maliki and focus on opposing the National Guard plan.
8. Inside the National Alliance there is a serious divide regarding the National Guard formation. Even various MPs from the State of Law, Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq and Sadrists agree with the plan. However, the effort of Hadi al-Ameri and various Iran-associated MPs are focused on the failure of this bill.
9. The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad is also imposing immense pressure on National Alliance MPs to prevent this bill in the Parliament. Danaie-Far, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq has called on these MPs to focus their positions against the National Guard plan and describe the plan as means to divide Iraq and a plot pursued by the United States.
10. One of Danaie-Far’s suggestions to senior National Alliance members was to focus on one aspect of the plan each time it is brought to the floor in the Parliament, and the bill would lapse through the various processes in the legislative body. Furthermore, with all the changes made afterwards, it would literally become a completely bill altogether.
11. A security session in Iran held in early September in Tehran with Shamkhani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, he called on Danaie-Far to hold meetings with sheikhs and tribal leaders loyal to Maliki and Sunnis leaning towards the former Iraqi prime Minister. Danaie-Far was ordered to focus his propaganda campaign on these sheikhs in order to launch a new wave of opposition with the National Guard bill and also use the popular protests against this plan.
12. Danaie-Far has personally informed Maliki that the adoption of the National Guard bill is against Iran’s interests in Iraq and has asked him to campaign all MPs linked to the State of Law and its internal factions to raise their voice against this plan in the Parliament. Maliki has also been ordered to launch massive propaganda against this plan in various media outlets.
13. Finally, I would like to answer the question I raised at the beginning of this piece. Why is Iran completely against the National Guard bill in Iraq and has made it a red line? Iran was using its militias and PMF to establish the Iraqi Revolutionary Guards in this country. However, due to the failures these militia groups suffered in Iraq, not only have such dreams faded into thin air, the National Guard plan will literally eradicate all Quds Force-associated militias in Iraq. Therefore, Iran’s efforts are all hell bent on preventing any such bills.