MEMRI: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati And Associate Tells Shi’ite Clerics In Iraq: U.S. Is Plotting To Divide Iraq And Syria

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Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati And Associate Tells Shi’ite Clerics In Iraq: U.S. Is Plotting To Divide Iraq And Syria
MEMRI/June 16, 2016 Special Dispatch No.6481

On May 18, 2016, Ali Akbar Velayati, director of the Iranian Center for Strategic Research and an advisor and associate of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, spoke to Iraqi Shi’ite clerics, warning them that the U.S. was plotting to divide Iraq and Syria into a number of entities. Such a move, he said, would damage the entire resistance axis from Iran to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Velayati praised the actions of the Iraqi pro-Iran Shi’ite Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi militias as “the strongest and most serious religious force” operating in the country, and added that it is these Shi’ite militias that should liberate the Sunni city of Mosul, Iraq.

Stressing that the Iranian model of the rule of the jurisprudent should also be implemented in Iraq, Velayati hinted that that country should come under the authority of Khamenei. It should be noted that Iraq’s highest Shi’ite authority, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, opposes the implementation of this political model in Iraq.

Back in March 2015, Ali Younesi, an advisor to Iranian President Rohani and former Iranian intelligence minister, had said: “Iraq is not merely a sphere of cultural influence for us; it is also our identity, our culture, our center, and our capital. This issue is relevant today as it was in the past, because just as there is no way to divide the territory of Iran and Iraq, there is no way to divide our culture either. We must either fight each other or unite. The purpose of such a union would not be the elimination of borders; rather, that all the countries in the Iranian expanse would become closer, since their interests and security are interconnected.”[1]

Following are excerpts from Velayati’s statements to the Iraqi Shi’ite clerics:

“For the line of resistance, Syria is the gold ring. If Syria is divided, its government will collapse and the takfiris who are connected to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and America will take over. This will certainly have a negative impact on Lebanon and Iraq too.

“The line of resistance begins in Iran and passes through Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. This line of resistance stands against the spread of the Zionists and their American supporters and [supporters in] some Western countries.

“Therefore, we, and you, must be sensitive to what is happening in Syria, because if the Syrian government and nation are defeated by the takfiris, their next move will be in Iraq, and even Iran will not remain at peace because of their harassment.

“From the dawn of the history of Islam to this day, the Iranian and Iraqi peoples stood side by side and were inseparable.

“There is no doubt that Iraq is the most important country for the Arabs – both potentially, at this time, and in actuality, in the future. Since the dawn of the history of Islam, Baghdad has been the geographic center of Islam. Iraq’s geographic and political conditions, its deeply rooted nation and culture, and the happiness granted it by God have always meant greed in its enemies’ eyes…

“A few months ago, a U.S. army commander said that Iraq should be divided into three parts. Dividing Iraq would weaken it and perpetuate the internal enmity among [the various elements of] the Iraqi people. Then Iraq’s forces and resources would be squandered on self-destruction.

“How can Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, and Basra be divided? To whom will these important cities in Iraq belong? This is a very important plot desired by America, by backward states, and by America’s mercenaries in the region. We must fight this.

“The other issue is Syria and its connection to Iraq. Those who said that Iraq should be divided into three parts are actually the ones who are presenting the Plan B proposed by U.S. Secretary of State [John Kerry], who said that if the current Syrian regime does not leave, there will be no option but to divide this country [that is, Syria] into five parts.

“In Lebanon as well, [the Americans] have sown division and seek to ignite internal strife. These struggles will harm Lebanon, the region, and the entire Arab world. Anything happening to Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq will have negative consequences for other countries, including Iran. If the Satanic takfiri group – ISIS and its ilk – is victorious in Syria, its next moves will be in Iraq. Naturally, the reverse is also true. Therefore, the fate of these countries is intertwined.

“The enemies want to change the existing borders of the countries of the Middle East in order to distort the nationalist characteristics of countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, and to damage the unity that has been created at various points – just as they have done today in Libya. The solution to the regional problems and damage is to preserve [the countries’] internal unity, and to remain vigilant regarding existing plots that are undoubtedly headed by America.
“America’s presence in every country does damage. America cannot be allowed to make decisions for Iraq, Syria, and other countries. Why? What have they [i.e. the Americans] done [for these countries]?
“[The pro-Iranian Iraqi] Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi [militia] is the pride of Iraq, Iran, and the Islamic world, like Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. It should be esteemed. No force in Iraq is stronger, more religious, more serious, and more influential than Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi. The [militia members] who are Iraqi say they are loyal to Iraq and that they take care of it. We trust them.
“Mosul should be liberated by Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi. We must suppress all the foreign forces and elements that have caused instability in Iraq.
“We [in Iran] are very optimistic about Iraq’s future. Iraq’s democracy is similar to Iran’s democracy, which is [based] on religious values. Therefore, it should be esteemed. The Iraqi people undoubtedly desires this too.
“Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi comprises people who believe in Islam, who know that if they die in this path they will become martyrs, and [know too] that this is the path of the Imam Hussein. The stronger this force becomes, the better it will be for Iraq’s future…
“We must support and maintain the Marja’iyya [supreme Shi’ite religious authority] in Iraq. The fatwa by the Marja’iyya in Najaf [Ayatollah Ali Sistani] caused the people to arrive on the scene and to save Iraq from the Americans and the takfiris.
“Obeying the rule of the jurisprudent can help achieve victories. If it not under the shade of the rule of the jurisprudent, Iraq cannot be saved. This is like how Iran was saved from the evil of the Shah, America, and Israel – thanks to the rule of the jurisprudent – and today [Iran] is in a position to say ‘no’ to any tyrant.”[2]
Endnotes:
[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5991, Advisor To Iranian President Rohani: Iran Is An Empire, Iraq Is Our Capital; We Will Defend All The Peoples Of The Region; Iranian Islam Is Pure Islam – Devoid Of Arabism, Racism, Nationalism, Match 9, 2015.
[2] Tasnim (Iran), May 18, 2016.