Während der Krieg gegen den IS auch im Irak geführt wird, bekanntlich auch Differenzen zwischen Kurden, Sunniten und Schiiten bestehen existieren auch noch Kämpfe und Kriege innerhalb des Krieges. Es ist nicht nur ein Konflikt zwischen Sunniten und Schiiten, sondern auch unter den Schiiten selbst. Hierbei stehen sich vor allem drei Gruppen gegenüber:
Die proiranischen schiitischen Milizen, die Irans Oberstem Geistlichen Führer Großajatollah Khameini gehorchen, wie die Badr-Brigade, die Liga der Gerechten, die Hisbollah im Irak, die Khorasanibrigade und Harakat al Nujaba.
Dann die schiitischen Milizen, die mehr dem irakischen Großajatollah Sistani gehorchen, wie die Ali Akbar-Brigade, die Abbasiyah-Schrein-Brigade, die Alewitenschreinbrigade und die Husayniyah-Schrein-Brigade, die sich selbst als unpolitisch verstehen und sich der irakischen Regierung unterstellen.
Drittens, Parteimilizen, die dem Islamic Supreme Council for Iraq unter der Führerschaft Hakims unterstehen oder die Sadristischen Milizen unter dem Kommando von Muktadar el-Sadr.
“The first, and possibly best armed, category of Shiite militias includes those closer to Iran with religious links that favour Iran’s leading religious figure, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The most prominent in this category is the Badr organisation, the League of the Righteous, Hezbollah in Iraq, the Khorasani Brigades and Harakat al-Nujaba. These militias have the best weaponry and are often critical of the Iraqi government.
“Not all of the factions within the Shiite Muslim militias receive the same weapons, salaries or benefits,” says Sadiq al-Kanani, a Basra local and member of one of the militias who’s been fighting near Baiji for the past few months. “The most powerful factions – and that includes the Badr organization, the League of Righteous and the Hezbollah brigades – have heavier and more effective weapons from Iran. They have things like armoured vehicles, special artillery and Katyusha rockets, all things the other militias do not have.”
“The fighters from those militias also get special privileges,” al-Kanani continues. “They get better salaries and they get them on time, no delays. They are better organized, they work in a more professional military manner and their leaders make their own decisions.”
The second category among the Shiite Muslim militias includes those who are more loyal to al-Sistani. These include the following: the Ali al-Akbar brigades, the Abbasiyah Shrine brigades, the Alawite Shrine brigades and the Husayniyah Shrine brigades. These militias are funded by al-Sistani himself and, unlike the first category, they don’t appear to have any overt political motivation. They have been put at the disposal of the Iraqi government and tasked with fighting the IS group, defending land that has been taken back from IS fighters and protecting locals.
What is notable about these militias is their large number. However they only have light to medium weapons – things like Kalashnikov guns and other Soviet machine guns – and they use civilian 4WD vehicles to accompany the Iraqi army to battle.
Al-Sistani’s office funds these militias from donations that the office receives from Shiite Muslims around the world, anonymous sources in the cleric’s office told NIQASH. Partially, the sources also noted, the intra-militia rivalry is also about the enduring struggle between senior religious figures in Iran and Iraq, with both offices vying to be considered the eminent theological authority for the world’s Shiite Muslims. “This is a historic struggle,” the insider said.
Meanwhile the third category of Shiite militias are associated with two other major Shiite Muslim political parties with a religious bent. These are the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, or ISCI, which is led by a younger cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, and the Sadrist movement which is led by another cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr. Both of these parties have MPs in the current Parliament and a strong focus on political, as well as military leadership. This is a major difference between, say, the ISCI-affiliated militias and the Badr organisation, which was formerly associated with the ISCI and which, under Hadi al-Ameri, seems to be operating outside the official political sphere.
Those militias associated with the ISCI include the Ashura Brigades and the Supporters of the Faith brigades. They are dependent on the Iraqi government for funding and weapons and abide by the central government’s decisions; they also often accompany official army units and have been known to use some of the Iraqi army’s equipment.
The Peace Brigades, formerly known as the Mahdi Army, are affiliated with the Sadrist movement and depend on funding from the offices of Muqtada al-Sadr, who receives donations from his many supporters. This militia doesn’t get much money from the Iraqi government itself due, apparently, to ongoing internal fighting between the Sadrists and the government’s ruling Dawa party. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is a member of Dawa but so was former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who al-Sadr challenged seriously more than once during his tenure.”
Vor allem zwischen den proiranischen Milizen, die Khameini folgen und den Milizen, die Al Sistani folgen, besteht ein heftiger Machtkampf. Auch versucht der Iran neben der Unterstützung ihm genehmer Politiker, Milizen im Irak nun auch religiöse Büros in Najaf und andernnorts zu eröffnen, um für das iranische Modell zu werben und Geistliche zu rekrutieren in direkter Konkurrenz zu Iraks Großajatollah Sistani. Al Sistani ist Quietist,d.h. er tritt für die Trennung von Politik und Staat ein, lehnt das iranische Modell der theokratischen Rechtsgelehrtenherrschaft ab und versucht einen iranischen Irak zu verhindern. Lange Zeit hatte er sich –trotz allgemeiner Beliebtheit und Popularität–aus der Politik herausgehalten, da aber der vormalige Ministerpräsident Al Maliki sich in Sistanis Augen zu sehr an den Iran anlehnte, zu einseitig die Schiiten unterstützte, die Sunniten zu sehr ausgrenzte, den Irak spaltete und zudem die Korruption förderte, unterstützte Al Sistani nun den neuen Ministerpräsidenten Al Abadi, zudem auch Strassenproteste zu seinen Gunsten und der von ihm präferierten Reform des Staatsapperates.
“The militias that are affiliated to Khamenei include the League of the Righteous, the Badr organization, the Khorasani Brigades, Hezbollah in Iraq and Harakat al-Nujaba. These factions do not acknowledge al-Sistani’s authority and affiliate themselves with Khamenei and Iran, who are thought to fund and equip them.
Another method being used by the pro- Khamenei lobby is to promote the Iranian view on the “Guardianship of the Jurist” issue inside Iraq, and more specifically, in Najaf. A year ago, the Iranians opened an office in Najaf to hand out financial aid to religious students and scholars in the city, in much the same way that al-Sistani’s office does. The Iranian lobby also seeks out Iraqi clerics who are more enthusiastic about Khamenei’s ideas on the subject than al-Sistani’s.(…)
Al-Sistani also supports the idea of a National Guard, an idea that was supposed to bring disparate groups of fighters from around the country together to fight in their own provinces and to protect their own people. This would see unofficial militias join the official Iraqi army under the control of the state. However some Shiite Muslim militias – especially those allied with Iran – oppose this idea, saying they want to remain independent.
Politically Iraq’s Shiite Muslim parties are also split between the two religious authorities. Several – including the Islamic Supreme Council, the Sadrist movement and sections of the Dawa party, the party to which current Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, belongs – support al-Sistani.
Other sections of the Dawa party, which also count former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki among their members, as well as the Badr organization prefer Khamenei. It is also clear that al-Maliki enjoys support from Iran.
Three days after the release of an investigation into how the northern Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the extremist Islamic State group, al-Maliki met with Khamenei in Iran; al-Maliki got a lot of the blame for the rout in Mosul but Khamenei continues to praise his stand against the extremists.
Two days after al-Maliki met with Khamenei, al-Sistani criticized al-Maliki, albeit in a more indirect way; however everybody knew who he was talking when he told news agency, AFP, that, “the politicians who had ruled the country during the past years bear most of the responsibility for what is happening now.”
Another bone of contention has been recent popular protests that have drawn thousands of Iraqis to the streets. They have demanded reform, an end to corruption and better state services and employment opportunities.
During recent demonstrations, some of the Iran-affiliated militias were suspected of trying to hijack the protests in order to unbalance the government headed by al-Abadi. Some of them were calling for political reform that would have taken power away from Iraq’s Parliament and given it to a President – most likely Iranian favourite, al-Maliki.
However al-Sistani came out against this idea very publicly, saying that he supported Iraq’s Prime Minister and any reforms he chose to institute. Those reforms needed to be carried out according to the Iraqi Constitution and through the Iraqi Parliament, al-Sistani’s spokesperson told the country.
This was seen by many as a clear response to the pro-Iran factions in the country.
After this, senior Iranian officials began to criticize the demonstrations. The Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces,Hassan Firuzabadi, said that, “the demonstrations were being instigated by certain, well-known groups and sometimes by non-Muslims”.
A former Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, told an Iranian news agency that, “our information shows that certain embassies and suspicious parties are behind the demonstrations in Baghdad and those demonstrators are attacking Shiite clergy and Shiite politicians”.
Even al-Maliki spoke badly of the protests, agreeing that demonstrators were openly hostile toward Shiite politicians and clerics.
The political stand being taken by al-Sistani may have come as something of a surprise to some. For years al-Sistani has been committed to a course of non-intervention in politics, in keeping with his ideals about the separation of church and state. However recent events have apparently seemed too serious for the religious elder to stand aside. He has already been accused by Khamenei’s supporters of betraying the Shiite side by advocating dialogue with Iraq’s Sunnis and warning of the dangers of Iraq being forced into partition.The question now is whether this tit-for-tat fight between the two religious authorities will worsen.
Als wären die Konflikte noch nicht genug, versuchen auch die USA recht eifersüchtig ein Erstarken des Irans und Russlands im Irak zu verhindern. Zum einen versuchen die USA in den sunnitischbewohnten Gebieten die Sunniten in eine Kolation mit der irakischen Regierung gegen den IS einzubeziehen. Dem stehen die proiranischen Schiitenmilizen entgegen, die nicht auf das bisher ausgebliebene Erwachen der sunnitischen Stämme mehr warten wollen, sondern gleich und direkt gegen den IS alleine kämpfen wollen, was aber wiederum den USA nicht gefällt, da sie ein Erstarken des Irans verhindern wollen. Desweiteren wird der Ruf der irakischen Politik nach einem russischen Eingreifen nach Syrien nun auch im Irak lauter, was die USA eifersüchtig beobachten.US- General Dunfold rang der irakischen Führung nun vorerst das Versprechen ab, auf russische Luftschläge zu verzichten, obgleich die Russen schon eine Nachrichtenzentrale eingerichtet haben, die die Kommunikation bezüglich Antiterrorzielen zwischen Russland,Syrien,Iran und Irak herstellt, was wiederum argwöhnisch von den USA beäugt wird:
“Iraq’s ruling alliance and powerful Shiite militias have urged Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi to request Russian air strikes on Daesh militants, who control large parts of the country, members of the coalition and militias said.
Growing pressure on Al Abadi to seek Russian support puts him in the delicate position of trying to appease his ruling coalition, as well as militias seen as a bulwark against Daesh, while keeping strategic ally Washington on his side.America’s top general, Joseph Dunford, said on a trip to Baghdad on Tuesday that the United States won assurances from Iraq that it would not seek such strikes.
Dunford, on his first visit to Iraq since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, said Al Abadi and Iraqi Defence Minister Khalid Al Obeidi both told him they were not seeking Russia’s help.Shortly after leaving Baghdad, Dunford told reporters travelling with him that he had laid out a choice when he met with Abadi and Al Obeidi.
“I said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations as well,” Dunford said. “We can’t conduct operations if the Russians were operating in Iraq right now.”
He said there was “angst” in the US when reports surfaced that Al Abadi had said he would welcome Russian air strikes in Iraq. The US, Dunford said, “can’t have a relationship right now with Russia in the context of Iraq”.”(…) Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq have formed a Baghdad-based intelligence cell to boost efforts to counter Daesh. The cell has already shared intelligence for air strikes in Iraq and Syria.”
Diese Konkurrenz zwischen den USA und dem Iran kann man auch daran sehen, wie die Eroberung von Tikrit und der Fall von Ramadi hinsichtlich ihrer psychologischen Narrative von der Obamanahen Brookings Institution aufgefasst werden, die sich bis in die operative Kriegsführung hinein bemerkbar machen:
„The reason that the Coalition defeat at Ramadi is important is because of its potential impact on the psychology of both sides. As I noted at the time, the liberation of Tikrit was of outsized importance because it reversed a dangerous narrative that held sway among many Iraqis, particularly Shi’a Arabs, after the fall of Mosul. This was the notion that the United States was a paper tiger, only Iran was Iraq’s true ally, only Iran had come to Baghdad’s assistance when Da’ish threatened in June, and only Iranian assistance was necessary to liberate Iraq from Da’ish. Tikrit could have reversed this narrative because the Iranian-backed Shi’a militias were unable to conquer the city themselves even after a bloody month of fighting. However, when Baghdad finally asked for American air support, Da’ish was driven out in less than a week. That impressed upon many Iraqis that Iranian support was not enough, and that only with American help could they liberate major Sunni towns.
Quite obviously, the fall of Ramadi threatens to reverse that narrative once again. This time, it was the American-backed Iraqi army that was unable to hold a major Sunni town on its own, even with American air support. Especially if the town is retaken by a force that includes Iranian-backed Shi’a militias, Iran’s allies will be able to make the case that Tikrit was a fluke — a product of understandable teething pains as the Shi’a militias mounted their first assault on a Sunni city, never to be repeated. It can only call back into question the necessity, even the utility, of American support. And that can only bolster Tehran’s influence in Baghdad at the expense of Washington’s.“