The move could be the starting point for other sanctions against Iraqi politicians and leaders who do not tolerate US policies in their country. Sanctions are being imposed on al-Fayyad while he had recently warned against plots to tarnish the image of Hashd al-Shaabi Organization. “The withdrawal of American troops will give Iraq real independence, and our response to the assassination of these two martyred commanders is the expulsion of foreign troops,” he said recently martyrdom anniversary of Sardar Soleimani and martyr Abu Mahdi.
The US administration, which has been the main and the most important element and cause of instability and insecurity in Iraq and most of the current problems in that country, both in the economic and in political-security fields, go back to the policies of the White House, pursues two main objectives in Fayyad’s boycott which can be scrutinized as follows:
- Weakening of Hashd al-Shaabi
The main answer to the question as why the United States boycotted al-Fayyad should be sought in the performance and position of Hashd al-Shaabi. The al-Fayyad boycott, which is in fact the boycott of an anti-American ideology, comes at a time when the Americans, despite various efforts, have failed in dismantling Hashd al-Shaabi, one of the strategic plans of the White House. Americans, both the Republicans and the Democrats, see Hashd al-Shaabi, which has a special social structure and characteristics, as an organization that thwarts its security and political plans in Iraq.
Hashd al-Shaabi is a popular and legal organization and in fact part of the Iraqi government, which has both a favorable political position and a good popular base. Popularity, emphasis on national unity, defense for ethnic and religious pluralism in Iraq, emphasis on Iraqi national and religious identity, preservation of Iraq’s territorial integrity in the face of Balkanized plans, and countering occupation have all given a special authoritarian aspect to Hashd al-Shaabi. Therefore, Hashd is an organization that is institutionalized and, contrary to the perception of the Americans, it is not easily eliminated or weakened, even by using security, political and legal mechanisms. Therefore, the United States is currently finding the solution in weakening the leadership of this organization, which is the responsibility of Faleh al-Fayyad.
- Destabilizing Iraq
American plans and strategies in the West Asian region, especially in Iraq, are designed as such that they cannot be implemented in a safe and stable environment. In a simpler term, American plans are written in a way that is easier to be accomplished in an insecure and unstable environment. The Faleh al-Fayyad boycott, which is in fact the boycott of a stabilizing and security-building popular organization in Iraq, essentially pursues the target of creating a split within the organization on the one hand and a split between Hashd al-Shaabi and the Iraqi government on the other hand. For the US administration, this could lead to the weakening of the organizational forces that have played the most important role in destroying ISIS and thwarting US plans in Iraq.
The US administration seeks to pave the way for instability and consequently resurgence of the terrorist groups in Iraq by sanctioning the commander of Hashd al-Shaabi. The resurgence of terrorism in Iraq is also the best excuse for the continued presence of American forces in Iraq because insecurity is a good ground for the US to continue its presence in Iraq. Meanwhile, providing security in various cities and border areas and curbing any operations by terrorist groups and foreign countries is the most important security-military function of the Hashd in Iraq. This causes the Hashd to have the upper hand in military and security strategies and plans, thus destroying the nature and philosophy of the American forces in Iraq.
The boycott of the head of the Hashd al-Shaabi Organization, in addition to the aforementioned targets, also has various dimensions, which are referred to as follows:
First, the Faleh al-Fayyad boycott, under any pretext, means nothing more than the US administration’s hostile approach to the Axis of Resistance. The US government has a problem with the Islamic resistance and is opposed to its activities which are only in the direction of achieving peace and security in the region. Therefore, it uses any means to express this opposition and prevent the peaceful and security activities of the groups and leaders of the resistance, and assassination and sanctions are the two cases of such important tools.
Second, the Fayyad boycott should not be analyzed in the context of Iraq alone. Al-Fayyad is the commander of one of the most important regional organizations with more than 100,000 forces; therefore, the boycott of Fayyad, meaning the boycott of Hashd al-Shaabi which is one of the important pillars of Iraqi power and Islamic resistance, also has regional objectives.
Thirdly, Hashd al-Shaabi is not only a military and security organization, but also operates in the economic, civil and construction fields, and has provided valuable services in Iraq so far. From this perspective, the boycott of the commander of Hashd al-Shaabi Organization means confronting the process of development and progress in Iraq, for which Hashd is one of the effective factors in advancing this process.
Fourthly, the boycott of Faleh al-Fayyad, although an illegal act against the Iraqi people and the sovereignty and national interests of that country, in a special sense means the explicit recognition of the United States of the military, security and political power of that organization. The Hashd al-Shaabi is the most important political force in Iraq, which continues to insist that American forces should evacuate Iraq.
Meanwhile, Washington hoped to be able to prevent the follow up of the assassination case of Haj Qassem and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis as well as the follow up of the parliamentary resolution through the influence it enjoyed in different parts. However, the boycott of the commander of Hashd al-Shaabi, which intends to intimidate other Iraqi officials and personalities in pursuing the parliamentary resolution, shows that Washington’s efforts through its infiltrators have been thwarted and that the White House has entered the scene directly. On the other hand, the recent sanctions show Washington’s inability to use the military option to counter Hashd al-Shaabi; because the Americans are well aware that it is not in their best interest to escalate the military conflict, otherwise they would have reacted sharply to the targeting of their military convoys in Iraq in recent weeks.
According to what was written, the US administration has problems with the resistance groups and grassroots organizations at the top of which stands Hashd al-Shaabi Organization and cannot accept their activities and positive role on the path of peace, security and safeguarding the Iraqi territorial integrity. The US consideration and view is that when the people’s forces enter the field of defense and security in a country like Iraq, there would no longer remain any justification for the presence and activity of the American forces.