Friday, July 23, 2010

New Iranian Ambassador To Iraq Due To Arrive In Baghdad Soon

Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danafar is due to arrive in Baghdad on July 24, 2010. He will replace Hassan Kazemi-Qomi. Both are members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Danafar joined the Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s. He was originally born in Baghdad in 1962, but was deported by the government for his Iranian heritage during the Iran-Iraq War. He then went to fight for Iran, joining the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Badr Brigade, which was an official arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Danafar then joined the Guards’ Qods Force, which is responsible for running its foreign operations. He eventually became the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy. Before being named the new ambassador to Iraq, he was the chairman of Iran’s Headquarters for Renovation of Iraq’s Holy Shrines. He’s said to have close ties to many of Iraq’s politicians, which will help him in his new position.

Danafar’s first duty in Iraq is to pressure the country’s main Shiite parties to form a government. As reported before, Tehran has already replaced its point man for Iraq, Qods Force commander General Qassim Suleimani with the speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani, because the general could not get Iraq’s Shiite parties to work together. Iran already helped put together the Iraqi National Alliance before the March 2010 vote, which included the Supreme Council, the Sadrists, the Fadhila Party, former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari’s Renewal Party, and the Iraqi National Congress. Afterward Iran pushed for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law to merge with the National Alliance. Those two have been unable to agree upon anything because Maliki insists that he remain prime minister, which the National Alliance opposes. Tehran’s main goal in Iraq is to have a friendly Shiite led government in Baghdad that will not be a rival. Danafar will have his work cut out for him as Iraq’s politicians are caught up in their own personal rivalries and internal politics right now, which lessons Iran’s influence.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “Iran’s presence in Iraq relies on NC’s existence – Shiite source,” 7/17/10

Felter, Joseph and Fishman, Brian, “Iranian Strategy in Iraq, Politics and ‘Other Means,’” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 10/13/08

Al-Rafidayn, “New Iranian Ambassador To Iraq Hostile to Kurds, Friend of Al-Maliki,” MEMRI Blog, 7/22/10

Visser, Reidar, “After Sadr-Badr Compromise in Tehran, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) Is Declared,” Historiae.org, 8/24/09

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