Iraqis Divided over Soleimani's Role

Iraqi TV presenter Ghazwan Jassem told Al-Monitor, "We all agree that Soleimani played a pivotal role in fighting IS, including those who believe he is an icon and those who see him as an enemy. But the recent division emanated from factions that had long worked under his banner on both the political and the military levels, albeit indirectly. Those factions believe that Soleimani now represents a threat to them, especially considering that he is closer than many Iraqi faction leaders to the Shiite fighters in the battlefronts."

Jassem added, "Trying to involve the community in the dispute over Soleimani is a mere political maneuver and an attempt to promote nationalism against Iran on the part of a faction that finds itself unwelcomed by Tehran these days [an oblique reference to the Sadrist movement]. However, as soon as financial and political support returns, the relations will heal."

Blogger Saadallah al-Majid, an opponent of Soleimani's presence in Iraq, told Al-Monitor, "Iraq has turned into an Iranian province, as Iran is dominating the political and security scene in Iraq. The raising of the Iranian flag in Adhamiya and Basra confirms the tragic and bitter reality that is currently plaguing Iraq."

He added, "The raising of the Iranian flag in Iraq as well as Soleimani's presence in the country are intended to convey the message to the world that Iraq is under the control of Iran. Iran and Soleimani's influence should be terminated in Iraq."

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