US, Saudi, Israel seeking to hijack Iraq protests: Analyst

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The United States and its key allies in the Middle East are trying to find a way to “hijack” protests in Iraq in an attempt to influence its foreign policy, says an American analyst.

Washington does not like Iraq’s current role in the regional “resistance axis” that is countering Israeli and Saudi aggression, Keith Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, told Press TV’s “The Debate” program. “I think much of the difficulty that Iraq is experiencing today is largely rooted in the policies that the United States has pursued towards Iraq for quite some time,” he said.

“We’d have to consider the lasting impact of not only the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destabilization of Iraq that happened as a result,” but the fact that the US also propped up the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain, Preston added. Washington’s policies also destroyed Iraq’s industrial effectively, “turning what was once one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East to a pre-industrial state,” the analyst argued. America’s support for Takfiri groups that first overtook parts of Syria and then proceeded to override neighboring Iraq is also a reason for current problems, said Preston.

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He said there is no denying that the Iraqi government is partially responsible for some of the shortcomings in people’s lives. However, he argued, it is only natural to expect the West to try and “hijack” the protests in Iraq for its own benefit, just as it is doing with protests in Hong Kong and France.

“American foreign policy has not been happy with the course that the Iraqi government has taken in recent years,” he said. The other panelist, Brian Downing, who is an independent national security analyst based in Florida, said Saudi Arabia would use Iraq as a way to take attention away from its failures in Yemen in an attempt to repair its image. Downing said while US policies also played a role in Iraq’s current situation, most of the blame should go to the Iraqi elite for failing to “evenly distribute” the country’s large oil income. An issue of demographics is also at play, with Iraq’s large population of youths in their 20s desiring a better life and a better future, he added.

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