In its editorial dated March 19, 2015, Pakistan's widely circulated Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Islam, known for its support of militant organizations in Pakistan, raised concerns at the increasing influence of Shia Iran.
In an editorial titled "Dire Consequences of Irani Interference in Iraq", Roznama Islam argues that Iran is out to create a Shia empire which would destabilize the whole region. The Urdu daily is published in seven cities of Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Multan, Quetta, and Muzaffarabad (Pakistani Kashmir).
The following are excerpts:
"America Has Taken The Command Of The Air Strikes [In Iraq], Whereas The Leadership Of The Ground War Is At This Time In The Hands Of The Regular Army Of Iran"
"The political circumstances in the Middle East are taking a dangerous turn every day. Iraq, which has been suffering from the destruction of the continuing political instability and civil war since the 2003 American invasion, is now bloodied because of another bloody war. The war that has erupted this time - its destructiveness has a much deeper impact than that of the previous one. This new face of civil war has practically divided Iraq into several parts on the basis of sects and nationalities; and the participation of international players in this war theatre has plunged the whole region into a massive turbulence.
"The biggest and most important reason for Iraq's current situation is undoubtedly foreign interference. At this stage, Iraq has become a war theatre of America and Iran, which ostensibly are archrivals on the international political chessboard. Both [America and Iran], for their own objectives, have united in the name of fighting the Islamic State [ISIS]. America has taken the command of the air strikes, whereas the leadership of the ground war is at this time in the hands of the regular army of Iran. Not only this, Iran's interference in Iraq's affairs under American patronage has become so much that it appears as if Iraq is part of Iran.
"The international intervention in Iraq is such that several influential countries including America, Britain, and France have become entrenched there in the name of protecting their interests, which cannot be termed acceptable. Nevertheless, Iran's interference is making the situation frightening and horrible. On the one hand Iran is clothing the war against the Islamic State in the black garb of sectarianism by instigating the Shia prejudice in Iraq. On the other hand, it is also trying to entrench its feet [in Iraq] by employing different tactics."
"Deriving Advantage Out Of The General Climate Emerging Due To The Islamic State's Terroristic ActivitiesÔÇª [Iran] Has Planted Its Black Claws In Iraq, Syria, Yemen And Lebanon"
"Other nations of the region are rightly feeling that this black role of Iran is a serious threat to their existence. They fear that Iran, under the guise of [fighting] the Islamic State, in fact wants to establish its empire in the region on a sectarian basis and they would not be able to escape its reach.
"This threat is not a hypothesis played up as a political stunt. Deriving advantage out of the general climate emerging due to the Islamic State's terroristic activities ÔÇª [Iran] has planted its black claws in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon; this has made the danger real. This is the reason that Kurds, who wholeheartedly welcomed and supported the Arab countries and international powers against the Islamic State ÔÇª have given indications of withdrawing their support after having witnessed its role in Iraq and [having realized] that Iran is reaping all the benefits of this war.
"Seeing Iran's unnecessarily increasing role in Iraq, the important neighbor of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, raised its voice first. Pointing towards Iran's increasing influence in Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister clearly told his American counterpart: it is happening under your [American] patronage.
"The way the leaders of Iraq's autonomous province Kurdistan had openly supported the international alliance against the Islamic State, the whole world is aware of that. Seeing the deepening foundations of Iran's interference in Iraq under the pretext ending the Islamic State and destructiveness of its sectarian influence, they [the Kurdish leaders] too have said that Shia militias active under the patronage of Iran are more dangerous than the Islamic State."
"Due To Iran's Increasing Interference In Iraq, There Exists ÔÇª The Danger Of Its Division On A Sectarian Basis And Great Bloodshed There "
"Raising alarm of such dangers by the neighbors is a natural outcome. As an individual has a legal right of pre-emption with regard to his neighborhood to stop some stranger or undesirable person coming to his neighborhood, similarly a country has the right to express its doubts and apprehensions when a third country is increasing its role in its neighboring country. If the country feels threatened by the interfering country, it becomes necessary to make efforts to stop the interference.
"Due to Iran's increasing interference in Iraq, there exists not only the danger of its division on a sectarian basis and great bloodshed there, but because of its [Iranian] expansionist instinct, other countries in the region also face the real dangers of instability.
"In these circumstances, it is necessary that the OIC [Organization of Islamic Countries], the World Islamic Forum, Rabta Alam-e-Islami, and international and local organizations like the Arab League should come forward to correct unpleasant situations created due to internecine warfare among the Muslims of the Middle East. If the practice of looking for a third force to settle internal disputes continues, it will have very disastrous consequences."
Source:Roznama Islam (Pakistan), March 19, 2015.