Iraqi MP Faiq Al-Sheikh Ali said that Shi'ites in the Gulf should take heed of Iraq's experience, and they should not support Iran over their local rulers. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on MBC TV (Saudi Arabia) on February 27, 2021. He used an expletive to describe those Shi'ites in Gulf countries who want to generate change on behalf of Iran, eliminate their rulers, and harm their countries. Ali said that they should learn a lesson from Iraq, because Iran had cost Iraq one million casualties since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. He asked: "Why are you loyal to Iran at the expense of your country and your people?" Ali said that senior figures in Iraq such as Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Hadi Al-Ameri, and former PM Nouri Al-Maliki had fought alongside Iran during the Iran-Iraq war or supported it. He continued to say that such actions constitute betrayal, and stated: "Our number one loyalty should be to Iraq."
Interviewer: "Iraqi figures who gained prominence on the Iraqi scene following 2003 had fought alongside the Iranian army [during the Iran-Iraq war] – Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Hadi Al-Ameri, and other dignitaries. How do you view their position?"
MP Faiq Al-Sheikh: "All of the names you have just mentioned all members in the pro-Iranian political parties, had all been on the Iranian side. Prime ministers... You forgot to mention Nouri Al-Maliki. He was also with Iran [during the war]. And there were many others. Cabinet members and others had been with Iran."
Interviewer: "Are they traitors in your view?"
Al-Sheikh: "Not in my view, but according to the criterion of patriotism. If we apply the patriotic criterion, of course they had betrayed Iraq. Absolutely. There is no doubt about it. They have favored the other side – and it does not matter whether this "other" is a friend or a foe.
"One's basic loyalty should be to Iraq, and only then to one's religion, sect, pan-Arab affiliation, neighbors, or whatever... These loyalties should be our second, or even tenth priority. Our number one loyalty should be to Iraq. I, who am sitting here in front of you – what am I if not the water of the Tigris and Euphrates? If you were to open my arteries and my veins, you would see this water flowing there. My flesh is made of Iraqi soil. My mind has been molded by Iraqis. How could I be loyal to Iran, Turkey, America, Britain, or whoever? Impossible. This is wrong. You should be loyal to your country, defend your country, and only then can you be loyal to other countries. Let me take this opportunity to deliver a message. I thank you for raising this issue. There are Shi'ites living in the Gulf countries since ancient times."
Al-Sheikh: "Some of these Shi'ites, not all of them... Most of these Shi'ites are patriots who are loyal to their countries and governments. I have no problem with that. This is what I call for. Some of them, however, want to generate change in their Gulf countries. For the sake of whose interest? Iran. I address those people who want to bring about change, eliminate their rulers, and harm their country for the sake of Iran: Damn you! Haven't you seen what is happening to us Iraqis? Where's your brain? Are you brainless? Don't you see that since Saddam was toppled and to this day, one million Iraqis have been killed because of Iran? Bombings, car bombs, explosive belts, and sectarian fighting... The fighting of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, who was behind the sectarian fighting all those years?
"Don't you see that our families have been shattered? Our honor torn to pieces? Don’t you see that our children are orphans, and our wives are widows? Damn you! Why are you loyal to Iran at the expense of your country and people? You should learn the lesson of Iraq and be loyal to your own country, and your own rulers. Don't be loyal to a ruler from across the border, who comes and enslaves you, colonizes you, and brings you to the point to which we in Iraq have arrived. We Iraqis are heroes. Today we are tired and sick, but we will regain our strength in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years... It doesn't matter.
"History tells us that whenever Iraq was unwell, Iran invaded, and whenever Iraq got stronger, Iran would flee. With God's help, we will pass in the next stage. But if Iran invades your country [in the Gulf], what will drive it out? Your country is this small. [The Gulf countries] are not big like Iraq. If Iran invades, where would you go?"