Cyber Warfare Unleashed to Harm Relations With Iraq

Cyber Warfare Unleashed to Harm Relations With Iraq  Cyber Warfare Unleashed to Harm Relations With Iraq

Those who are against cordial relations between Iran and Iraq are resorting to social media to spread rumors and propaganda with the aim of provoking hostility between the two neighbors, says an Iraqi expert, who believes that both nations should remain vigilant against such hostile attempts.  

"A glance at hostile social media [accounts] in both countries shows that the enemies have taken their evil designs to a new level, with their activities focused on lies and aimed at sowing discord and hatred between the two nations," Mohammad Baqir Hakim wrote in a recent article, parts of which were carried by ISNA on Monday.  Close bilateral relations in religious, social and economic fields have contributed to the strengthening of overall cooperation, he said, adding, "This proximity has become a source of concern and fear in certain quarters. They are working hard to find ways to create chasm, hatred and hostility between the two neighbors."    

  Sanctions on Iran

The analyst maintains that attempts to advance the  negative propaganda were intensified after Washington failed to convince Iraq to fully comply with its new sanctions against Tehran and US policy on Iran was condemned by Iraqi political parties and officials.  Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently retreated  from his declared commitment to abide by new US sanctions on Iran, saying that his government would only respect the dollar ban in transactions with the Islamic Republic, according to Reuters.    

He had earlier said Iraq disagrees with the unilateral US penalties but would abide by them to safeguard its own interests, triggering criticism from Iran-allied Iraqi politicians and political factions in Tehran.   Hakim said those who want to see a strains in Iran-Iraq relations are running out of patience and are now trying to target public opinion from cyberspace.

  Baseless Rumors

He added that rumors and false information being spread via social media include the poisoning of thousands of people in Iraq's Basra Province due to contaminated waste originating from Iran and the killing of an Iraqi national by a group of Iranians for allegedly raping an Iranian woman—a report that was later denied by Tehran authorities.

Reports about Baghdad's decision to comply with sanctions on Tehran are being hyped up as well, he said.

Hakim said the impression is also being created in social media that Iraqis are deliberately torching the marshes that straddle the Iran-Iraq border in retaliation for the recent temporary halt in electricity supplies to the Arab country amid increased consumption during the unusually hot summer season.

He was referring to the Iraqi part of Hour al-Azim wetland that has been burning for weeks and has caused health problems for residents on the Iranian side of the border. President Hassan Rouhani recently instructed the  Foreign Ministry to pursue the issue.  

"Intellectuals in both countries have a heavy responsibility to inform the public in this regard," Hakim said, adding that closer social, cultural and trade relations will benefit both countries.


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