Iran’s greatest influence over many Shi’ite political forces is not a secret. Those familiar with the Iraqi political scene know that this influence extends to include some Sunni and Kurdish forces.
Many have even spoken openly about Iran’s intervention to save Iraqi officials, who were accused of corruption in 2016.
Iran’s political influence in Iraq cannot be questioned as facts on ground prove it, and Iranians and their proxies boast and are not afraid to speak openly about it.
Wherever the influence is, it is relies on a local means and arms operating inside the country.
However, forces opposed to Iran only speak about armed groups through which Iran imposes it hegemony over Iraq, ignoring that it has other means through which it can influence its neighbor.
They are ignoring the dangerous and decisive effect practiced by dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of television channels, websites, radio stations and Iranian-funded fake research centers, not to mention the electronic "armies" that haunt activists, who publicly criticize various Iranian media websites.
A large number of observers, especially those who know about the Iranian media and press institutions that fall under the umbrella of the Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), realize the extent of Iran’s influence on Iraq through the media.
The United States, which toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein and occupied Iraq in 2003, has a weak influence over the media when compared to Iran.
The US has only established one television channel news specialized in Iraq, “al-Hurra Iraq,” and one radio channel, “Sawa.” Ironically, the headquarters of these two main media outlets remained in Washington, where they are confined to a small office to produce programs and reports in Baghdad.
On the other hand, Iran has dozens and perhaps hundreds of Iranian television and radio channels and research centers based in Baghdad.
Iran was able to exert its influence over the media though providing generous offers to open a satellite channel or media outlets to whoever demands it along with the financial and media rewards.