Post-Conflict Iraq: U.S. vs Iran

By Tariq Abdell, Founder & Chairman, Mesopotamia Insight.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

I always believe that politics is the art of compromising, in other words, is knowing when and where to give or to ask. Alas, President Obama’s letter, Foreign Policy magazine, to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top shiite cleric, urging him to help put an end to the country’s political impasse in the midst of the U.S. planned hastily withdrawal is a major foreign policy flaw, given the country’s protracted ethno-sectarian strife and recent upsurge of the political violence – Series of concerted attacks in different part of the country: Baghdad, Kirkuk, Kut, Anbar, Basrah, Fallujah, Mosul, etc…

The unintended consequences of such overture, given the U.S. inability to coerce all the major stakeholders to compromise and form a national unity government, could be perceived by some, mainly Iran’s proxies and Al-Quaeda in Iraq, as a desperate act of a weak and rattle administration and, consequently, deepening the already existed ethno-sectarian divide in a time when the country is striving to recover and dust off years of sectarian violence. By endorsing or appealing to a particular sect or ethnic group, U.S. risks encroaching itself into a centuries-old feud (e.g., Shiite Vs. Sunnis, Muslims Vs. Christians, Kurds Vs. Arabs, etc…) with no feasible solution in the horizon. Furthermore, with such act, U.S. is invigorating Iran’s economic and religious ambitions in Iraq, and, consequently, turning it into a Shiite Islamic theocracy – Iran’s 31st province.

If Grand Ayatollah Sistani, an Iranian born, decides to intervene to end the political deadlock, he is most likely to endorse one of the key members of the Shiite megabloc “National Iraqi Alliance” he helped create, Consequently, undermining the secular and pan-Arabist forces led by Ayad Allawi, head of the Iraqiya party a Sunni-backed bloc. Furthermore, the Shiite Alliance is a merger of the Qods force (IRGC special operations unit) groomed political and paramilitary organizations: The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and its military wing Badr corps, comprised of Iraqi exiles that follow Khomeini’s ideology (Velayat Faqih) and al-Hakim family’s leadership , Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia, the armed wing of the Sadrist Movement and most powerful force on the streets of Iraq, led by the firebrand Moktada al-Sadr, and State of Law coalition led by the current PM. Nuri al-Maliki. According to a recent poll by the Asharq research centre, 41.2 percent of 12000 people question in 18 provinces: Tehran is hindering Iraq’s chances of establishing a new government. Moreover, Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danaifar, a Baghdad native and Qods Force veteran commander, signals Iran’s vested interest in building and strengthening its military, political and religious influence in a postwar Iraq.

In summary, the U.S. and its ally forces went to Iraq, presumably, to take down a military dictatorship and replace it with a constitutional democracy, not a Shiite Islamic theocracy which is a mere extension of the Mullah regime in Iran. Thus, with such act, U.S. will ultimately end up handing Iraq to Iran (oldest nemesis) on a silver platter, as result of poor strategic foresight and misunderstanding of the region’s inherited geostrategic value to the world stability (beyond the oil), as Mr Tarek Aziz, Iraq previous foreign minister, said, in interview with the British Guardian, to Mr. Obama, “… He is leaving Iraq to the wolves…”

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

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The author, Tariq Abdell, is an Iraq analyst, and Founder & Chairman of Mesopotamia Insight

He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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