China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

By Daniel J. Samet, for The Diplomat. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

Iran is all over Iraq, U.S. Middle East watchers warn. At his nomination for U.S. ambassador to Iraq this March, Matthew Tueller mentioned Iran 17 times in his written statement.

This concern with Iranian influence was echoed at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a few months later, where officials from the State and Defense Departments advocated continued American engagement in Iraq as a buffer against Iran. One does not have to look far for pieces outlining strategies for containing Iranian expansionism in its western neighbor.

Analysts are right to worry about foreign influence in Iraq — a weak state racked by sectarian tension and extremism and currently embroiled in mass social unrest. Yet while the United States fixates on Iranian ambitions, a far more formidable power has stepped in. Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi revealed that his country was signing on to China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

His announcement coincided with his state visit to Beijing, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime feted with habitual adulation in state media.

The full article can be viewed here.

(Source: The Diplomat)

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