Third Party & Independents Archives

Is Iran Taking Control of Iraq?

Obituaries on Aleppo are being written in Western media, with plenty of blame, especially Obama’s lack of clear policy in the country, to go around. But also as a background, the very real reluctance of voters to see America expending more blood and treasure that would have been associated with a large scale military intervention in Syria, has to be taken into account. Despite those photos of young Alan Kurdi’s lifeless and still-clothed body curled up on a Turkish beach. Despite the pleas of orphans trapped in Aleppo. Much could have been done. Very little was. What would have worked in Syria is uncertain.

But as anger grows over the fact that Obama let the Russians into Syria and allowed them to forcefully gain a protagonist's role in the Middle East through savage aerial campaigns and other military support that facilitated Assad's butchery, there is another actor that has gained power and is doing so for similar reasons to Russia's actions in the Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Iran. Specifically in Iraq and in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, (IRGC), Qods Force may have far more participation in, and control of, Iraqi militias than the Defense Department will admit. Iraqi militias that are supposedly under the control of the Iraq Security Forces, and whose commanders are vetted by the American military command in Iraq before receiving assistance and training. All this in an effort to defeat ISIL forces in Iraq and Syria. A goal that Defense Department officials admit they share with Shiite Iran, even as they deny any direct connection between Iraqi militias and the IRGC Qods forces.

Others beg to differ. According to Amir Toumaj, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, IRGC-backed Iraqi militias outnumber and are far better armed than Iraqi militias unaffiliated with Tehran. And this is all taking place because Iran is building a buffer state in Iraq, and perhaps attempting the same in Syria, to keep ISIL forces from actually operating inside Iran. That's in the words of Brigadier General Masjedi, a Qods Force commander.

There is no way in the world that American military brass are not perfectly aware of what is going on in Iraq. But with an administration that has sought closer ties with the terrorist-financing, fanatical Shiite regime in Tehran, the top brass at Defense have likely had to accept the fact that Iran's influence in Iraq is growing every day, and have tried to merely vet individual actors to keep some control in place.

So as the world angrily blames Putin for the bloodshed in Aleppo, a charge well-deserved by the autocrat, one should not forget Iran's presence in the region is a growing threat. One that Trump's administration will have to deal with on day one.

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