1/12/15, "Iran eclipses U.S. as Iraq's ally in fight against militants," AP,
non-Arab Iran has effectively taken charge of Iraq's defense against the
Sunni radical group, meeting the Iraqi government's need for immediate
help on the ground.
Two to three Iranian military aircraft a day
land at Baghdad airport, bringing in weapons and ammunition. Iran's most
potent military force and best known general — the Revolutionary
Guard's elite Quds Force and its commander Gen. Ghasem Soleimani — are
organizing Iraqi forces and have become the de facto leaders of Iraqi
Shiite militias that are the backbone of the fight. Iran carried out
airstrikes to help push militants from an Iraqi province on its border.
result is that Tehran's influence in Iraq, already high since U.S.
forces left at the end of 2011, has grown to an unprecedented level.
by the U.S.-led coalition have helped push back the militants in parts
of the north, including breaking a siege of a Shiite town. But many
Iraqis believe the Americans mainly want to help the Kurds. Airstrikes
helped Kurdish forces stop extremists threatening the capital of the
Kurdish autonomous zone, Irbil, in August. But even that feat is
accorded by many Iraqis to a timely airlift of Iranian arms to the
The meltdown of Iraq's military in the face of the
extremists' summer blitz across much of northern and western Iraq gave
Iran the opportunity to step in. A flood of Shiite volunteers joined the
fight to fill the void, bolstering the ranks of Shiite militias already
allied with Iran.
Those militias have now been more or less
integrated into Iraq's official security apparatus, an Iraqi government
official said, calling this the Islamic State group's "biggest gift" to
"Iran's hold on Iraq grows tighter and faster every day,"
he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to discuss the sensitive subject.
Over the past year,
Iran sold Iraq nearly $10 billion worth of weapons and hardware, mostly
weapons for urban warfare like assault rifles, heavy machine-guns and
rocket launchers, he said. The daily stream of Iranian cargo planes
bringing weapons to Baghdad was confirmed at a news conference by a
former Shiite militia leader, Jamal Jaafar. Better known by his alias
Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, Jaafar is second in command of the recently
created state agency in charge of volunteer fighters.
are clearly worried. Sunni lawmaker Mohammed al-Karbuly said the United
States must increase its support of Iraq against the extremists in order
to reduce Iran's influence.
"Iran now dominates Iraq," he said.
key to Iran's growing influence has been a persistent suspicion of
Washington's intentions, particularly among Shiite militiamen.
al-Amiri, a prominent Shiite politician close to Iran and leader of the
powerful Badr militia, complained in a recent television interview that
Iraq was a victim of decades of "wrong" U.S. policies in the Middle
East. He charged that the precursors of the region's Sunni extremists
had in the past enjoyed U.S. patronage.
"We fear that the
objective of the U.S.-led coalition is to contain Daesh [ISIS], rather than
exterminate it," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State
Speaking this week at a memorial service in Iran for a
Revolutionary Guard officer gunned down by an Islamic State sniper,
al-Amiri mused that Iraqi Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's
three-month-old administration would have been a "government-in-exile"
if not for Iran's swift help to protect Baghdad, according to Iran's
Fars news agency.
The praise does not just come from Shiite politicians.
a trip to Tehran last week, Iraq's Sunni defense minister, Khaled
al-Obeidi, said Iran's help against the militants is a "strategic
necessity" for Iraq.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones
acknowledged to The Associated Press that Iran plays an important role
in fighting the Islamic State group. He made clear there was no
interaction between the U.S. and Iranian operations.
it, Iran is an important neighbor to Iraq. There has to be cooperation
between Iran and Iraq," he said in a Dec. 4 interview. "The Iranians are
talking to the Iraqi security forces and we're talking to Iraqi
security forces . We're relying on them to do the de-confliction."
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said
Iraqi leaders have kept the U.S. informed about Iranian activities
against IS and that Washington is watching the relationship carefully.
said if the two countries grow closer economically or politically, "as
long as the Iraqi government remains committed to inclusivity of all the
various groups inside the country, then I think Iranian influence will
But Ali Khedery, a top U.S. official in Iraq from
2003 until 2009, warned that Iranian influence will be "strategically
"It further consolidates Iran's grip over the
Levant and Iraq," said Khedery, who resigned in protest over U.S.
failure to thwart Iranian influence.
Iran's sphere of influence
extends to neighboring Syria, where it has stood by President Bashar
Assad's regime against the mostly Sunni opposition, and to Lebanon,
where its main proxy, Hezbollah, is that nation's most powerful group.
Also, the Shiite Houthi rebels' takeover of parts of Yemen in recent
months has raised concerns of Iranian influence there.
of Iran's weight in Iraq are many. The prime minister, the Sunni
parliament speaker and other top politicians have visited Tehran. Most
senior Iraqi Sunni politicians have stopped publicly criticizing Iran
and vilifying Shiite politicians for close ties to Tehran.
billboards around Baghdad, death notices of Iraqi militiamen killed in
battle are emblazoned with images of Iran's late spiritual leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Last month, an unprecedented number of Iranians — estimated at up to 4
million — crossed into Iraq to visit a revered Shiite shrine south of
Baghdad for a major holy day. Visa charges for the Iranians have been
The two countries keep their military cooperation
relatively quiet in public. Iran occasionally publicizes the death in
battle of one of its senior officers in Iraq or speaks of its "advisory"
military role. Iraq's state media don't mention Iranian military
involvement. Paradoxically, they do publicize airstrikes by the U.S.-led
coalition or the arrival of American advisers.
Iranian general, has spent much of the past seven months on Iraq's front
lines, leading militias and coordinating tactics with government
A fluent Arabic speaker, the 58-year-old has reportedly been nicknamed the "living martyr" by Iran's Khamenei.
senior Shiite Iraqi militiaman who recently met him said he was
impressed by his mix of piety and courage. He said he saw the Iranian
general at a forward position in Baghdad's western outskirts, discussing
coordinates in Farsi with the gunner of an Iraqi army U.S.-made Abrams
tank. The gunner was a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the militiaman
said." via Mark Levin show
Comment: A decade ago someone said George Bush's so-called Iraq war was merely to give Iraq to Iran. He was right. This is how the US ruling class operates. Blood doesn't concern them.