|Iranian General Suleimani near Tikrit, Iraq|
The U.S. - Iran Alliance
- Question of the day - Iraq is an artificial nation created by Britain and France after World War I. The region was part of the Persian Empire for thousands of years. So the question is, now that Persian troops are back will they ever leave?
(New York Times) - At a time when President Obama is under political pressure from congressional Republicans over negotiations to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, a startling paradox has emerged: Mr. Obama is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian fighters as he tries to contain the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria without committing American ground troops.
In the four days since Iranian troops joined 30,000 Iraqi forces to try to wrest Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit back from Islamic State control, American officials have said the United States is not coordinating with Iran, one of its fiercest global foes, in the fight against a common enemy.
That may be technically true. But American war planners have been closely monitoring Iran’s parallel war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, through a range of channels, including conversations on radio frequencies that each side knows the other is monitoring. And the two militaries frequently seek to avoid conflict in their activities by using Iraqi command centers as an intermediary.
As a result, many national security experts say, Iran’s involvement is helping the Iraqis hold the line against Islamic State advances.
“The only way in which the Obama administration can credibly stick with its strategy is by implicitly assuming that the Iranians will carry most of the weight and win the battles on the ground,” said Vali R. Nasr, a former special adviser to Mr. Obama who is now dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too — the U.S. strategy in Iraq has been successful so far largely because of Iran.”
It was Iran that organized Iraq’s Shiite militias last August to break a weeklong Islamic State siege of Amerli, a cluster of farming villages whose Shiite residents faced possible slaughter. American bombs provided support from warplanes.
It was also Iran’s Quds Force that backed Iraq’s Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces in November to liberate the central city of Baiji from the Islamic State, breaking the siege of a nearby oil refinery. (A month later, the Islamic State took back a part of the city.)
Websites supporting the militias circulated photographs of General Suleimani on Wednesday drinking tea on what was said to be the front line, dressed in black and holding his glass in one hand and a floral patterned saucer in the other.
Rafid Jaboori, the spokesman for Mr. Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, said in an interview Wednesday that Iraq had urged the United States and Iran not to play out their bilateral conflict in Iraq’s battle against the Islamic State.
“So far in general there was no clash within the two,” Mr. Jaboori said.
He drew a comparison to World War II. “Countries with different ideologies, different priorities, different systems of government, cooperated to defeat the Nazis,” he said. “It’s foreseeable that we see countries which might not get along very well in terms of their bilateral relations working to help Iraq to defeat this threat.”
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|The Persian Empire ruled the area of Iraq for thousands of years. |
Now that Iranian troops are back will they ever leave?