America’s interest in Iraq fighting ISIS is a short term goal then we will leave- the Iraqi’s know this. Iraq’s leaders have quietly established a long term relationship with Iran. In Arab culture- power is hundreds of years of relationships between families and the ability to project power through those relationships. There is no advantage for Iraq to exchange information showing closer ties with America, this would anger Iran.
Abu Abed described the power of relationships in Iraqi culture as such: “My relationship with local leaders consisted of meetings with imams from the local mosques. At that time, the relationship I had between relatives, friends, policy makers, and religious leaders was very complicated. There were some that were completely against Al Qaeda and their operations. Others were neutral, and they did not want to interfere for either side. Others were trying to sustain Al Qaeda. Considering this, we had to be very careful in our relationship with imams and other local leaders.” Because of relationships with Iraqi leaders America was successful defeating Al-Qaeda. Iran in the meantime, was developing relationships with fellow Shia’s inside Iraq knowing the American withdrawal could be exploited.
The strategy started in 2003; relationships with Iraq’s Shia militias led by the cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr. Iran gave assistance in the form of finances and specifically a weapon called the explosively formed penetrator (EFP.) The EFP was able to do what other weapons could not; penetrate the wide variety of American armored vehicles to put more losses on the news to end American support. The Shia form the majority of the population in Iraq and Iran so a relationship of mutual interests was made possible through shared beliefs.
The finishing touch to solidify influence over Baghdad, two battalions of Iran’s elite Quds Force led by Qassem Suleimani were sent to help Baghdad stop the advance of ISIS. This delaying action bought the Iraqi Army time to regroup. Iranian assistance will not come freely. “Dr Haider Al-Abadi, a member of the Iraqi parliament and a spokesman for Prime Minister Noori Al-Maliki’s Dawah Party, said the Iraqi authorities feel so threatened by Isis “that we will take any assistance, even from Iran.” The consequences of Obama not helping Iraq the words of Hadi al-Amiri “If it wasn’t for Iran, Baghdad would have fallen,” then went on to elaborate saying, “When our country is in danger, we’ll go to any country that will help us. Do you want us to wait for the Americans?” Even though America intervened with air support later on the window to regain influence in Iraq has been lost to Iran. The price is authority to make decisions for Iraq when it suits Iran’s advantage. Iraq will basically be turned into a client state of Iran.
Baghdad will deal with the day to day governing of Iraq. When Tehran wants something from Iraq, Baghdad will be obligated to give in to Iran’s demands. Recently, Iraq’s parliament voted to put an affiliate of an Iranian-backed paramilitary group in charge of a key security ministry. The new interior minister is Mohammed Ghabban, a little-known Shiite politician with the Badr Organization. But there is little doubt that Hadi al-Amiri, head of the party and its military wing, will wield the real power in the ministry.” This is proof of the price for direct support of Iran, in return Iran has gained significant influence within the highest levels of the Iraqi government.
President Obama stated during a press conference on Oct 5, 2014 “So, for example, our support for Kurds in Kobani, where they’ve been able to hold off ISIL and where we’ve been able to effectively strike ISIL positions consistently — that’s not just because we’re trying to solve a Syria problem. That’s also because it gives us an opportunity to further weaken ISIL so that we can meet our number-one mission, which is Iraq.” This indicates that President Obama is unaware that his slow response pushed Baghdad into Iran’s sphere of influence. Compounding this situation is the fact that the President’s plan continuing assistance to moderate Sunni rebels in Syria has largely failed as the rebels have suffered huge defeats in Syria.
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