Monday, February 15, 2016

Smart Diplomacy

We lost over 4,600 troops to free Iraq in 2003 and turned it from a Saddam-controlled Soviet-armed enemy that supported terror and was aggressive to neighbors into an ally in the war against terrorists. And then we walked away in 2011.

In our absence, Iran gained influence in Iraq through pro-Iran Shia proxies.

And now Russia regains a foothold there:

Russia is ready to sell civil airliners to Iraq and keep providing it with military aid to fight Islamic State, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday, accompanied on a trip to Baghdad by the biggest Russian delegation in years.

The mission by nearly 100 government and business officials was part of a drive by Moscow to strengthen commercial and security ties with Iraq, potentially eroding U.S. influence in one of the world's most critical regions.

Even though we've re-started our part in the war that never really was "responsibly ended" (and are getting better with our limited air power commitment), it's almost like Iraq doesn't want to risk counting on us to stick around even if we get around to destroying ISIL.

The Smart Diplomacy is really starting to burn. Could we stop that? Now? Please?

UPDATE: A small success:

The three Americans who were abducted in Baghdad last month have been freed, the State Department said Tuesday, and Iraqi officials said they have been handed over to the U.S. Embassy in good health.

But who got them released? Was it our effort? Or did the Russians help? Or did Iran tell its proxies not to get too aggressive until all the Western checks clear?