Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We Should Resist Iran

Of course we should resist Iran in Iraq. And whose fault is it that we let it get this far?


Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’

I'm confused. So Iranian influence in Iraq is bad? So the Obama administration Iran nuclear deal didn't turn Iran into a responsible regional partner?

And wasn't it the Obama administration that walked away from Iraq after the sacrifice in blood and treasure the article mentions rather than make the commitment to stay and combat Iranian influence?

So what is it? Did Obama screw up leaving Iraq in 2011 or did Obama screw up by empowering Iran in 2015 with the Iran nuclear deal?

Surely NYT can't be arguing that this is Bush's fault! That's like arguing that defeating Hitler in 1945 just "handed over" eastern Europe to the Soviet Union.  The latter bad thing doesn't undermine the basic morally good nature of destroying a psychopathic aggressive dictator in the former action.

Remember that one of the reasons that Iraq's army collapsed in 2014 was that the Iraqi leaders worried about staying in power selected army leaders based on loyalty rather than military ability. Had we stayed to make sure Iran was not a threat, Iraq's leaders would have relied on our power to resist Iran (and we'd have made sure leadership was solid enough to keep the army fighting).

And didn't the Obama decision to wage Iraq War 2.0 keep our commitment low enough that Iraq also sought Iranian aid to fight ISIL that had overrun much of western and northern Iraq, reaching the gates of Baghdad?

Remember, Iranian influence in Iraq was one reason that Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. The appeal of cross-border Shia solidarity existed then. This is nothing new.

Of course, then the Shia of Iraq were under the heel of a Sunni dictatorship. Having freed Iraq's Shias and Kurds from Saddam in 2003--eventually gaining even the support of Sunni Arabs who hated the jihadi-Saddam alliance in the insurgencies--why didn't Obama take our opportunity to expel Iranian influence from Iraq by exploiting our sacrifice and role? Iraq's Shias are Arab and not Persian, remember, making a wedge to blunt Iran's appeal absent sectarian oppression that Saddam inflicted.

Or work to expel Iran from Syria?

Oh right, Obama wanted the Iran deal and didn't want to anger Iran by opposing them (like the Iranians would have refused the diplomatic gift to them under any "provocation!").

Iranian influence in Iraq is a problem because Iraq is better than it was in 2002 and so it matters that Iran has influence in Iraq; and Iran is pretty much the same (but getting closer to nukes every day), making their influence now bad. Would we care if Iran was a friendly non-nutball power?

I assume the New York Times will be fine with an American-led effort to roll back Iranian influence in the entire region, and not just in Iraq.

UPDATE: We have a big job ahead:

Yet radical Sunnis, separatist Kurds and meddling Iranians will remain a problem, along with corruption and unstable neighbors.

Work the problems.