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Iraq Is the Next Battleground

Iraqi groups who fought against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq visited the newly appointed Iranian General head of the IRGC-Quds brigade Ismail Qaani who replaced Sardar Qassem Soleimani. They asked for military and financial support to fight the new "occupation forces". The Iranian General promised to assist in implementing the parliament, government and people's decision to fight the US occupation forces. Qaani is expected to visit Iraq, where over 100 Iranian advisors work in Baghdad security and command Control Base along with Syrian and Russian counterparts to fight ISIS.

America's Failed Strategy in the Middle East: Losing Iraq and the Gulf | CSIS |

It is all too tempting for the United States to focus on the current crisis over the clash between Iran and the United States in Iraq. Events have steadily escalated since late December. Iranian has sponsored attacks by Iraqi Popular Militia Forces on U.S. forces and facilities. The U.S. has launched retaliatory attacks on these PMFs. This has been followed by well-organized demonstrations and attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and then by U.S. drone strikes that killed Qasem Solemani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, an Iraqi militia group tied to Iran that had been linked to attacks on U.S. targets.

Moreover, the Iraqi central government had virtually collapsed even before these events. Its corruption, ineffectiveness, and failed economic policies had led to massive popular demonstrations. Its legislature virtually disbanded, and legislation was passed calling for a different, locally elected and more representative system. Prime Minister Mahdi had resigned and then stayed on in an uncertain "acting' capacity. The Kurdish regional government remained divided, and the government failed to effectively aid the Sunni cities in the West that had been shattered in the fight with ISIS.

The central government's Army and Air Force remained largely separate from. the Kurdish forces in the north, and efforts to integrate the various Shi'ite and Sunni Popular Militia Forces that had helped fight ISIS into the central government's forces resulted in an unworkable system where these deeply divided PMFs - many with close ties to Iran - reported directly to a Prime Minister with no real authority and who had lost his popular mandate.

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'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jan 13th, 2020 at 11:17:32 PM EST

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