June 16, 2014 | Quote

Here’s Why The Iraq Crisis ‘Plays Right Into Iran’s Hand’

All things considered, Middle East expert Dr. Jonathan Schanzer sees the situation unfolding to Iran's benefit, at the ultimate expense of the U.S.
“The ISIS crisis in Iraq plays right into Iran's hand,” Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, told Business Insider. “The regime in Tehran and the regime in Syria have been saying for months that they are the regional players that can help the West in its fight against terrorism. Despite the obvious irony — given the grisly terrorism track records of both countries — this may appeal to Washington, which is loathe to enter into new conflicts in the Middle East as it keen to 'lead from behind.'”
“The Obama Administration seeks to disengage from the Middle East and to stay out of conflict. But it is exactly this approach that has yielded the ISIS crisis in Syria and Iraq,” Schanzer said. “At some point, the White House is going to have to realize that hoping for help from the likes of the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis — and now the Iranians — is not help at all. If we continue to delegate to frenemies and enemies on crucial foreign policy challenges, we'll only get more of the same.”
The enemy of my enemy has an illicit nuclear program, abuses human rights, and has a track record of terrorism a mile long.
— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) June 14, 2014
Consequently, according to Schanzer, the Obama administration should reassess its increasingly risky attempts to embolden a resurgent Iran as a “stabilizer” of the Middle East.
“Iran is undoubtedly looking to become a regional hegemony. The drive for a nuclear weapon is part of this vision,” Schanzer, who is now the vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told BI. “And so is control of territory across the Shia Crescent [which stretches from Iran to the Mediterranean coast in Lebanon]. Iran continues to make incremental moves in this direction. Preventing this must be part of the U.S. strategy in the Middle East.”