April 8, 2015 | Quote

The US and Iran are Closer in Iraq Than People Realize — and Things are Getting Ugly

The Obama administration is no longer hiding the fact that the US is serving as the air force for Iran-backed Shia militias fighting ISIS in Iraq.

Helen Cooper of The New York Times reports that the US and Iran “have found a template for fighting the Sunni militancy in other parts of Iraq: American airstrikes and Iranian-backed ground assaults” with the Iraqi military serving as a go-between.

The US recently provided crucial air support in the Iran-led offensive to drive ISIS (aka Islamic State, Daesh) from Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit and bragged about it. US officials told The Wall Street Journal that “they deliberately used the Tikrit operation to drive a wedge between Iran and Iraq.”

The template, however, is reportedly seen as the best way to retake Iraq's second largest city of Mosul, which ISIS captured last summer as it rampaged into Iraq from its massive safe haven in neighboring Syria.

As Iraq forces connect the US with Iran, the Obama administration is placed squarely on the Shia side of the emerging and increasingly brutal sectarian war.

The Iran-led and US-backed war against ISIS in Iraq has broader implications: The Sunni-Shia turmoil includes the majority Sunni rebel forces fighting the Iran-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria as well as Sunnis in Iraq who support ISIS merely for political reasons after years of repression.


And as Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted as early as June 2014, the combination of the Iraqi Army and Iranian-backed Shiite militias “is being coordinated by the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani.”


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