The problem is that the tensions between the US and Iran are affecting Iran and Iraqi president Barham Salih, alongside many Iraqi parliamentarians appears to be concerned about the US’s role in Iraq and wish the US military to leave.
The problem is that many of these voices aren’t independent Iraqis doing what is best for their country. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the second largest party in Iraq and a consistent critic of the US, fought alongside Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the 1980s and lead one of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), a paramilitary force formed in 2014.
A Pentagon report published in February, which indicated that at least four Iraqi operatives have been caught by the US acting on behalf of Iran-backed Hezbollah and the IRGC, read: “Iran’s support to many elements of the PMU has allowed Iran to maintain influence in Iraq, and the Iraqi government has been unable to assert centralized control over the PMU.”
While many pro-Iranian parliamentarians in Iraq, as well as Shi’ite militia leaders, and the Iranian regime, try to promote a sort of fraternal bond between Iraq and Iran with the US as an outside interfering force, the truth is that Iran seeks to make Iraq into a vassal state and use it to help cement the Regime’s control over the Middle East.
Rather than try to kick out the US, Iraq should instead focus on removing the Iranian Regime before the mullahs can take full control. After all, the ill-advised withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East by Barack Obama in 2011, only helped the Iranian Regime to take advantage of power vacuums, which have left the region at the mullahs’ mercy.
Donald Trump should also consider this a warning from history about the need to keep US troops on the ground in Iraq, Syria, and across the Middle East, to confront the mullahs and prevent the Regime from getting a stronger foothold, through which they would be able to threaten more US interests in the Middle East and elsewhere.