The next phase will be the establishment of a US-Gulf front.
According to an article by Sawsan al-Shaer for Al Arabiya, “If Iraq wants Gulf countries to support its security and stability by cooperating with the US, it must act to address the security chaos caused by Iranian militias on its land.”
A major goal is the exit of foreign forces and militias supported by Iran from Syria and Iraq. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, said in an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries announced they’re willing to participate with special troops alongside the US. Some countries from the Islamic Alliance to fight terrorism and extremism are also ready to send troops. We will coordinate with the US to know what the plan is and what is necessary to execute it.”
Additionally, US President Donald Trump ordered Mattis to draw up a plan within 30 days to combat ISIS. According to the German daily’s interview with Jubeir, he expects these plans to be proposed soon. “The major idea is to liberate areas from ISIS and to also guarantee that these areas do not fall in the hands of Hezbollah, Iran or the (Syrian) regime,” Jubeir said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, said on January 4, that the Syrian regime must go back to the negotiating table and deal directly with the opposition to achieve peaceful political transition in Syria. “We must send a strong message in which we demand that all foreign militias exit Syrian territories immediately,” he said, and emphasized the importance of the withdrawal of all militias from Syria in the end of 2016 after what was known as the Russian-Iranian-Turkish document was announced. This document led to calling for the Astana conference in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, talk is already begun about the post-ISIS phase in Iraq. In early January, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rushed to visit Iran, and met with Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s international affairs advisor. On January 4, Al-Arabiya.net reported that according to the Mehr news agency, Maliki said he went to Iran to meet with Khamenei to discuss what he called “possible threats post-ISIS.”
Al-Arabiya’s report added: “This is a new political term in international and regional politics especially that the war against ISIS has not ended yet in Iraq and Syria. The point of Maliki’s statements that he went to Iran to discuss possible threats post-ISIS with Iranian officials are unclear as the extremist organization is not present among the Iranians and ISIS does not have any announced military activity in Iran.”