Iranian Influence in Iraq

07. April 2014, von aus dem Netz

Americans often either over-or understate Iran’s influence in Iraq.  Iran wields considerable influence in Iraq, unquestionably more than any other foreign country and far more than the United States.  It was Iran that ultimately engineered Nuri al-Maliki’s re-election as prime minister in 2010 by strong-arming the Sadrists to back him.  It was the Iranians who preserved his rule in 2012 by convincing Jalal Talabani to refuse demands to call for a vote of no-confidence—a vote that Maliki seemed likely to lose.  There are myriad other ways in which Iran wields influence and has demonstrated that sway in Iraq.

However, Iranian influence in Iraq is ultimately limited.  It cannot be said often enough that Maliki himself is NOT an Iranian puppet.  He dislikes and distrusts the Iranians, and sees himself as a nationalist who would like to free Iraq from Iran’s clutches.  The most important thing Nuri al-Maliki ever did as prime minister was to order (against American advice) Operation Charge of the Knights in the spring of 2008, by which American-backed Iraqi forces smashed Sadr’s Iranian-backed Jaysh al-Mahdi and drove it from Iraq.  At the time, it was a crippling blow to Iranian interests in Iraq.

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