Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Iran's Aim: Shia Corridor
We're Letting Iran and ISIS Carve Up Iraq - Amir Taheri
While the Islamic State was retreating on the Tikrit front north of Baghdad, its forces were making major gains east of the Iraqi capital with the aim of capturing Ramadi, Iraq's fourth-largest Arab Sunni city. IS has also scored new gains by securing pledges of loyalty from other jihadi movements in Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Algeria and Mali. The latest came from Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the general perception is that the real winners in Tikrit were Shiite militias backed and even led by military advisers from the Quds Corps of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Iran's propaganda machine is awarding credit to the military genius of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Corps commander. Some Iranian officials even claim a new Persian empire is taking shape across most of the Middle East.
Iran is not aiming to defeat IS, let alone destroy it.
All Tehran wants is to create a safe corridor through Iraqi territory to Syria and thence to Lebanon.
(New York Post)
Petraeus: Iran Is the Problem, Not the Solution - Liz Sly
Former CIA director Gen. David H. Petraeus told the Washington Post:
"The current Iranian regime is not our ally in the Middle East. It is ultimately part of the problem, not the solution. The more the Iranians are seen to be dominating the region, the more it is going to inflame Sunni radicalism and fuel the rise of groups like the Islamic State. While the U.S. and Iran may have convergent interests in the defeat of Daesh [IS], our interests generally diverge. The Iranian response to the open hand offered by the U.S. has not been encouraging."
"Iranian power in the Middle East is thus a double problem. It is foremost problematic because it is deeply hostile to us and our friends. But it is also dangerous because, the more it is felt, the more it sets off reactions that are also harmful to our interests - Sunni radicalism and, if we aren't careful, the prospect of nuclear proliferation as well."
Iran Takes Over Iraq and Threatens Jordan - Dore Gold
The recent changes in the Middle East have not only melted the borders between Syria and Iraq, but also between Iraq and Iran. In the past, Iraq served as a buffer state separating Iran from the rest of the Arab world.
With the Iraqi buffer removed, there will be a territorially contiguous line from Tehran to Jordan's eastern border. General Qassam Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying that Iran could control events in Jordan, the same way it operated in Iraq and Lebanon. Days later the Revolutionary Guards denied that Suleimani made such a statement.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.