web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Why are We Surprised that Iran is Exporting Weapons to Iraq?

The best thing the U.S. could possibly do is strengthen a loose coalition of regional pragmatists in defeating the threat posed by ISIS – and thereby sideline Iran.
The flag of ISIS.

The flag of ISIS.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

There are two layers to this question, which is popping up on TV screens this weekend. One is the geopolitical layer; the other is the simple-tracing-of-facts layer.

Starting with the latter, Reuters reported in February that Iraq and Iran signed an arms deal in November of 2013, right after Nouri al-Maliki got home from a visit to Washington (during which he petitioned Obama for more arms to fight off the “ISIS” insurgency waging war across Syria and western Iraq).

The ISIS insurgency – “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” – is often rendered “ISIL” in English, for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In either case, the territorial reference is to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. The insurgents are Sunni jihadists, and their principal focus at the moment has been scoped by the Syrian civil war, in which they are fighting the Assad regime. Most of the ISIS guerrillas come from abroad; a major contingent of them is from the Chechen Caucasus, where Islamist insurgents have waged a war against Russian rule for nearly a quarter century now. (For more on all this, see the last link above to my January 2014 post. The map shows the corridor between Syria and Baghdad where the ISIS insurgency has sought to plant roots.)

ISIS corridor in the Euphrates valley. Google map; author annotation.

ISIS corridor in the Euphrates valley. Google map; author annotation.

The bottom line is that ISIS is fighting to gain control of territory over which radical Iran wants control herself. Iraq, under the current government, has no interest in wielding an outsize influence over her neighbors to the west; the priority in Baghdad is reestablishing control over Anbar Province. But the larger aspirations of ISIS clash directly with those of the mullahs in Tehran.

Tehran is still arming Assad and still seeking to arm Hezbollah and Hamas, as evidenced by the attempt in March to ship advanced artillery rockets to one or the other, or both. Besides the shadowy nature of the shipping route, a key feature of that attempt at arming the terrorists was that it combined arms stocks from both Iran and Syria. That aspect of the transaction is informative on multiple levels. At the most general level, it suggests how Iran sees Syria and the overall fight in the region: as an Iranian military and geopolitical campaign.

The mullahs don’t see themselves as narrowly locked in combat with a single opponent (ISIS). They have a much broader strategic objective of maintaining decisive influence where they have had it, and gaining it where they don’t. They want to turn the same territory that ISIS is after into a quiescent client-region. Much of it had fallen to them already, at the onset of the Arab Spring in January 2011: all of Syria, and the southern portion of Lebanon.

The Iranian leaders know they can’t just make abrupt moves against central Lebanon or Israel; their interim goal is to hold sway over vulnerable territories that border Beirut and Israel. And that’s a hydra-headed problem. Under today’s conditions, the Saudis would spearhead an Arab coalition to fight Iran for Lebanon – and for the West Bank, for that matter. Cairo won’t stand by and let Iranian influence build up – or, more accurately, let it change course or take new initiatives – in Gaza. Israel, of course, will defend her territory.

So Iran’s approach to Jerusalem – where the radical clerics quite literally expect to fight under the Mahdi’s banner (see here for more from Ayatollah Khamenei on the 12th Imam) – has to be incremental and cumulative. Defeating the ISIS insurgency is a step along the way to consolidating an unresisting client corridor across the heart of the Middle East.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Why are We Surprised that Iran is Exporting Weapons to Iraq?”

  1. A es weapon for Hesbollah who fight for Syria

  2. sanction limited its export of oil. .and Iraq is the shortest way to destroy Israel. .and where is daddy america?

  3. Not at all surprised.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. July 29, 2015.
Bibi on Iran Deal: ‘We Aren’t Partners at the Table, We Are a Meal on the Menu’ [VIDEO]
Latest Indepth Stories
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Obama, the new Neville Chamberlain

Iran has not agreed to give up anything needed to acquire a bomb or cease any aggressive behavior

Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Activists from US, France, Germany & from Iran’s media are aboard because the ship’s a cause célèbre

“…the Pope did the exact opposite of what the media reported: he urged Abbas to change his ways.”

The world’s more vulnerable to predation, eruption, and chaos than it has been in at least 600 years

Iran stands unopposed by the “international community” and is racing to assert regional dominance.

The S-300 poses a major problem; Israel will have to get creative as to if, when & where it strikes

In the last weeks of the talks the US excluded every other delegation from negotiations with Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/why-are-we-surprised-that-iran-is-exporting-weapons-to-iraq/2014/05/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: