Iran Is No Partner in the Fight Against the Islamic State

(Long War Journal) Ali Alfoneh and Michael Pregent - The threat of the Islamic State not only makes the Iraqi Shia more dependent on Tehran and legitimizes Iran's military presence in Iraq, it also provides the regime in Tehran with another bargaining chip in nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, the civil war in Iraq, followed by the rise of Islamic State, forced moderate Iraqi Shia, who otherwise would have pursued a line independent of Iran, to become dependencies of Tehran. The small contingent of U.S. advisers in Iraq is relying on a heavily Iranian-influenced Iraqi sectarian intelligence and security apparatus. The Iraqi security forces are predominantly Shia and, in addition, Shia militias and "advisers" from the IRGC Quds Force are now fighting as legitimate Iraqi forces. This creates an environment in which targeting operations developed by Iranian forces and the militias have primacy over those developed by the U.S., leading to the possibility that Washington could be portrayed by Islamic State as complicit in the indiscriminate targeting of Sunnis. Such operations will be perceived the same way by the very Sunnis we need to fight Islamic State. Ali Alfoneh is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Michael Pregent is a former intelligence officer and military adviser and now adjunct at National Defense University.

2015-03-12 00:00:00

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