Iran and Turkey Jostling for Power in Iraq

(Jerusalem Post) Jonathan Spyer - The eventual outcome of the battle for Mosul in Iraq cannot be in doubt. There are 5,000 Islamic State fighters inside the city, facing a combined force of 100,000. The attackers have complete control of the skies and vastly superior weaponry. Shi'a militiamen of the Popular Mobilization Units are moving into position to prevent Islamic State fighters from escaping westward toward the Syrian border. The PMU consists of around 40 Shi'a militias, the most significant of which are directly supported by the government of Iran. The Shi'a militias of the PMU are thus a classic Iranian production - combining political, military and paramilitary/intimidatory roles for the maximization of power and Iranian influence. Meanwhile, the Turks established a military base at Bashiqa, east of Mosul, in December 2015, where Turkish officers are training a Sunni militia. The Iranians and their allies are already engaged against Turkish-supported militias in northern Syria. Even as the fight for Mosul has not yet reached its completion, the various players are already competing for supremacy in the aftermath. The writer is Director of the Rubin Center, IDC Herzliya, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

2016-11-08 00:00:00

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