Goodbye Iraq. Hello Iran

(Israel Hayom) Dore Gold - The final withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq raises the question of Baghdad's future role along Israel's eastern front. Historically, Iraq was a confrontation state. With remarkable consistency, Iraq, under various governments, dispatched one-third of its ground order-of-battle against Israel by moving its forces across Jordan in 1948 and again in 1967, while joining the battles in the Golan Heights in 1973. In 1991, Saddam Hussein launched 39 missiles against Israel as well. How does Israel have to take Iraq into account, now that the U.S. has pulled out? With the rise of Shiite parties in Iraq after 2003, Iran has had many opportunities for influencing Iraq's political orientation. There are roughly eight Shiite groups in Iraq with ties to Iran, most of which received Iranian funding, including the al-Dawa Party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who lived in Iran from 1982 through 1990. In short, Iran has strong strategic, economic, and religious interests that it will pursue in Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal. This will result in increasing Iranian pressure on Jordan. The U.S. and its allies must reinforce Jordan's ability to contend with the new challenges it will face from the east, as Iraq enters increasingly into the Iranian orbit. The writer, a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2011-12-23 00:00:00

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