The New Middle East War: A Single Conflict from Baghdad to Beirut

(Mosaic) Michael Doran - The rise of ISIS is a subset of a new conflict that stretches from Baghdad to Beirut. The conflict has three sides: Shiite Iran and its proxies; ISIS and likeminded Sunni extremists; and the traditional allies of the United States: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel. Since the departure of American troops from Iraq in 2011, the Shiite regime of Nouri al-Maliki has become a satellite of Iran, whose Revolutionary Guards have thoroughly penetrated Iraqi security services. Any intelligence the U.S. shares with Maliki's security services will inevitably land on the desk in Tehran of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force. The Iranian leadership probably also calculates that, by pretending to be partners in counterterrorism with the West, it has magnified its leverage in the nuclear negotiations, which is Iran's number one foreign-policy priority. The writer, a senior fellow of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

2014-07-03 00:00:00

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