By Sal Bommarito
Iran is assisting the government of Iraq and fighting side by side with Iraqis against ISIS on the battlefield. This turn of events that is documented in a New York Times story will likely lead to the effective annexation of Iraq by Iran after the war ends.
Iran has filled a void created by President Obama’s decision not to employ ground troops against ISIS. Recent successes on the ground throughout the country have stemmed, to a degree, the advances of the enemy.
There is a method to Iran’s actions that will greatly impact the direction of Iraq after ISIS is neutralized. Iran’s hegemonic behavior is recognized by all Arab nations. Its desire to control Arabs and assist Shiite regimes is infamous. This latest ploy to stem the tide of ISIS on the ground could very well lead to even stronger bonds between these two Shiite-controlled governments as they jointly oppress Sunnis throughout Iraq.
A civil war is inevitable in Iraq post ISIS. In order to gain total control, the Iraqi government must exterminate the ISIS insurgents and marginalize Sunnis who remain in the country. Oppression is virtually guaranteed. In fact, Shiite militia groups have already violated many Sunnis during the campaign against ISIS.
After a decade of support given to Iraq by the U.S. that included the end of Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror, a trillion dollars of financial assistance and thousands of American casualties, Iraq will likely yield to Iran politically.
Could this have been avoided? Yes, if the president had sent in ground troops to take the fight to ISIS, Iranians would not have asserted themselves upon the Iraqis. The price of assisting Iraq after the war might have been prohibitive and could have led to another nation-building adventure, something that most Americans eschew.
The bonds between Iraq and Iran have now strengthened materially and perhaps a puppet government that ruthlessly oppresses the minority religion will result in a tenuous peace.
The subordination of American leadership and military support may be the direction future presidents adopt. But, the impact of such a policy will enable hegemonic nations like Iran to increase their influence in surrounding nations and decrease the chances for democracy.