There’s Still a Chance to Save Iraq from Iranian Domination

Nov. 24 2021

After failing to assassinate the Iraqi prime minister earlier this month, Tehran-backed militias are seeking other ways to destabilize the country and to assert their power. As Hussain Abdul-Hussain explains, the militias are following the playbook used by Hizballah, another Iranian proxy, to cement its control of Lebanon—which it has now maintained for over a decade. Abdul-Hussain argues, however, that Iraq is not yet lost:

Iraq might prove to be a harder nut to crack than Lebanon. To start with, Lebanon’s Shiite population . . . numbers 1 million. In Iraq, the Shiites count around 20 million, which means that it would take Iran twenty times as much money to buy off the Iraqi Shiite community, a sum it could never afford.

Second, unlike impoverished and resourceless Lebanon, Iraq is the fourth-largest oil producer in the world, bringing its treasury some $50 billion annually and allowing the Iraqi state to be one of the largest employers in the world. As such, the Iraqi government has been able to outbid Tehran in trying to buy Shiite loyalty.

So far, Iraq has proven to be far more difficult for Tehran to control, a lesson Washington should heed. Before the United States withdraws the remaining 2,500 military advisers in Iraq, it is worth remembering that the country is not lost to Iran yet and that, with global support, Baghdad can beat Iran and disband its militias. All Washington needs to do is have some faith in anti-Islamic Republic Iraqis, and some patience in maintaining the currently costless U.S. policy on Iran in Iraq.

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Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism