In Iraq, a ‘secret strategy’ with strange (Iranian) bedfellows

In Iraq, a ‘secret strategy’ with strange (Iranian) bedfellows

[Ed. – ‘Cause I know you really wanted to get in bed with Iran.]

The President hasn’t announced his strategy for dealing with ISIS yet, but there is a clear military approach taking shape in Iraq. On an operational level, the military intervention has shown some early success in using U.S. airpower to support local ground forces and halt ISIS’s advances. But the tension between tactics and strategy, methods and goals, is already starting to show. The battle we won yesterday could make it harder to win a war tomorrow.

And while the American strategy for ISIS is stalled, the air war in Iraq has been expanding steadily. …

Since mid-August, the U.S. has been acting as Iraq’s de facto air force. American aircraft are bombing ISIS targets and supporting offensives by Kurdish forces, the Iraqi military and militia groups that were yesterday’s anti-American jihadists and are today’s anti-ISIS allies. …

In Amerli, the U.S. backed operation was spearheaded by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian backed group known for sectarian violence against Sunnis and attacks on American troops during the last war in Iraq. After American airstrikes helped Asaib Ahl al-Haq take control of Amerli, a spokesman for the group told a New York Times reporter, “we don’t trust Americans at all” and added “we don’t need them.” …

Amerli was clearly a defeat for ISIS and a relief for the townspeople who had held off the group for six weeks. But it’s less clear what the alliance between U.S. airpower and Iranian-backed militias says about the vision guiding the mission in Iraq. Even leaving aside questions of a grand regional strategy for the Middle East—and how our track record suggests that U.S. led wars in Iraq can benefit Iran—its not clear how the precedent set in Amerli will serve the President’s more immediate goals for resolving the war in Iraq.

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