Iraq’s government is resisting a request by the U.S. government to block Iranian planes from traversing Iraqi air space to resupply Syria’s repressive ruling regime, according to The Washington Post.
Despite the certainty of U.S. officials that Iranian planes are transporting arms and other military equipment to Syria in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting the export of Iranian weapons, Iraq’s government prefers to believe assurances from Iran that the planes contain only humanitarian aid.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Vice President Joseph Biden, who has played a lead role in implementing the Obama Administration’s complacent Iraq policy, called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on August 17 in a vain effort to press Baghdad to take action. The flights had resumed in July after being halted in March, apparently under pressure from Washington and Arab countries opposed to Syria’s Assad regime.
The same article reported that Iraqi Shiite militants from Iranian-backed militia groups have crossed the border to help the Syrian regime repress its own people. U.S. officials charge that in addition to arms, Iran has dispatched Islamic Revolutionary Guards from the elite Quds Force to train paramilitary thugs that the Assad regime has increasingly used to attack the opposition. Iran has also provided the regime with training and technology to intercept communications and monitor the Internet.
In addition to escalating its support for the Assad regime in Syria, Iran has greatly expanded its influence in Iraq after the departure of U.S. troops last December. Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government has steadily drifted into the orbit of its larger Shiite neighbor.
Prime Minister al-Maliki’s government has closed down the operations of the Voice of America inside Iraq and is set to release from jail Ali Musa Daqduq, a notorious Hezbollah terrorist who worked closely with the Quds Force to target U.S. troops and Iraqis opposed to Iran. A former CIA official described him as “the worst of the worst. He has American blood on his hands. If released, he’ll go back to shedding more of it.”
In addition to Iranian-supported Shiite terrorists, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has found it much easier to operate since the withdrawal of U.S. troops. AQI has made a comeback in Iraq and threatened to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. homeland in July.
As predicted, the abrupt end of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq has boosted security threats to the United States that the Obama Administration has glossed over in its effort to consolidate the domestic political benefits of withdrawing from Iraq.
The Obama Administration has downplayed the deteriorating situation in Iraq and Syria, as well as Iran’s nuclear progress, because these festering crises undermine the Administration’s preferred narrative that the tide of war is receding. Unfortunately, what is receding is U.S. influence in Iraq and the broader Middle East.