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Monday, July 17, 2017

Have They Been Asleep?

The New York Times has a long article today disclosing that Iran has become the dominant foreign power in Iraq.  Why does this surprise anyone?  Remember these few facts:

1.  Iraq has a Shiite majority.  The Sunnis are about 15% fewer in number.  Both groups are Arabs, though, while the Iranians are ethnic Persians.

2.  For many decades prior to the US invasion, the Sunnis held power in Baghdad.  In the 1980s the two countries fought a long and bloody war.  The Iraqi leader at the time, Saddam Hussein downplayed the religious statistic and instead emphasized the ethnic differences during that war.

3.  A big chunk of the Sunnis in Iraq are ethnic Kurds rather than Arabs, so among Arabs the Shiite majority is even more pronounced.

4.  After the US invasion, America pushed for democratic elections to select a government.  The Shiite supported candidates won and then led a long effort to remove all Sunnis from positions of power and influence.

5.  Under president Obama, the USA just left Iraq completely.  Obama sat by while the Shiites in Baghdad ousted the Sunnis.  He also sat by while the Iranians moved in to promote religious enmity and to coopt many Shiite groups to the Iranian cause.  With little or no opposition, Iran established a very strong position in Iraq.

6.  When ISIS appeared around 2014, they came as Sunni warriors.  For ISIS, the Shiites were infidels in much the same way that Christians and Yazidis were.  Only once the brutality of the ISIS forces was established did president Obama put his toe back into the waters of Iraq.

7.  Since Obama finally got around to opposing ISIS, the USA has fought on the side of the Iraqi government (which is firmly allied with Iran.)  America did nothing to break that Iranian-Iraqi alliance.  Instead, we just fought against ISIS.

8.  Anyone paying attention for the last four years would realize that Iraq was and is in the orbit of Iran. 

It's an amazing thing that the Times can publish articles now about how Iran is in control of much of Iraq.  Where have they been for the last four years?  Actually, I guess I can answer my own question.  For the first three and a half of those years, Obama was still president, so the Times would never say anything that might reflect poorly on Obama and his policies.  Now that Trump is in office, the Times is shocked, shocked to find that the Iranians have such a foothold in Iraq.

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