Sam Ghandchiسام قندچي What is US Solution in Iraq
Sam Ghandchi

راه حل آمریکا در عراق چیست

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US and allies invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam's regime. Although IRI cooperated, it was not a major force in the invasion and US took complete control of Iraq. But later, Sunni Islamists challenging US presence in Iraq proved to be a major force in post-Saddam's Iraq and US cooperated with IRI and its Shia Islamist proxies to fight Sunni Islamists. Although some Iraqi clergy who lived in Qom during Saddam's years, were allies of IRI, but the Shia Islamist politicians who dominated Iraqi government were the ones allied with the Shia militia during the civil war in Iraq first against Al Qaeda and then against Daesh. Shia Islamists in the Iraqi government give the impression that they are working with IRI the same way Cambodian officials worked with the Vietnamese who invaded Cambodia together with the US, when afterwards Vietnamese cooperated with the US not only in running Cambodia but in many other areas and even US retirees today feel safe enough to go to Vietnam in their retirement years. Maybe some of Iran's Islamic Reformists follow such a strategy of cooperation with the US in Iraq but frankly IRI's strategy in Iraq is like Stalin's strategy in Greece and Spain after WWII when Soviet Union wanted to take over those two countries similar to the way Stalin conquered Eastern Europe and it was only after the deal Truman made with Stalin regarding Greece, Spain, and the two regions of Iran namely Azerbaijan and Kurdistan, when US agreed to accept Stalin's objectives in China, that the episode of a potential war like Korean War between US and allies in Greece, Spain and Iran on one side and China on the other side, finally ended. In a way, Stalin sacrificed Greece, Spain and the Kurdish and Azeri regions of Iran to get the US approval for success of Communism in China, and the US made the deal to focus on consolidating its global gains in the world which included many regions previously controlled by the UK and France and more importantly US needed to focus on Marshal Plan in Europe and McArthur's reforms in Japan and did not want to ruin all those achievements by fighting the Soviets in the aftermath of WWII. With regards to Iraq, the IRI will never agree to such a deal and all the words of Iran's Islamic Reformists are empty promises. Why? Because IRI thinks Iraq has no other choice than relying on IRI to defend it in face of Daesh and other Sunni Islamist terror groups. Now the US has had several choices. One was Biden's breakup of Iraq into three countries which I discussed in Persian 12 years ago, namely a Shiite country focused on Baghdad, Basra and Shiite Religious centers of Najaf and Karbala, a Sunni country basically in Mosul and Al-Anbar province, and a Kurdish country. The reality is that IRI will control such a Shiite country, and the other two segments will have to accept IRI dominance in the region because no country with ground forces is able to help the Kurds or Anti-Daesh pro-US Sunnis in face of constant threats of Daesh, Al-Qaeda, etc. Thus the same issues of a unified Iraq will continue after any breakup of that country, and more importantly new unpredicted problems may unsurface the same way the strong rise of Sunni Islamism in aftermath of US invasion of Iraq was unpredicted. Thus Joe Biden's solution of breaking up Iraq into three countries is a non-starter. Moreover, hoping that IRI to change as some Islamic Reformists promise, into another Vietnam working with the U.S. as we have seen in South East Asia, is really a wishful thinking. IRI wants to control Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asian republics, Syria, and Persian Gulf countries, the same way Soviet Union controlled Bulgaria, Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe plus China although later Mao left the Soviet empire. IRI accepted a solution for Russia to control Syria, because basically Bashar al-Assad is very close to IRI and also after all these years IRI was not able to control Syria and more importantly Syria is not a big country next door to Iran and would be a trap for IRI to have too much presence in Syria having Israel as next door neighbor with all the multiplicity of Palestinian movement. So in face of this reality of IRI and Iraq, what can the US do? US either will have to go into an all out war with the Shia militia in Iraq which means needing ground forces and the Kurdish forces would be afraid to take US side because they may risk their very existence in the region by IRI and Turkey would avoid such an engagement because it would make it allied with Daesh which Turkey has already been hurt by that kind of innuendoes. And leaving Iraq to Russia is not an option either because this will endanger control of Persian Gulf by the US and in north of Iraq, it can have serious reverberations in Turkey. So either the US needs to go into an all-out-war against Shia militias in Iraq which would mean the risk of direct confrontation with IRI and all the noted issues, or some other alternative which the US should have pursued after the fall of Saddam Hussein and this author noted at the time of Paul Bremer and Norman Schwarzkopf but nobody cared to hear. From the first day after fall of Saddam Hussein, it was a mistake for the US to agree to an Islamic constitution in Iraq. US should have supported secularism and secular politicians in Iraq. True that they were mostly either the remnants of Saddam's era or hardly had much following among the Arab population, but the alternative allowed IRI to take control of Iraqi government. What is the solution today? US needs to support secular democrats in Iraq and there are people like Mossadegh in Iraq who are not anybody's puppet and are nationalist and secular and do not want IRI to control their country and they are the ones who have been challenging IRI in all the demonstrations in Iraq during the last year. Can they challenge the Shia militia? Yes if they are helped with rebuilding the Iraqi army as a totally secular military. Are secular democrat politicians of Iraq afraid of Shia and Sunni Islamists, yes they are and this is why they have to walk a fine line with Daesh, Shia militia, IRI and Russia, the same way Mossadegh had to walk a fine line with Islamists and Soviets although his ideal was a Western-type government in Iran. Is it hard to find these secular democratic Iraqi leaders in the Arab regions of Iraq? Yes it is but surely the Kurdish forces who have fought for *secular* democracy for decades and not just a dictatorial secularism of Saddam, know those Arab secular democratic politicians well. In fact, the help of Kurdish leaders is critical to make a secular solution work for the whole Iraq and it may even help the success of secular democracy in Iran rather than the prospects of an all out war with IRI in the region. The solutions proposed by IRI puppets in Iraq and the promises of Islamic Reformists such as Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif are pipe dreams sold during JCPOA to Mr. John Kerry and Obama Administration which actually left the US with the choice of an all out war or total concession to IRI giving it the control of Iraq. And an aftermath of such a path is what we saw with the issue of Qasem Soleimani, and continuing on that path can only make things worse for all sides, not better!


Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi
April 28, 2020
















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