Mideast Scholar Pipes: 'We Should Stay Out' of Iraq Conflict

Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 04:35 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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Protecting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, assisting displaced Iraqi civilians and stopping arms traffic to Sunni insurgents are the only worthwhile actions for the United States to take in Iraq, Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"We should stay out of this conflict," author and columnist Pipes told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "We should help those who are being harmed. We should take a humanitarian interest — we should provide soup and blankets. We should try to keep the arms from going in.

"But we ourselves should not get involved," he said.

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With Iraq embroiled in violence again, and insurgents threatening Baghdad, Pipes said another U.S. intervention only helps the true regional power: Iran.

"Iran basically controls the governments of Syria and Iraq today, and if we go in and help the Iranians, we are helping them to preserve this power," said Pipes. "We absolutely don't want to do that. The Iranian government is extremely, deeply hostile to us."

Pipes said the U.S. impulse to stabilize Iraq is understandable.

"There's a sentimental attachment to the Iraqi government because we spent $1 trillion and thousands of lives to establish it. And I understand that," he said. "But it's not our government. It's an Iranian-influenced government."

Working with Iran would be inevitable under the circumstances, according to Pipes.

Another "MidPoint" guest on Tuesday agreed that cooperation with Iran is anathema. But retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jessie Jane Duff contended that "we can utilize" the Iranians to help calm Iraq and preserve the gains the United States paid so dearly to achieve.

Duff, of Concerned Veterans for America, said many Iraq returnees "are disgruntled and upset that their brothers and sisters [in arms] died in vain."

"Our blood is in their sand," said Duff.

But Pipes said what's happening now — "the devolution of Syria and Iraq into smaller states" — is a better alternative than another attempt to shore up existing arrangements.

"So although very ugly, I think it's part of a positive process," he said.

Pipes and Duff agreed on one point: that U.S.-trained Iraqi troops who fled Mosul without a fight, leaving a largely Sunni city to Sunni insurgents, will defend Baghdad — the home of Iraq's Shiite-run government.

"I expect a much greater fight," Duff said.

"These are basically Shiite troops in the Iraqi governmental forces who are going to stand and defend Shiite regions, starting with Baghdad," said Pipes. "So I imagine that the defense of Baghdad will be far greater than that of Mosul."

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