Unless senior U.S. Government official wake up to what is happening in Iraq, Russian troops will soon be taking over former U.S. military bases in Iraq as they are doing in Syria today.
Iran and Russia have a long and collaborative history. This relationship dates to 1521 A.D., when the Grand duchy of Moscow and the Iranian Empire joined forces. The relationship between Iran and Iraq goes back further, literally millennia, as recorded in the ancient biblical texts.
Iran’s most recent active involvement in Iraq has been known since the 2003 U.S. liberation of the Iraqi people from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Since then, the U.S. has engaged in multiple failed Iraq policies, including “debathification,” a 2005 forced Iraqi Constitution, and continuing failure to deal with information warfare being waged by Iran in Iraq, i.e., propaganda.
At the same time the Iraqi people are engaging in violent protest against corruption in their own government, the Russian masters of propaganda are waiting in the wing.
In light of what is at stake and pursuant to his “America First” agenda, President Trump should appoint a Special Envoy to Iraq, one who understands the interplay between and among Iran, Russia, and Iraq, and who has the courage to face the facts and to advise the president on what is best for the U.S.-liberated Iraqi people and, more importantly, for the American people.
The relationship between Iran and Russia in recent times has been strengthened by Western sanctions. These sanctions, which are necessary to prevent further funding of terrorist attacks on the West and on our Middle-Eastern allies, have drawn Iran and Russia together economically.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran for a State Visit in 2018, meeting with Iran’s Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, building upon their countries’ long history as trading partners. Iran and Russia also support one another militarily through manufacturing and selling of goods to support operations in Yemen and Syria.
As the Iraq government endeavors to quell the Iraqi people’s uprising, we may see a shift in tactics by Iranian and Iranian-backed leaders in Iraq.
The most prominent religious leader in Iraq is Iraq’s Ayatollah, Ali Al-Sistani. The second, and completely Iranian influenced Iraqi leader is Muqtada Al-Sadr. Sadr’s political party saw great success in the last elections thanks in part to the Quds Force commander, Qassim Soleimani, who is revered as a hero to some Iraq people for his involvement in the fight against Daesh.
With hundreds severely wounded and dozens killed during the ongoing Iraq protests, Western leaders have condemned the violent responses by masked assailants who want to maintain the status quo. This has not deterred the Iraqi people however, and has escalated the number of protest followers and frequency in which they come together.
The Iraq-Iranian influenced government and its political party leaders may need to look at how to appease the masses while maintaining their power. Iranian leaders may look at their long-standing relationship with Russia as a solution. If Iranian leaders step back and allow Russia, a known weapon and trade partner of Iraq, to take a more forward footing, then this could convince the Iraqi people that they have beat the Iranian regime and have made considerable political change.
We could well see a change in the Iraqi Prime Minister from Adil Mehdi to another member of the Shia backed Dawa, Badr Organization, or Sadr party. We may also see a re-election of parliamentary seats that will portray change to the people of Iraq. There will be a focus from the new government on improving the quality of life and economic situation within Iraq through salary increases, better water conditions, and a more stable power grid in the south. This will provide enough change for the back-room transitions with Iran and Russia to take hold.
The reality will be, however, that nothing has really changed. The Iranian-backed influencers in Iraq will simply have changed their appearances.
This is the time for the U.S. to double down in rebuilding its support and relationships in Iraq. U.S. leaders must use our allies such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to encourage progressive and meaningful policy changes within Iraq.
The American people are not about turning our backs on the Iraqi people whom we liberated from a cruel tyrant. We need both a strong U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad with a firm grip of the situation. We could also use a Special Envoy in Iraq who is supporting our Ambassador to help focusing on strengthening our relationships within Iraq.
The American people did not elect Donald Trump to stand by while Iran and Russia take control over the Iraqi people we liberated.
Cory Mills is a highly decorated combat veteran with experience in multiple theaters of operation. He is Founder and CEO of PACEM Solutions International and PACEM Defense LLC, which acquired AMTEC Less Lethal Systems, Inc., in 2018. For most of his adult life, Cory Mills has honorably served U.S. military, diplomatic, and USAID missions. After Mr. Mills was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he served as a subcontractor for the U.S. State Department from 2005-2010. During this time, he worked with thousands of diplomatic missions in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and the U.S. Consul in Erbil. In 2016, the Republic of Iraq credited PACEM with assisting operations which led to the raising of Iraq’s flag at the Fallujah Governor’s Office for the first time in nearly three years. Prior to this, ISIS was flying the flag of the Caliph in Fallujah. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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