The Iraqi army is making progress
in its effort to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (ISIS) forces, but Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Iraq will find that the help it is getting from Iranian ground forces won't come without a price.
In an appearance Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,"
the Illinois Republican admitted the situation is "very awkward."
The U.S. military announced plans
on February 19 for a springtime assault on Mosul with American backing. On Monday, it was announced that Iraq was moving toward Tikrit with the aid of Iran and was receiving no help from the United States.
The move comes during controversial talks between Iran, the United States and other Western powers over Iran's nuclear program.
"It just underscores how complicated this region is," said Kinzinger, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The Iranians oppose ISIS as part of the Sunni/Shia rift in Islam, Kinzinger noted, while the United States wants to eradicate any threat from both ISIS and Iran.
"What you have is an unnatural alliance that's occurring right now but the reality of it is this: The Iranians are going to demand something for their involvement with Iraq," Kinzinger said. "Even if they say we don't like ISIS, they will not get this for free."
Iran is attempting to gain more influence in the region, he said, so the United States should embed more Special Forces on the ground with the Iraqi military to push out Iranian influence.
"But at the end of the day, there's no pretty answers," Kinzinger said.
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