November 18, 2019

STABILIZING THE JOINT AMERICAN-IRANIAN REGIME:

A SPY COMPLEX REVEALED (James Risen, Tim Arango, Farnaz Fassihi, Murtaza Hussain, Ronen Bergman, November 18 2019, The Intercept)

According to one of the leaked Iranian intelligence cables, Abdul-Mahdi, who in exile worked closely with Iran while Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq, had a "special relationship with the IRI" -- the Islamic Republic of Iran -- when he was Iraq's oil minister in 2014. The exact nature of that relationship is not detailed in the cable, and, as one former senior U.S. official cautioned, a "special relationship could mean a lot of things -- it doesn't mean he is an agent of the Iranian government." But no Iraqi politician can become prime minister without Iran's blessing, and Abdul-Mahdi, when he secured the premiership in 2018, was seen as a compromise candidate acceptable to both Iran and the United States.

The leaked cables offer an extraordinary glimpse inside the secretive Iranian regime. They also detail the extent to which Iraq has fallen under Iranian influence since the American invasion in 2003, which transformed Iraq into a gateway for Iranian power, connecting the Islamic Republic's geography of dominance from the shores of the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.

The trove of leaked Iranian intelligence reports largely confirms what was already known about Iran's firm grip on Iraqi politics. But the reports reveal far more than was previously understood about the extent to which Iran and the United States have used Iraq as a staging area for their spy games. They also shed new light on the complex internal politics of the Iranian government, where competing factions are grappling with many of the same challenges faced by American occupying forces as they struggled to stabilize Iraq after the United States invasion.

Instead of competing to achieve the same objective, we ought to just accept our implicit alliance.


Posted by at November 18, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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