Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bombings in Iraq emphasise need for Iran strategy

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is scheduled to visit Iran on April 30 after the Iraqi parliamentary election, the Iraqi envoy to Tehran said April 22, Fars News Agency reported...During the visit Zebari will continue negotiations on issues related to the Shatt al-Arab dispute, a territorial dispute leading to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s...Iraqi terrorists attacked Muslim Shiite targets elsewhere in Iraq April 22 killing over 30 people in Baghdad, Samawah, and Iskandariyah...Clashes also occurred between Iraqi troops advancing on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) positions in Fallujah and Ramadi...Both towns have been under implicit control of the jihadi group since early February...Talks between Baghdad and Tehran will no doubt lead with the Shatt al-Arab dispute but Iraq’s deteriorating security situation is a priority...Iran has deep ties with the Shiite-majority government in Iraq with an interest in propping the legitimacy of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki...The Sunni groups are escalating violence to prevent the Shiite-led government from maintaining national security as elections approach, scheduled for April 30...Sunni jihadist groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) and ISIS, control an arc from Basra to coastal Syria and appear entrenched...This exact crescent of influence was Iran’s grand strategy until events forced it to retreat...Nuclear talks aside, a driving motivation for Iran’s negotiations with the US is to place Iran in a position of greater regional authority enabling it to move against Sunni militant groups with implicit American blessing, and potentially even covert assistance...Using Iran to tackle Sunni jihadists both removes the burden from Washington and nurses a nascent balance of power in the region...Both are priority American goals, predicting continued cooperation between Washington and Tehran.

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