The unlearned lesson from Iraq: If America could not do it how Iran can?

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By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, June 17, 2014

The current situation in Iraq is a natural outcome of shortsighted readings by politicians and their revolving around a vicious circle of trivialities and insignificant issues.

Today and after the fall of Mosul and Takreet and with large swath of territory outside government control everything has a different reading and interpretation.

It is ironic and cynical to see some officials talking about a political process, adherence to the constitution and the creation of a national army.

Iraq has plunged itself into what looked like a ‘forbidden war’. Now all eyes are set outside the country. External forces add fuel to fire instead of extinguishing it.

What is in store for the country is difficult to tell but here are a few tentative predictions:

Internally, the most surprising event in the battle field, which has gone unnoticed so far is the execution of the commander of the Dhaib (Wolf) forces which was entrusted with defending Mosul. This incident will have far reaching repercussions in the coming two days.

Externally or internationally, Iran has the upper hand as it was the first country to arrive on the scene of military arena in Baghdad via public messages made by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani was profusely thanked by the Iraqi government.

Iran does not hide behind rhetoric in its Iraq policies. It translates them into action.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards are part of the Iraq scene. What was discreetly referred to or mentioned in the case of Syria, Iran today talks about it in the public in the case of Iraq, where it has a greater stake and far larger interests represented in the Shiite holy shrines of Najaf and Karbala and an allied government.

The U.S. also has its own interests in what is currently taking place in Iraq. It has a strategic framework, which determines its Iraq policy.

Thus, it is wrong to assume that Iran is the only player in the Iraqi arena. It is also wrong to assume that it can go the extra mile on its own, no matter how close its alliance with the government in Baghdad is.

But above all, we need to remember that Iranian armed forces or weapons are no match to U.S. military might. If U.S. armed forces and weapons failed to bring stability to Iraq, I think it is naïve to expect Iran to be able to do it.

Iraq should embark on a political process of reconciliation, but a process that needs concessions, hard concessions from all sides, otherwise we all are heading towards the abyss as the battle for the control of Baghdad looms.