Don’t Expect Iran and the US to Solve the Iraq Crisis Together

Don’t Expect Iran and the US to Solve the Iraq Crisis Together
November 2017
Abbas Milani
The New Republic

When it comes to the mess in Iraq, there is plenty of blame to go around in Tehran, Washington, and most of all Baghdad—blame for strategic blunders and tactical bullying. In all three capitals, the chickens of past follies have come home to roost, giving rise to a dangerous reality on the ground, a virtual Balkanized Iraq, a politicized blame-game, and drastically different narratives about what is happening and how to find a way out of the morass. A murderous rag-tag army of Salafists from around the world, on an apparent rampage against any Muslim who is not a Salafi Sunni, have succeeded in laying bare the fissures in the façade of security in Iraq and Syria. They have also begun to expose the potential long-term devastating consequences of the Obama administration’s early inaction in the face of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad brutalities—when he used chemical weapons and heavy artillery against peaceful demonstrators—of Iran’s intervention in Syria, and of Sunni states’ support for radical Salafism as an antidote to Shiite power in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq.