News / Middle East

    Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

    Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PMi
    X
    August 18, 2014 11:42 PM
    Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

    Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq.  But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria.

    U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State militants have helped Iraqi troops recapture the country's biggest dam.  But driving those fighters back across the Syrian border will require a bigger push by the new government in Baghdad, says U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann.

    "The U.S. has made very clear that it views this problem, the problem of ISIS, as centrally a problem of the central government in Iraq and not as a problem that the U.S. can solve," he said.

    Meeting with Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he must bring Iraqi Sunni, Shia and Kurds together against the militants.

    "There is great hope connected with him that he will be the one who can unite the various regions and religions and can represent them all in his government," he said. "That is necessary because it is the only way to strip the terrorist group ISIS of the support of the many dissatisfied."

    Sunni leaders considering whether to support the new government say there must be changes to Shia-dominant security forces before taking on Sunni militants.

    Dulaimi Tribal Head Ali Hatem Suleiman says al-Abadi cannot begin by asking Sunni to fight the Islamic State.

    "The Islamic State is not a big problem for us or the main issue that we suffer from," he said. "He has to purge first the security and intelligence apparatus."

    And that involves Iran, which helped the previous government create that situation, and will continue to influence much of what happens in Iraq, says Steve Heydemann.

    "It doesn't much matter to them which Shia is the prime minister in Iraq.  Iran will continue to wield influence in Iraq,' he said. "And on questions of broader regional policy, including Iraq's rather quiet, but nonetheless consistent, support of the Assad regime will continue."

    Iran is not only backing Syria's government forces, it's using Syria to arm Hezbollah militants.

    American University professor Guy Ziv says greater cooperation between Washington and Tehran may change that.

    "There has been shipment after shipment -- many of them intercepted by Israel -- from Iran via Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon," he said. "And I think that one of the hopeful situations with the improved U.S./Iranian relationship is to perhaps break that axis."

    But having a common enemy in the Islamic State will not bridge fundamental differences between Washington and Tehran, says former U.S. Ambassador Adam Ereli.

    "If you look at any issue -- Hamas, Syria, Iraq, the nuclear file, human rights inside Iran -- there is a consistency of behavior and a consistency of policy that doesn't change," he said. "And it is a policy that is innately hostile to our interests and the interest of our allies."

    Haider al-Abadi will need both Iran and the United States to effectively fight the Islamic State and convince Iraqi Sunni and Kurds to back his new government in Baghdad.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 18, 2014 9:02 PM
    THE WISE MAN said it;.. The Shia Muslim tribes call to arms, and the Kurdish tribes call to arms, with the Yazidis, and other ethnic tribes, have united in their war against the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi Sunni Muslim army and the Iraqi Sunni Muslim tribes that voluntarily joined with him.....

    The combined tribal forces of Shia, Kurds, Yazidis, and others, is more than enough to defeat the (ISIL) forces of Sunni Muslim army deserters, and Sunni Muslim tribes that voluntarily joined the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi army, (the bulk of them being foreign) Sunni Muslim ultra-extremists from all over the world, armed and trained by the US and NATO in Jordan and Turkey, to wage war on the Syrian Shia Muslim government.... (Trust the US to play both sides against the other)..

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora