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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.