While Iranian-backed parties are moving to form a government in Baghdad that could force the US to exit the country, they face growing public anger over governance failures that threaten the viability of the system.
Iran’s willingness to resort to tactical SRBM launches against regional targets warrants a larger discussion about the country’s missile power and escalation dynamics. It also requires an accurate assessment of what occurred on the ground against Iranian Kurds in Iraq and in the media space on this issue since September 8.
AL Qaeda’s operatives are fighting in more countries around the world today than was the case on 9/11. And its leaders still want to target the United States and its interest and allies. The war they started is far from over.
Iran has its tentacles all over Iraq, and the United States has no one to blame but itself. It is a bipartisan failure dating back to the March 2003 invasion. The seeds of this failure can be seen in the interrogation transcripts of Qayis Khazali, the leader of the Mahdi Army’s Special Groups and Asaib Ahl al Haq.
A newly released interrogation report shows that Qayis al-Khazali identified Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani as the two individuals Iran trusted “the most with attempting to implement the Iranian agenda in Iraq.” The pair went from being marginal players shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003 to leading the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, one of most powerful and influential military organizations in Iraq.
The public seldom hears from the reclusive Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who last released a speech nearly a year ago. But in his latest message, Baghdadi downplays the loss of his territorial caliphate while claiming the US has entered a new stage of “weakness.”
The majority of coalition strikes over the past three months have been concentrated in Abu Kamal, a critical border crossing on the southern border between Iraq and Syria.
The Secretary-General of Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, said he is a “soldier” of Abdel Malek al Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement.