Friday, March 13, 2015

Iran's influence in Iraq grows as Tikrit fight ousts militants

Iraqi security forces and Iranian-trained militias have been fighting ISIS in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit for control of the city, and the militias seem to be winning the battle. However, this brings other issues to the forefront. The Iraqi government, led by Haider al-Abadi, is unwilling to accept military aid from Sunni tribes in the conflict with the Islamic State, and they turn to the aid of Ayatollah Khamenei to fight the militants. There is a feeling that Iraq is "what they could not do in the 1980s they have done now with American help, which is enslave Iraq." One Iraqi Sunni leader said that "the Persians have become a cancer to Iraq." As the conflict goes on, propaganda posters dedicated to Iranian generals and Ayatollah Khamenei are being put up around Baghdad as it enters more into Iran's sphere of influence. Sunnis feel that the separation between them and the Shiites has not changed much, and there is no mutual trust.

This article in the Sacramento Bee does have a small bias against the Iranian support of Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State. Interviews shown in the article all speak of the problem from the Sunni perspective, not showing any reasoning that Iranians or Shiite Iraqis give for teaming up against ISIS. Iran is depicted by the article as trying to take over Iraq influentially. However, the article does do a good job of depicting the stressful conflict still going on in Iraq with militants that have taken over whole cities.

Some questions that could be raised about the conflict are:
1.What is the reason for Iranian assistance in Tikrit?
2. Are the Sunnis actually fully barred from assisting in the conflict?
3. Does Iran seek influence in Iraq?

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