The Obama Middle East policy, fashioned to incentivize Iran and prevent its abandoning of the nuclear deal, allowed Tehran take nearly full control over Baghdad. Senior officials in Tehran are extremely concerned over the selection of various candidates of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. This marks the end of a “golden era,” during which President Barack Obama provided meaningless incentives to the mullahs.
In response, Iran has launched a smear campaign against numerous renowned American politicians, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Ambassador John Bolton
Tehran’s lobbies continue to support the failed appeasement policy vis-à-vis Iran, designated as the main state sponsor of terrorism. Their efforts are targeting these figures, also known for their support of Iran’s legitimate and democratic opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), as the sole realistic solution to bring an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, support for terror and Islamic fundamentalism in the region.
This crusade by Iran’s lobbies aims to safeguard the influence obtained during the Obama tenure when the mullahs expanded their reach across the region, beginning with Iraq. The Donald Trump White House, however, must seize opportunity and backtrack all these mistakes by the previous administrations.
Obama ignored Iran’s meddling in Iraq
“Iran is taking over Iraq,” U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said back in October.
Iran’s involvement in the political, social/economic and military aspects of life in Iraq is no secret. This is the result of a failed strategy adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama in prematurely pulling American troops out of Iraq and leaving a vacuum for Iran to fill. And Tehran jumped to the occasion.
Such a major shift in American Middle East policy also paved the path for the rise of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). All these developments allowed Iran to increase its carefully blueprinted efforts, launched back in 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Tehran has influenced on Baghdad especially through supporting a slate of Shiite political parties and notorious militia forces known for their vicious measures against Iraq’s minorities, especially the Sunnis.
With Obama paying much less attention than the Iraq dossier deserved, Iran was allowed to pursue its own agenda through the Shiite entities it continues to pour money into today. Recent news also indicate Iran has used its influence to have the Popular Mobilization Force, a conglomerate of Iran-backed Shiite militia groups, registered by law as a legal and separate military corps. This completely resembles the Revolutionary Guards as a separate military force alongside the Iranian regular army.
Iran is also seeking foothold near the oil rich areas of Kirkuk and access to the Syria to provide arms to Bashar Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Oil, Iraq’s cherished jewel
Alongside the political and social measures Iran has been pursuing in Iraq, the mullahs have long yearned to gain complete control of Iraq’s flow of oil exports. Iran is known to take advantage of its geographic positioning to use Iraqi oil in different methods to help decrease the pressures imposed by international sanctions on its oil and gas industry.
Recent media reports also indicate pro-Iran Shiite militia groups in Iraq are smuggling a whopping 40,000 barrels a day to Iran, with Baghdad—and Washington—turning their backs. Iran is also seeking to take full control over Iraq’s oil industry to rival archenemy Saudi Arabia in the global oil market.
Iran in command
Considered highly loyal to Iran, former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki allowed Tehran-backed Shiite militias infiltrate completely into the ranks and files of the country’s military system. From army, police, Special Forces, counterterrorism units and the Military of Defense, Iran had figures posted in many–if not all–highly sensitive security positions. Under the banner of ridding Iraq of Daesh, forces loyal to Iran are unfortunately seeking to settle scores with the Sunni minority, massacring many and imposing harsh measures against their communities.
This is the result of Obama neglecting Iran’s escalating influence in Iraq simply to preserve his cherished nuclear deal intact.
Iran opposition in crosshairs
Enjoying its vast influence and a neglecting Obama administration Iran was also able to launch several deadly attacks against its organized opposition, the PMOI, also known as the MEK in the United States.
Through a widespread international campaign, the MEK was able to relocate its members to safe havens in Europe, especially supported by a long slate of influential political figures from both sides of the aisle, in Washington.
Tehran is the first to understand the major implications of a new administration in Washington. Iran is also the main profiting party of the failed Obama Middle East doctrine.
Tehran has gained political sway over Baghdad, made major leaps forward in changing the social fabric of large swathes in Iraq, profiting heavily from Iraq’s own oil industry and gained significant influence on the country’s military/security apparatus.
The nations of Iraq, Syria and Iran have suffered heavily due to Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, or lack thereof. It is high time for new U.S. administration and Congress to change course, remedy these mistakes and hold Iran accountable for its numerous crimes.
Change in Iran and evicting this regime from the Middle East is a correct policy called for not only by national American figures. Such an approaches also inspires new hope amongst Muslim countries of the region who have suffered from Tehran’s meddling.