Iraqi Dilemma For Iran: Iran Keeps Winning

While the US is hesitant about the continuation of its presence in Iraq, Iran is the main winner in Iraq. US and Israel should weigh which process in Iraq will best serve their interests.

In light of emerging questions concerning the continuation of US' presence in Iraq (since 2003), the Reut Institute has examined the Iraqi dilemma for Iran.

Presently (8/07), it seems that Iran is the main winner in a prolonged US presence in Iraq:

  • Rise of the Iranian Hegemony - The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 created a vacuum in the Arab world, which has enabled the rise of the Iranian Hegemony.

  • Iran's strengthening in the global energy market - The war in Iraq led to a significant rise of the oil prize and has thus turned Iran into a rising power in the global energy market.

  • Shiite strengthening in Iraq - US presence in Iraq has strengthened the Shiite community, which is currently the most powerful group in the Iraqi government. Iran's status in Iraq and in the region is being strengthened by the establishment of the Shiite bloc's status in the Iraqi government (see The Shiite Crescent).

  • US' damaged image in Iraq is strengthening Iran - Incapacity to enforce stability in Iraq and ongoing insurgency against American forces are damaging the US' image in the Middle East. As a result, any American defeat or withdrawal is likely to be interpreted as an Iranian success.

  • Iraq has turned into a key communication channel between Iran and the International Community - The current situation in Iraq and the increasing Iranian influence have turned Iraq in to Iran's 'communication channel' with the International Community. Iran has turned from a rogue state to a central actor influencing Iraq's future, and has established an official communication channel with the US.

While US is weighing the continuation of its presence in Iraq against the possibility of withdrawal, it is necessary to examine which process will best serve American and the Israeli interests.

Sources:

USIP, 7/11/07

Ynet, 7/23/07 (in Hebrew)

New York Times, 8/1/07