Phares to Arab media: Strategically, the U.S. lost to Iran in Iraq

By Dr. Walid Phares

In a series of interview on Arab media, Professor Walid Phares a Congressional advisor and the author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East said “in the big geopolitical picture in the region the United States lost to Iran’s regime as a result of its strategically abrupt withdrawal from Iraq.” Phares who was interviewed by an Iraq TV crew which accompanying Prime Minister al Maliki said “many in Washington and in other capitals wonders if the Iraqi Government can have the will to oppose Tehran’s influence over Iraq’s Foreign Policy. If Baghdad’s central Government would resist Iran’s regime, the US and the West will stand by its side, but if it allows the Iranian Khomeinists to use Iraq as a basis for regional expansion, then Iraq would have shifted its strategic choice.”

Phares was interviewed by a number of Arabic media including the BBC TV Arabic, Radio Monte Carlo Arabic, US funded Radio SAWA, BBC Radio in Arabic, France 24 Arabic as well as Saudi Arabic TV Channel One and Iraq TV. “The Obama Administration hopes to see the Maliki Government in Iraq insure American remaining presence in the country, but that is not a real strategic goal. To protect diplomatic and economic installations is an obligation under international law, not a major achievement. The real measurement of success of the post withdrawal Iraq is the capacity and the will of the Baghdad Government to maintain national security on the inside, and block Iranian attempts to use Iraqi territories or institutions to assist the Assad regime in Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

In his interview with Radio Monte Carlo Arabic, Phares said “the Obama Administration considers the ending of US presence in Iraq as a victory, but many in Congress and in the opposition feel Iran will be making inroads in Iraq and thus defeating US purposes.” He added that “Iran’s influence in Maliki’s Government is a fact not a speculation.” Speaking on BBC TV Arabic, Phares said “Iraq won’t be a Japan or a Germany after WWII in their affiliation with the Western alliance. We haven’t seen Japanese and West German chiefs of staff visiting Moscow to coordinate with the Soviet command. But we’ve seen the chief of staff of the Iraqi Army visiting Tehran and meeting with the Padaran commanders (Iranian Revolutionary Guards). It is clear that the dominant powers in Iraq aren’t strategic allies of the United States even though they will continue to request technical assistance from Washington. The Obama Administration may display Iraqi acceptance of cooperation as a sign of alliance, but we all know that Baghdad’s Government cannot and will not move outside the guidelines of the Iranian leadership regarding defense and regional questions.”

In his interview with France 24 Arabic TV Phares said “the Iraqi armed forces can and will crack down on crime and smuggling and they will try to maintain order against minor challenges to Government. But the jury is still out regarding their ability to maintain national security if there is an internal strife of a large nature. Time will tell on Iraqi capacity to maintaining order. That is not the issue. The real challenge is the ability of the Iraqi Government of Mr Maliki to oppose Iran’s influence. Surely in their statements Iraqi politicians will say they defend Iraqi policy, but the question is who will define that policy and would it be defined against the interests of the Iranian regime, hardly so.” Phares said “in the end one has to admit that, despite military victories on the ground over the past few years, strategically the US lost to Iran in Iraq. And more precisely the Obama Administration strategically allowed Iran’s regime to win the day in Iraq, for now.”

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Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is chairman of Radnor Inc., a political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Feltman founded the U.S. and European Conflict Indexes in 1988. The indexes have predicted the winner of every U.S. presidential election beginning in 1988, plus the outcome of several European elections. In May of 2010, the Conflict Index was used by university students in Egypt. The Index predicted the fall of the Mubarak government within the next year.
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