Summaries of 2 articles by Daily Alert on Iran in Iraq, vs the US
- Iran Trying to Divert Focus from Anti-Iranian Demonstrations in Iraq – Yaakov Lappin
“The Shi’ite militias and Iran are trying to divert the focus from the anti-Iranian sentiment of the demonstrations [in Iraq] that have occurred over the past two months and turn the rage in the direction of the United States,” said Col. (res.) Udi Evental, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Evental was formerly head of the Strategic Planning Unit of the Political-Military and Policy Bureau of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
However, Iran’s chances of succeeding are low since the demonstrations have been occurring for two months, and some of the 400 Iraqis killed while protesting were shot by militias under the command of the Iranian Quds Force.
“Strategically, the Iranians aren’t deterred” by the airstrikes on Kataib Hezbollah. “Iran will tell itself, ‘If they hit our proxies but not us, we can continue to operate by proxy,'” said Evental. He said America needs to decide whether the next time it comes under militia attack, it will hit Iranian targets directly instead of making do with striking Iran’s proxies. (JNS)
- Experts View U.S.-Iran Tensions – Amir Tibon
The attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was an Iranian initiative and not a local protest, Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Ha’aretz. “This is telegraphed from Iran, straight out of the regime’s playbook. The regime wants to spook America. They hope to either get Trump to agree to negotiations, or, even better, to get America to withdraw forces and send a message of retreat. They would be happy to solidify the impression that America is getting out of the Middle East, whether it’s in Syria or Iraq. They are willing to take risks to make that happen.”
Ben Taleblu says Sunday’s U.S. airstrikes were “very important” because they sent the opposite message: that the United States would not ignore Iran’s actions.
Michael Doran, a former Middle East director at the U.S. National Security Council and currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said it would be a “grave mistake” if the U.S. agreed to negotiations with Iran. “The protests that swept Iran, Iraq and Lebanon in November have changed the balance of power. Iran is experiencing unprecedented difficulty at home and abroad. If Trump were to sit with Iran now, he would look weak in the region, demoralize allies and give breathing room to Tehran.” (Ha’aretz)