DEFENSE Shiite government in power. Thirdly, they want

DEFENSELANGUAGE INSTITUTE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CENTER (UPF)     IranianPolitical and Military Interests in Post 9/11 Iraq    BYA1C, STOUT,TANNER   PF00417CJanuary 22,2018     IranianPolitical and Military Interests in Post 9/11 Iraq DefenseLanguage Institute Foreign Language Center (UPF)            The Middle Easthas been a controversial topic of discussion for decades. The struggle forpower and religious dominance has caused disagreements, wars, and hostilitythroughout the countries residing in that region. The Iranian Revolution in1979 caused a great deal of the issues in the Middle East today. These issueshave continued into 2000’s and are still affecting trade and relations in theregion. The Middle East is known as a hotbed for terrorist activity. Thisregion has been an area in which terrorist groups formed and terroristoperations have been run, as well as a location with high sponsorship of terrorism.This is one of the main reasons for the United States involvement in the MiddleEast.

On September 11, 2001 a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda wreaked havoc onthe US when it hijacked four separate planes and destroyed the World TradeCenter and part of the Pentagon. Immediately following the events of 9/11, theUnited States declared war on terrorism, which increased US military presence inthe Middle East. This led to a main increase in US troops in Iraq, in an attemptto destroy Al-Qaeda. This led to an 8 year long war in the country.

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(             Post 9/11 Iraq wasa place of war. In 2003, a United States led coalition invaded Iraq with thehopes of overthrowing the leader Saddam Hussein. After the fall of the Husseingovernment, the country was open to influence. This resulted in increased interestfrom Iran in the country. Iran saw this as an opportunity to increase theirhold in the Middle East.

Firstly, Iran wanted the US out of Iraq so that theycould start their plans to influence the country. Secondly, they wanted to keepthe Shiite government in power. Thirdly, they want to use Iraq as a tool toexpand their reach in the region.             After the overthrowof the Hussein government, largely due the US, new government was in power.

Themajority of the country ran this government. The Shiite Islamic majority ofIraq was in power and ultimately this boded well for Iran. In order to takeadvantage of the newfound Iraqi government, Iran needed the United States outof the country. Iran needed them out of the country so that the borders wouldbe unprotected.

This would allow Iran to send its goods through the border andstart selling its products in the country, effectively increasing itsinfluence. This also opened up the opportunity to reach other areas of theMiddle East. They used their shared border with Iraq to get to Syria. Theyfunded militias fighting against Iraq and sent Shiite militia to fight withIraq on the Syrian border. This shows that Iran has two different ideas on whatit wants to do with Iraq long term.

It could either create a failed state byfighting against the government or help to maintain a Shiite government and useIraq as a resourceful ally. It is unclear though, as to which side they willwork harder towards achieving. Either of these options assures that Iraq willnever pose a military threat to Iran again.

This is the focus of Iran in termsof their overall involvement in Iraq.            Keeping the Shiitegovernment in power is of great importance to Iran because it gives them anuncommon ally as far as religion is concerned. As the majority of the countriesin the Middle East are Sunni, this poses an issue for Iran who is majorityShia. Prior to the events of 9/11 a minority Sunni government led Iraq. Thiscaused problem between the two countries including a terrible war in the 1980’s.Ever since this war, Iran has increased its military force to insure that itnot be susceptible to an attack.

            The third focus ofIran in Iraq is supporting Iraqi federalism. There are two sides to the ideabehind this support. The first thing behind this support is to divide Iraq intothree regions.

Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish regions. Splitting up Iraq has onemajor benefit for Iran. It weakens the government and increases the power thatIran has over Iraq. The second side is to put a Shiite Islamic State in placein southern Iraq.

Having a Shiite state in the south of Iraq would help Iran tostrengthen relations and therefore give them high influence over the country asa whole. Iran does not want Iraq to become a democratic state that can be usedby the United States. This would look bad on Iran and force them to changetheir own beliefs into one that differs that of Iraq. This would be the onlyway to attempt to prove that the Islamist State must remain distant fromWestern influence.            Iran has shownplenty of interest in the country of Iraq and how much influence that intend tohave in the future of the nation’s government. Along with influencing the verygovernment structure itself, Iran also plans to have a role in the religion.

Asof right now there are two religious leaders in Iraq. Ali al-Sistani who doesnot believe that the government in Iran is one that would be beneficial toIraq. He believes that Islamic Law should be in place, but clerics should notrule the country as they do in Iran. The second is Moqtada al-Sadr who supportsmore religion in political practices. He also has ben know to have muchstronger ties to Iran and has agreed to fight alongside the Iranians if theUnited States was to attack. This provides Iran with a powerful religiousleader in Iraq who could potentially enact the religion in politics typegovernment that would benefit Iran.

One resembling their own.            Politically, Iranhas a lot of interest in Iraq. They also have shown interest from a militarystandpoint. Since 2014, Iran has been supplying Iraq with military aid in orderto help them fight ISIS. Iran has also placed certain high-ranking militaryofficials in Iraq. They have also placed a number of billboards showing theface of a high-ranking official. This shows the new influence that Iran hasover Iraq, especially in the capitol Baghdad.

One of the main groups in Iraqthat shows the Iranian Influence is the Saraya al-Khorasani. Ayatollah Khameneiformed the group in order to combat the Sunni Jihadists in Syria and Iraq. The leaderwas General Taghavi who was featured on the billboards in Iraq.

He inspired manyof the Iraqi Shiite Soldiers. The main purpose of an Iranian military presence inIraq is to fight terrorism. Both the US and Iran have taken a strong interestin Iraq and ending the terrorist threat in the country. This is great for Iraqand has proven very successful with nearly all of the ISIS held cities beingfreed.

With the benefits to Iraq, come disadvantages to Iran. Having the UnitedStates help with the terrorism problem in Iraq makes some problems for Iran.Under the new President, Donald J. Trump, Iran is facing more sanctions and apossible renegotiation of the nuclear treaty. This could potentially make itdifficult for Iran to continue its influence in the country.             The topic of theMiddle East only becomes increasingly controversial as the United States andIran both fight for more influence. Ever since the events of 9/11, Iraq hasbeen a place filled with violence and changing government. With the fall ofHussein, and Shiites taking control and the struggle with terrorism the countryhas been open to much influence of the past decade.

This has drawn interestfrom both the United States and Iran. Iran has gained most of the influenceconsidering their close proximity to Iraq. The majority Shia Muslim populationof Iran and Iraq also gives them a shared religious view. In many ways, Iranhas already solidified its overall influences in Iraq.

Using both political andmilitary, Iran has taken quite a hold on Iraq. It has taken advantage of the commonreligious views, with the fact that both of the governments are Shiite. It hasalso taken interest in getting the United States out of the country in order tofurther its reach in the Middle East.

Iran believes that there are two ways ofgaining better control and power in the region. Through dividing Iraq intothree weaker sections and by fully supporting a religious-political governmentsimilar to their own. This has caused some controversy among some in theregion. The starting of several military groups in the region has also helpedto defeat the terrorism causing problems and to strengthen the relationshipbetween the two countries.             Iran’sGoals in Iraq.

(n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, from Newsweek.

(2018). Iran and Iraq team up against extremism, which could frustrate U.S.goals. online Available at:http://www.newsweek.

com/iran-iraq-military-unite-terrorism-potential-problems-us-641118Accessed 22 Jan. 2018. Arango,T. (2018).

Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’.online Nytimes.

com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.

com/2017/07/15/world/middleeast/iran-iraq-iranian-power.htmlAccessed 22 Jan. 2018.



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