Iraq’s Refusal to Block Iran’s Resupply of Syrian Regime Reflects Declining U.S. Influence
Iraq’s government is resisting a request by the U.S. government to block Iranian planes from traversing Iraqi air space to resupply Syria’s repressive ruling regime, according to The Washington Post.
Despite the certainty of U.S. officials that Iranian planes are transporting arms and other military equipment to Syria in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting the export of Iranian weapons, Iraq’s government prefers to believe assurances from Iran that the planes contain only humanitarian aid.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Vice President Joseph Biden, who has played a lead role in implementing the Obama Administration’s complacent Iraq policy, called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on August 17 in a vain effort to press Baghdad to take action. The flights had resumed in July after being halted in March, apparently under pressure from Washington and Arab countries opposed to Syria’s Assad regime.
The same article reported that Iraqi Shiite militants from Iranian-backed militia groups have crossed the border to help the Syrian regime repress its own people. U.S. officials charge that in addition to arms, Iran has dispatched Islamic Revolutionary Guards from the elite Quds Force to train paramilitary thugs that the Assad regime has increasingly used to attack the opposition. Iran has also provided the regime with training and technology to intercept communications and monitor the Internet.