Iraqi Unrest Flares Up Again

By Seth J. Frantzman:

Syria is bad news for America, Iraq is worse.

The end result, if the protests fail, will be an Iraq even more hostile to the U.S. and potentially seeking to evict U.S. forces, something Iraqi political parties have been pushing for more than a year. Although the U.S. has allies in Iraq, in the autonomous Kurdistan region, the erratic policy in Syria has left Washington exposed in Iraq. It would be a disaster for the U.S. role in the Middle East to both withdraw from Syria and be forced out of Iraq. For Tehran this would be a major win, one that weakens the “maximum pressure” campaign the Trump administration has pushed. It would make a desire for a new Iran deal that is in America’s favor even less likely and greatly increase threats to Israel by opening up Iran’s ability to transfer weapons across Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah. Iraqis are comparing the recent massacre of the protesters to one of Saddam Hussein’s crimes, illustrating just how serious a turning point in Iraq’s history this could be.

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