|Meanwhile, on a wider war front...|
That's the stark warning by Middle East analysts Michael Doran and Max Boot, who robustly argue against the United States being tempted to join Iran against the current insurgency in northern Iraq (for the background see, for example, this CNN report):
" ....The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defending democracy and safeguarding stability, shares a common interest with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a revolutionary theocracy that is the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is as fanciful as the notion that Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe. ....
But even if we were to assume that Iran is truly ISIS’s implacable enemy, that doesn’t mean it would be a good idea for the United States to cooperate with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — an organization that has been responsible for attacks against U.S. targets stretching back more than 30 years. We have seen in Syria how Iranian-backed forces go about putting down a Sunni-led insurgency. More than 150,000 people have already been killed in the Syrian civil war and millions more uprooted from their homes....
Iranian-backed groups used equally brutal methods in Iraq during the height of the fighting after al-Qaeda’s bombing of the Samarra mosque in 2006. Shiite extremists became notorious for kidnapping and torturing Sunnis. Those same groups stand on the front lines today of Shiite resistance to ISIS.
The United States would be making a historic error if it were to assist such an Iranian-orchestrated ethnic-cleansing campaign with air power or even with diplomatic support. Not only would this be morally reprehensible, it would be strategically stupid because it would convince the region’s Sunni Muslims that the United States is siding against them with Iran and its regional allies. This could lead Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to support extremists such as ISIS, further feeding the growing sectarian conflict across the region.
Instead, the United States should develop a coalition of our traditional allies dedicated to building up an alternative to al-Qaeda in the vast battlefield now stretching from Baghdad to Damascus. Such a policy will require training and equipping non-jihadist fighters of the Free Syrian Army while working to pull the Iraqi government out of Iran’s orbit. The latter goal will probably require a strenuous effort to scuttle Maliki’s bid for a third term in favor of a more inclusive leader. The United States should also work covertly, as it did during the 2007-2008 surge, to destroy Iranian networks in Iraq...."Read the entire article here