As I noted here, President Obama reportedly intends to open direct talks with Iran on how to counter the Islamist blitzkrieg by Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Yet, as Omri Ceren of The Israel Project reminds us, a mere six weeks ago, the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism concluded that Iran is actively working to undermine Iraqi stability through terror groups. Significantly, for present purposes, the report assessed that Iran was facilitating both Shiite and Sunni terror activities.
With respect to Sunni terrorism, the State Department said this:
Iran allowed al Qaeda (AQ) facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and also to Syria. Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network.
In addition, of course, Iran has “trained, funded, and provided guidance to Iraqi Shia militant groups” both inside and outside of Iraq. The training has included instruction in “the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry.”
The terrorist activities of the Iran-supported Shia militants have undermined stability in Iraq and undermined support for the government among Sunnis. But, again, Iran is destabilizing Iraq from both ends by also facilitating Sunni terrorism.
If anything, Obama should be punishing the Iranians by continuing, and indeed escalating, a sanctions regime. Instead, he seems determined to cozy up to the mullahs. In all likelihood, this means granting them additional concessions when it comes to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Why else would Iran help the U.S?
The mullahs have always understood that an unstable Iraq not only can’t threaten or complete with Iran, but may well be forced to become a virtual client, as might now happen. But the mullahs could only have dreamed that an unstable Iraq would cause an American president to come before them as a supplicant.
Yet this too may now be about to happen.