Lessons from Tikrit

By Ioannis-Sotirios Ioannou

Watching the war evolve in Iraq, between the military forces of the country and the Shiite militias on one hand and the jihadists of the Islamic State on the other, one inevitably realizes the domination of Iranian policy in Iraq. In social media, like Twitter, the ‘selfies’ photos of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani with soldiers are becoming massively viral. At the same time, the Iranian propaganda constructs heroes, such as the Ayyub Faleh al-Rubai who was interviewed by the AFP; a Shiite ‘super-soldier’ who fights ISIS. His page on Facebook has over 300,000 “likes”. The Popular Mobilization Units, backed by Tehran and the Lebanese Hezbollah are the cutting edge of the Iraqi offensive against Mosul. The scenario on the ground speaks for itself: the Iranian involvement in the fight against ISIS takes place at the same time as the negotiations between the West and Tehran regarding the latter’s nuclear program. The Americans and the West in general have realized that this is a reality that cannot be avoided. Similarly, they understand that this ‘unholy alliance’ could work as a step forward in the US-Iranian relations after a possible agreement between Washington and Tehran. They are wrong.

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