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The West shouldn’t be too soft on Iran during ISIS crisis talks

17 June 2014

3:18 PM

17 June 2014

3:18 PM

The choice in Iraq appears to be between the devil and the deep blue sea. On the one hand, ISIS need beating back. On the other, the West doesn’t want to further strengthen Iran’s grip over the Iraqi government.

For the time being, though, the West appears to have decided to work with Iran. The Americans have already held talks with them about what to do in Iraq and William Hague announced this morning that the British Embassy in Tehran will re-open.


But there is no guarantee that working with Iran will stop the emergence of a terrorist friendly, ungoverned space in western Iraq. As Steven Simon, a former Obama National Security Council official, writes in The New York Times:

‘it’s unlikely that Mr. Maliki will have the stomach to retake the Sunni-majority areas of western Iraq anytime soon. The rump Iraq, like the Assad regime in Syria, will be ever more in thrall to Iran’

It would be unwise to offer the Iranians too many concessions for their work in stopping ISIS’s advance. It is in their interests to prop up the Maliki government. So, there is no need to go soft on their nuclear programme in exchange for them doing so. ​

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Show comments
  • arnoldo87

    So Obama’s foreign policy has come to this. The combination of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (a decision that most people in this country supported), coupled with the decision not to help the original Syrian rebels in 2011 (one that most people in this country supported), is such a monumental error that he has ended up having to run to IRAN for help in tidying up the resultant mess.

    Makes George W. look like a genius.

  • saffrin

    How proud they must be, those guys in the west that thought supply arms to the Syrian Islamists was a good idea.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Looking forward to the rival Sunni/Shia caliphates.

  • salieri

    I never thought, until now, that I’d miss Daniel Korski’s profound insight and masterly exposition of the issues…

    • Hexhamgeezer

      I believe he’s sharing a cupboard at No.10.

  • Marquess of Salisbury

    These problems will not be solved by William Vague that’s for sure.

  • Grey Wolf

    The wicked ‘world-improvers’ have ruined the whole mid-east situation because of their bad judgment, bad policies and destructive wars. Now there are just bad options ahead. Blair has a lot to answer for. Patriotic people should be vigilant about Labour and its liberal interventionist policies.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The Heir-to-Blair is just as culpable, given Libya and Syria and now the Iraq Fiasco Part Duh.

      • saffrin

        Ukraine, Mali and that’s the SAS in Iraq right now putting balls back into the Iraqi army.
        And yeah right, that smart bomb the TV tell us was fired from an Iraqi fighter,… ha, ha, ha..

  • bugshead

    You clearly have a better idea ? Let’s just rely upon that ridiculous medieval society in Saudi ? Just eh, continue to support the balance of power in favour of the Sunni’s and turn a blind eye to which pockets they are throwing their petrodollars into ? Yes of course, and let’s keep all our fingers crossed that this will ‘continue’ to maintain the balance and peace so that the US can withdraw its forces from the region. Give me a break. Of course we have to strike a deal with the Iranians and bring them into the fold, as they have offered to us previously.

    • Grey Wolf

      The real Sunni-Wahabi extremist snake-pit is Saudi Arabia – its financing religious fanaticism and political instability but the Anglo-American political class is very friendly with the Saudis. Wonder why?

    • HookesLaw

      Well yes. Runing the world is all about striking deals unless you are a kipper where it entails sticking your head in the sand with your backside stuck in the air.

      Meantime the stories today are clearly driven by the need to give the nutjobs something to howl about.

      • Makroon

        British foreign policy in the middle-east, is an amalgam of Foreign Office “19th century great game players” and sensible British pragmatism, overlain by second-hand lunacy from the US neurotic “foreign / security policy wonkocracy”, which is itself overlain by the paranoid ultra Israel lobbies.
        No wonder it is confusing.