The rise of Shia Muslims in Iraq has helped secure more influence for Iran in the rebuilding Middle Eastern nation. As the break from American influences continues in Iraq, their former enemies in Iran are making a play to get closer to the country, eventually make it a full blown ally, and have more direct access to their enemies in Israel.
This is the short- and long-term goal of nearly everything Iran has been doing for the past decade. They’ve expanded their influence in Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Getting a foothold in Iraq would accelerate their plans greatly as they attempt to fill voids the United States has left since the end of the Iraq war.
It was bound to happen. We cannot stay entrenched in the Middle East indefinitely and the hard press by both Iran and Russia to expand their influence in the region is impossible to stave off without our presence. Israel’s been living in relative security, but it’s been on borrowed time. Just as they knew the United States’ mission there was unsustainable, so too have they been preparing for this inevitability.
Meanwhile, Iran is hoping to get the footholds they desire at a faster pace than Israel can prepare for them. This may end up working; if Israel is forced to fight a multi-front war with Iran, they may not have the military might to sustain. The specter of the United States will always loom over the region, but it’s conceivable that a future President might not be quick enough to respond to Israel’s calls for help, or may choose to ignore them altogether.
This is one of the reasons the push towards antisemitism in the United States is so appalling. Normalized antisemitism isn’t really about harming Jews in America. It’s about recreating the rift that started with President Obama and that could grow once again with a future President who shares the growing hatred for Israel within the Democratic Party.
Iraq is a pawn in the Middle East. We rightly chose to stop playing with them, but one can argue our presence their ended up harming them to the point that Iran can make a stronger move now. All of this is bad for Israel. This situation must be monitored.
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