US Considers Talks With Iran About Crisis In Iraq

US Considering Talks With Iran Over Iraq Situation
BBC News is reporting that the United States is considering holding talks with Iran on how to counter militants in Iraq. The talks could come as soon as this week during scheduled discussions in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst who teaches contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center, says in the short run, Iran has much to gain from the disintegration of Iraq, but has much to lose in the long-term.

He notes that currently Iraq is a multibillion dollar export market for Iranian non-oil products, which could wreak havoc on the Iranian economy if Iraq falters.

“The longer the ISIS crisis continues, the more difficult it will be for  [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani to create a diplomatic rapprochement with the United States, as this crisis could strengthen the hand of Iran’s conservatives, who are against such a scenario. The same applies to Rouhani’s aspirations to improve relations with the Saudis,” he writes.

Additionally, as long as ISIS remains a force, he argues, the “likelier the possibility that ISIS will target Iranian positions and towns along the Iraq border, creating new and unwelcome security challenges for Iran.”
Secretary of State John Kerry opened the door to drone strikes saying they may not be “the whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important.”

Key cities including Mosul and Tikrit that were captured last week by ISIS forces have been retaken by Sunni militants.

US Policy In The Middle East Shows Washington’s Lack Of Post-9/11 Strategy
The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria underscores the failure of America’s political class to devise an effective and sustainable strategy for the country after 9/11 argue Flynt and Hillar Mann Leverett, professors at Penn State and American University respectively.

The professors contend the inability to craft a workable strategy “cuts across Democratic and Republican administrations, with the most self-damaging aspects of each administration’s policies roundly endorsed by the opposing party in Congress.”

 

Tony Blair Defends His Record In The Middle East
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a defense of his role in the Middle East, including the decision to invade Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein and that the events of 2003 have led to the crisis today.

“The reality is that the whole of the Middle East and beyond is going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition. We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven’t. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it,” Blair writes.

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