Include Recognizing Regional Role for Iraq
From Al-Monitor: “Kadhimi benefits from strong ties with all of Iraq's constituencies and power centers, as well as the goodwill of Washington, Tehran, the Gulf and all key regional capitals."
Michael Rubin | RealClearDefense
To simply repeat in Iraq the precipitous withdrawals Trump ordered in Syria and Afghanistan and President Obama oversaw in Iraq will empower Iran and undercut the most competent leadership team postwar Iraq has had.
United Nations experts confirmed that a Russian private military contractor has recruited between 800 and 1,200 mercenaries to fight alongside Libya’s eastern military strongman Khalifa Hifter, according to a report obtained by the Associated Press. The panel of experts monitoring sanctions against Libya said the Wagner Group, which is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has mainly recruited Syrian fighters. This was the first UN confirmation of claims that Hifter is supported by hundreds of Russian mercenaries in his offensive against the UN-backed government in Tripoli, which in turn is supported by Syrian fighters recruited by Turkey.
After 17 years, there is little love left between Washington and Baghdad. Upcoming talks may be the last opportunity to save their dysfunctional partnership.
Will Todman writes: Extremist groups would benefit from increased instability in Syria. They have already used Covid-19 to their rhetorical advantage to the detriment of the United States’ reputation in the region. Non-state actors in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, have filled gaps in state services to gain influence. […]Finally, the centralization of aid in Damascus would further degrade the principle of unimpeded humanitarian access and undermine U.S. leadership on the issue. This precedent could carry implications for humanitarian operations in other conflict areas. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Seth J. Frantzman writes: In the past, Iran has used Turkey to get around US sanctions and Iran has even sought to use Turkey as a transit for goods destined for the Syrian regime and Hezbollah. Much of that has changed during the Syrian civil war, but Iran’s overall goal in the region is to work with Turkey to divide up the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post
Danielle Pletka writes: Long story short, Lebanon’s slow-motion collapse promises repercussions few can bother contemplating when minds are focused on pandemic-related foreign policy. But the notion that the erstwhile Lebanese state is soon to become a hybrid Iranian-Chinese bot from which all with means flee, and to which all with malign aims flock, seems a catastrophe worth minding. If not, Lebanon promises to join the ranks of Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and others in becoming yet another nexus of global threat and local misery. – The Dispatch