Friday, September 7, 2007

Iran Plan for Iraq

Counterterrorism Blog:

Walid Phares is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C., and director of the Future Terrorism Project.

Dr. Phares has sketched a very grim outline of Iran's plan for Iraq, should the United States "catastrophically" withdraw from Iraq before that nation's government stabilizes and can defend itself. Grim is a euphemistic description of the future Phares believes Iran has in store:

1) The pro-Iranian militias (SCIRI, Badr Brigade, Muqtada al Sadr, act.) would seize the control of two thirds of Iraq between Baghdad and Basra. The militias would create "security enclaves," perform several terror acts and assassinations leading to a crumbling of the central Government, and a pro-Khomeinist regime established.

2) Most moderate Shiite politicians and liberal elements in those areas would be eliminated, as did Khomeini with his partners in the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Within less than a year, most Shia partners of the Pro-Iranian forces would be eliminated.

3) And as it was practiced in Lebanon in 1990, the pro-Iranian future regime of Iraq will call in Iranian "brotherly" forces to assist in security and in the defense of the borders. The Pasdaran and the Iranian army will deploy in the southern Oil fields, along the borders with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and would connect with the Syrian forces across the borders. The latter will be asked to help in the Anbar province.

4) The Sunni areas will be left to be dealt with later, along with Syrian interventions.

5) The Kurdish areas will be submitted to isolation, pressure and internal divisions, in a concerted effort with Syria and the Islamic Government of Turkey.

In this post, I noted the strategic objectives remaining for the U.S. led coalition:

1) Complete the neutralization of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

2) Flip Moqtada al-Sadr and bring his militias into the coalition fold (al-Sistani's Badr Brigades are not fighting the coalition).

3) Eliminate or neutralize the Iranian backed JAM forces.

A fourth strategic objective should be discussed--crippling Iran's ability to supply finance and logistics support to its proxy forces in Iraq. Sooner or later, the U.S. will have to draw down and leave a largely special forces and civil affairs COIN presence. When that happens, we have to make sure that Iran does not step in and attempt to fill the void. We can not let Iran gain another ounce of influence, and we can not let them solidify anything gained to date.

Dr. Phares probably has a stronger basis for wariness of al-Sistani's Badr militia than I do. I frankly don't see al-Sistani as an Iranian puppet mullah, as he threw his support in with the new government fairly early on. It was al-Sadr who seemed to be the chief ally of Iran in Iraq, which is why flipping him becomes so important.

Very interesting, and clearly critical, times lie ahed.

Read Dr. Phares full article.