Iran: Filling the Void in Iraq

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the, the founder of and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at

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Unfortunately for Iran, the U.S. withdrawal of combat forces doesn’t mean a significant change in the status quo. President Bush was actually the one to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government in 2008 mandating the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq’s cities by July 2009 and a total withdrawal by December 31, 2011. The success of the surge has allowed the withdrawal to be safely completed ahead of schedule.

Kenneth Pollack, Director of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy writes that the remaining 50,000 soldiers are simply being renamed to “advisory and assistance brigades” but will still carry out counter-terrorism operations in support of the Iraqi forces when necessary. They will be train and advise the Iraqi security forces and play a secondary role just as they had before the withdrawal.

“It’s more or less what they have been doing since the ‘clear and hold’ operations to take back the country from militias and insurgents ended in 2008,” Pollack wrote.

A senior counterintelligence officer that served two tours in Iraq told FrontPage that “Overall, I believe that Iraq is capable of standing on their own.” General Odierno agrees with him, saying that “They have been doing so well for so long now that we really believe they are beyond that point [of completely collapsing].”

“I think it will be difficult for Iran and Syria to capitalize on our (partial) withdrawal. We won’t withdraw to the point where we cannot take on any problem that the government of Iraq can’t handle,” the source said. He also added that many Iraqis that go to Iran for training to carry out attacks just take Iran’s money and then find other jobs when they return home.

Matthew Degn, a former Senior Policy Advisor to Iraq’s Interior Ministry and Director of the Intelligence Studies Program at American Military University, is less optimistic.

“I imagine the US military pullout will have a great affect on Iranian and Syrian behavior. It will likely be much easier for them to aid those Intelligence agents bent on influencing the Iraqi government, as well as other covert interests already in place within Iraq,” he told FrontPage.

“With the motley collection of private agendas, competing affiliations, and personal vendettas existing among the Iraqi ruling elite handicapping the government from working together, the current regime will likely be quite fertile for cross border/outside interferences.”

The U.S. withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq may not significantly affect the military situation in Iraq, but the political situation is still tenuous. Iran is determined to destabilize Iraq and if not prevent its opponents from coming to power, at least neuter their ability to stand up to the regime. As the U.S. departs Iraq, Iran will try to fill the void.

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  • jacob

    Just imagine the Allies fighting Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan with the same stupid
    "Rules of Engagement" devised by well intentioned sophists that well never shot at even
    with snowballs and now enforced all over but with the difference that the other side pays
    absolutely no attention to….

    Would you doubt we wold still be fighting Hitler and Hirohito ???

    Same thing happened in FALLUJAH, where AL SADR and the AL QUAIDA leader (later
    killed by aircraft bombing) were staying.
    Instead of leveling the town with everybody inside, Rules of Engagement dictated
    otherwise, allowing both of them to leave and keep on killing American soldiers…

    Same as there is no half full or empty cups not half pregnant women, our political geniuses swhould learn nonce and for all, that if you are not going to fight a war it has to be to the ultimate consequences but if not, then better stay the hell home but, if you intend to fight it following these stupid rules, better send your own blood relatives to fight it.
    Sure as hell not my children nor my neighbor' s either

  • Steve Chavez

    Remember the "School of the Americas?" The Communist Left loved to attack any graduate of this school if they were involved in any incident in Central America. NOW THAT OUR "COMBAT" SOLDIERS HAVE LEFT IRAQ, THE "AMERICAN/IRAQ SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS" WILL BE BLAMED IF ANY IRAQI POLICE OR SOLDIER IS INVOLVED IN ANY TYPE OF INCIDENT SEEN BY THE COMMUNIST LEFT AS AN "ATROCITY!"

    The Communist Party USA declared official "Solidarity with the Iraq Communist Party" and can be found if you google that. You must read that declaration. Why is that important? Because the Iraq Communist Party is involved in the insurgency, directly and indirectly! They both want a U.S. DEFEAT AND WILL DO ANYTHING TO ACHIEVE THAT! Isn't that "aiding and abetting?" The CPUSA is aiding in the killing of our soldiers that they "support?"

    The slogan "You won the battle but you didn't win the peace" was ready before we even attacked Iraq. SO, THEY AND THE IRAQ COMMUNIST PARTY ARE READY TO BRING OUT THEIR EVIL FORCES TO CAUSE AS MUCH MAYHEM AS POSSIBLE TO THEN BLAME ON THE UNITED STATES!


  • Steve Chavez

    JOHN KERRY WILL BE THE FIRST TO SAY "WE TRAINED A BUNCH OF MURDERERS AND KILLERS!" So far, he has spent his whole life and whole Senate career SPITTING on our troops who put their lives on the line in order to protest his right TO SPIT ON THEM!!!

    JOHN MURTHA, now in HELL, would be there too but there will be others that he brainwashed to carry on his legacy!


  • Wesley69

    The Appeaser-in-Chief is giving a speech next week on Iraq. I wonder if he will claim credit for success there or point to the violence and the inability of the Iraqis to form a coalition government labeling the entire mission as foolhardy and misguided as he and other Democrats believed. Any failures, he will attribute to Bush, saying Bush should have focused on the "good" war in Afghanistan. Then again Marine General James Conway told reporters on Tuesday. "In some ways, we think right now it's probably giving our enemy sustenance…" This is about our Commander-in-Chief helping the Tailban????? Looks like another general will be looking for a job.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Our leaving Iraq and withdrawing power from such a broken
    land with evil factions slitheing for domination can only mean
    continuing war. Remember all of the mass murders carried
    out by Muslim killers of Muslims, the burning of Mosques
    and exploding bombs destroying the innocent populous.
    Our MSM screaming about the false reports of our Military
    personnel desecrating the Koran while Muslims were burning
    their holy places full of the Koran in the hands of its people.
    Farcial and insane but it goes on like a macabre nightmare.
    When America leaves it will be again one of the most awful
    places on Earth second only to Darfur. Iran is on a path to
    destruction and Israel is in their way, what choice can they
    have but to act in self preservation. America must get its house
    in order and expel the leftists in government along with
    Islamists or our future will be as bleak as Iraq……………William