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The Iraqis sided with Iran over Bahrain. The pro-American Bahraini Royal Family crushed an uprising against it, which was egged on by Iran and Hezbollah (though most of the Bahraini opposition opposes Iran). Iranian officials even spoke of militarily intervening. The Iraqis condemned the Bahraini government and even called on its leaders to resign.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are in a state of jubilation over the U.S. withdrawal. Middle East expert Amer Taheri points out that the slogan of the Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Quds Force, its most elite branch, is “On our way to Jerusalem, via Baghdad.” The Iranian regime views the capitulation of Iraq as a step towards its prophetic destiny of destroying Israel.
Hezbollah agrees. A senior official with the terrorist group said on Middle Eastern television that after U.S. forces are gone from Iraq, a “Shiite crescent” will form, uniting 100 million Muslims against Israel. He conceded that Israel will use nuclear weapons and that hundreds of thousands of “martyrs” will die, but it will be worth it because Israel will no longer exist once the bloody war is finished. The Hezbollah official emphasized that the Assad regime in Syria must be saved in order for this to happen.
The Iranians are planning a proxy war to force out any remaining American contractors and any U.S. trainers that may return. Moqtada al-Sadr, the extremist cleric backed by Iran, promised to target any American soldier in Iraq in 2012. He has revised his promise. He will target any American contractor as well, viewing them as an extension of the U.S. military. His loyalists are setting up anti-American billboards near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. One shows al-Sadr stomping on an American flag with the words, “No, no America; No, no to falsehood.”
According to an Iranian dissident, the regime has chosen Ayatollah Hashem Shahroudi to become the “Guardian of the Jurists” for Iraq after U.S. forces leave. This means that Shahroudi would essentially be Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s counterpart in Iraq. It has already been reported that Shahroudi is moving to Najaf. The regime hopes that Shahroudi will compete with Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, an opponent of Iran, for the loyalty of the Iraqi Shiites.
The U.S. is stuck with two bad options. It can send the requested trainers to Iraq, but Iran and al-Sadr will do everything possible to kill them. It can reject Iraq’s request, but then Iraq will become part of the Iranian-Syrian bloc and the remaining American contractors will be targeted anyway. Either way, expect Iraq to be back in the news in 2012.
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