How Obama's Abandonment of Iraq Undermined his Plans for Syria

"Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels."

Sometimes you have to finish one thing before you start another. That's a lesson that most of us learn as children and it's a lesson that Obama appears never to have learned.

Obama abandoned Iraq to Maliki, Tehran's man in Baghdad, and now is discovering that the Shiite rulers of Iraq are in league with Iran to undermine any plans for aiding the Sunni Syrian rebels.

Iraq says it does not allow the passage of any weapons through its airspace. But the intelligence report obtained by Reuters says Iranian weapons have been flowing into Syria via Iraq in large quantities. Such transfers, the report says, are organized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"This is part of a revised Iranian modus operandi that U.S. officials have only recently addressed publicly, following previous statements to the contrary," said the report, a copy of which was provided by a U.N. diplomatic source.

"It also flies in the face of declarations by Iraqi officials," it said. "Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels."

It added that Iran was also "continuing to assist the regime in Damascus by sending trucks overland via Iraq" to Syria.

Although the specific charges about Iraq allowing Iran to transfer arms to Damascus are not new, the intelligence report alleges that the extent of such shipments is far greater than has been publicly acknowledged, and much more systematic, thanks to an agreement between senior Iraqi and Iranian officials.

Ali al-Moussawi, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's media adviser, dismissed the intelligence report.

"Iraq rejects baseless allegations that it allows Iran to use its airspace to ship arms to Syria," he said. "The prime minister has always called for a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict and ... the need for a ban on any state interfering in Syria whether by sending arms or helping others to do so."

Syria originally served as a conduit for terrorists and weapons into Iraq. Now Iraq is serving as a conduit for fighters and weapons into Syria. Obama abandoned the accomplishments of the Surge and hustled out of Iraq and now Iraq is doing the predictable thing by acting as a silent partner in Iran's Shiite axis with Syria.

Had Obama negotiated a deal to keep American forces in Iraq, there would have been counters available to the smuggling network. Without the detail, Obama turned his attention to Syria only to discover Iraq at his back.

The irony here is that Democrats attacked the Iraq War for being poorly thought out and yet their administration rushed into one new war, whose consequences led to the murder of four Americans so far and the Islamist overrun of Mali, and their efforts at a new war are being undermined by their abandonment of Iraq.

Kerry said he was alarmed that U.S. efforts thus far had not persuaded Baghdad to halt the overflights, and suggested that the United States could in future make some of the hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance it gives to Iraq contingent on their cooperation on Syria.

That puts the US right back in the old game of threatening to withhold foreign aid while the people we're discussing withholding it from lie to our faces.

If Kerry makes enough noises about withholding foreign aid, then the Iraqis, by prearrangement with Iran, will arrange to seize a few weapons crates and hand them over to the United States. The diplomats will say that cooperation with Iraq is improving and Iraq will blame corruption in its internal security forces for not being able to do more. And everything will go on as before.

"Maybe we should make some of our assistance or some of our support contingent on some kind of appropriate response," he said. "It just seems completely inappropriate that we're trying to help build democracy, support them, put American lives on the line, money into the country, and they're working against our interest so overtly."

This man was almost sitting in the Oval Office and yet he does not seem to understand that once the United States pulled out and left Maliki in charge, all that was wasted. All the lives were lost and the money was not going to outweigh Iraq's religious ties to Iran.

The only sadder thing than Kerry's stupidity is that the man actually in the Oval Office now has even less of a clue.

Tags: Iraq, Syria