In addition to ignoring international economic sanctions, Iraq also acts as a way station for prohibited commerce with Iran. It opposes the United States, the United Nations, and almost all of its Arab neighbors who'd like to see Assad depart and the killing stop. It allows Iran to cross its air and ground space to send military supplies, advisers, and trainers to help Assad. For good measure, Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has also expressed support for Iranian-backed Shiite revolutionaries in Bahrain.
The negative results of our sacrifices for Iraq follow the administration's failure to negotiate a long-term military relationship. Iranian influence is growing within Iraq and threatening American interests even more, and al Qaeda has now established a foothold in Iraq. In fact, if Iraq is bound to Tehran, it is now almost impossible to restrain Iran.
In effect, we have not only lost the support of Egypt and Iraq, but we have also lost credibility throughout the Middle East, dramatically diminishing our position as the great Western power in the region. This strategic decline has received too little attention in America and has been wholly absent from the presidential debate.
- Read Elizabeth Prodromou: Keep Turkey's Military Out of Syria
- Read Ilan Berman: Defense Budget Cuts Will Hurt American Strategic Planning
- Read Scheherazade Rehman: Rise of China, Brazil Point to Creation of New World Order