We should be grateful for Iran’s intransigence, but very alarmed at Obama’s attempt at an alliance with Iran, the largest state sponsor of terror, the backer of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the threat to Israel and Sunni neighbors and the regime determined to get nuclear weapons. Former undersecretary of State Eric Edelman tells me, “A tacit or formal alliance with Iran would have made it impossible for the U.S. to work with the Arab states most concerned by ISIL’s rise, would have fatally undermined the already difficult task of constituting an inclusive Iraqi government attractive to Sunni Arabs and would have rendered the challenge of recruiting disaffected Sunni tribal sheikhs in Anbar and Ninevah province to help roll back ISIL’s territorial gains, well-nigh impossible.”
There are few experts who would disagree. “It seems to me that Iran and America’s interests in Iraq and the Middle East in general don’t coincide,” Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations told me. “They seek eviction of America from the region and subversion of our alliance system. It is hard to see how there could be a cooperative relations given such stark realities.” If Iran thinks it is in their self-interest to stamp out the Sunni extremists it will do so, but the U.S. does not need to go on bended knee or implicitly signal a willingness to welcome Iran into Iraq.
“Imploring Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to cooperate and compromise,” also has terrible implications for our nuclear talks with Iran, says Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The administration has repeatedly done this during the nuclear negotiations with Iran, which has only severely eroded US negotiating leverage, ” he explains. “Now it appears to be taking the same approach in trying to get Khamenei to put aside his vicious anti-Americanism to join the forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran against the Islamic State, which the supreme leader has played a large role in helping to create through his support for Iraqi and Syrian sectarian bloodshed.”
As seen by the Supreme Leader’s venom, compromising will likely wind up “eliciting further contempt from the supreme leader for American weakness while infuriating the very Sunni allies whose cooperation will be needed to defeat the Islamic State.”
The president and his national security team are hopelessly befuddled, grasping at every straw to prevent the collapse of the Middle East and what remains of U.S. foreign policy. Dubowitz asks, “Will the Obama administration ever learn that the Islamic State and the Islamic Republic are two sides of the same jihadist coin?” The answer of course is never. Both houses of Congress should denounce the move and take steps to bar the enlistment of the Iranian thugocracy in any the president’s harebrained foreign policy schemes. If Hillary Clinton really wanted to distance herself from the president she’d start by decrying this move.
UPDATE: Now the State Department says it is “talking” to Iran but no coordinating. Words have no meaning for this crowd.