U.S. officials, along with most Iraq analysts, have spent the last half-decade urging Maliki to seek a real political accord, but he had little interest in their advice. I’ve long argued that the only thing that would force Maliki to change his ways would be his perception that his survival depended on it. When U.S. troops were fighting his war and securing his rule, he consistently refused to make the political accommodations that his U.S. advisers pushed upon him. After U.S. troops left, he enjoyed sufficient political strength and military security to strike the kind of political deal that could have consolidated a legitimate Iraqi order. Instead, he moved to consolidate his personal power and punish Sunni political opponents….Maliki wants U.S. military aid, from helicopters to airstrikes, to fight the ISIS advance. Many in Washington will want to offer assistance to save Iraq from complete collapse. But at the same time, U.S. policymakers understand from painful experience that such military aid will simply enable Maliki’s autocratic sectarianism and allow him to avoid making any serious concessions.
Shi’ite Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say….Asked on Thursday about Iranian comments, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “Clearly, we’ve encouraged them in many cases to play a constructive role. But I don’t have any other readouts or views from our end to portray here today.”