Tehran Could Help U.S. Combat Militants in Iraq: Iranian Official

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
June 13, 2014, 10:06 a.m.

Ir­an is so wor­ried by the ter­rit­ory gains made by mil­it­ants in Ir­aq that anti-in­sur­gency co­oper­a­tion with Wash­ing­ton is pos­sible, an Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cial said.

The op­tion of co­oper­at­ing with the United States in provid­ing mil­it­ary as­sist­ance to the Shiite-dom­in­ated gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad is be­ing de­bated among seni­or Ir­a­ni­an gov­ern­ment fig­ures, a high-rank­ing Tehran of­fi­cial told Re­u­ters in a Fri­day re­port. The mil­it­ary aid would likely en­tail dis­patch­ing ad­visers and arms to Bagh­dad, but not troops. The White House de­clined to com­ment on the pos­sib­il­ity of col­lab­or­at­ing with Ir­an to shore up the em­battled Ir­aqi gov­ern­ment, the New York Times re­por­ted.

The United States and Ir­an have been at odds for dec­ades. Wash­ing­ton has re­peatedly warned it is not tak­ing off the table the threat of a mil­it­ary strike on Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar fa­cil­it­ies. However, re­cent mul­tina­tion­al talks aimed at reach­ing a last­ing com­prom­ise on Tehran’s nuc­le­ar activ­it­ies have opened the door for smooth­er re­la­tions.

The re­mark­ably swift takeover by an al-Qaida break­away group of so much Ir­aqi ter­rit­ory this week has taken aback both Ir­an and the United States. The ideo­logy of the ex­trem­ist Is­lam­ic State of Ir­aq and Syr­ia calls for the es­tab­lish­ment of a strict Sunni ca­liphate that spans the bor­ders of Syr­ia and Ir­aq. Wash­ing­ton is con­cerned about the destabil­iz­ing im­pact the group’s in­flu­ence would have on a num­ber of key Middle East­ern coun­tries. Of­fi­cials also worry that the or­gan­iz­a­tion could in­spire and train ex­trem­ist fight­ers in mount­ing ter­ror­ist strikes on the United States and Europe. Tehran, mean­while, fears that IS­IS mil­it­ants will at­tack Shiite shrines in Ir­aq and re­place a gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad that is friendly with Ir­an with one that is deeply hos­tile.

A num­ber of al-Qaida-in­spired groups have emerged in re­cent years in the Middle East and Africa, dampen­ing the op­tim­ism of 2011 that — fol­low­ing the death of Osama bin Laden — the United States was on the verge of van­quish­ing the threat posed by the in­ter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ist net­work.

Ex-U.S. State De­part­ment coun­terter­ror­ism co­ordin­at­or Daniel Ben­jamin told Re­u­ters he was “con­sid­er­ably more op­tim­ist­ic 18 months ago than … now” about the danger posed by al-Qaida-af­fil­i­ated groups.

Mean­while, Egypt has sent sev­er­al hun­dred troops to an area close to the Taba bor­der check­point with Is­rael. The ac­tion, which has the sup­port of the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, is a re­sponse to con­cerns that al-Qaida-in­spired ex­trem­ists op­er­at­ing in the Sinai Pen­in­sula re­gion could use anti-air­craft mis­siles smuggled out of Libya to at­tack Is­raeli pas­sen­ger planes, the Times of Is­rael re­ports.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
55 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
INFLUENTIAL APPROPRIATOR
Former Sen. Conrad Burns Dies in Montana
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Conrad Burns, the colorful livestock auctioneer and radio executive from Montana who served three terms as a senator, died on Thursday at age 81. Burns "was ousted from office in 2006 under the specter of scandal after developing close ties to "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff," although no charges were ever filed.

Source:
BETTING ON CARS
Biden Goes Max Biden at the Vatican
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In an exchange not ripped from the page of The Onion, Vice President Biden revealed to a Vatican cardinal that he's been betting reporters on which cars are faster. After meeting privately with Pope Francis, Biden met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State. Within moments of greeting one another, Biden said that he'd met with the pope and, gesturing to the press pool, "I've met with these guys too." Singling out reporter Gardiner Harris, who recounted the exchange, he said, "I had to pay this man $10. He's from the New York Times. We had a bet: which is the faster car, the newer Cadillac or the new [Tesla]. ... The Tesla's two tenths of a second faster. But I lost. I paid my $10." He joked that he's "seeking absolution."

×