Just Another Guy with Opinions

Iran to Help Iraq?

Posted by shadmia on January 30, 2007


Despite the Bush Administration’s animosity towards Iran, the Iranian government seems to be courting the Iraqis. The Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, said his country was prepared to offer training, equipment and advisers to Iraqi Government forces for “the security fight”.

He also offered to help in the reconstruction of Iraq: “We have experience of reconstruction after war,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. “We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis.”

And as if this was not enough Iran and Iraq announced plans to open an Iranian national bank in Iraq. A senior Iraqi banking official, Hussein al-Uzri, confirmed Iran had received a licence to open the bank: Mr Uzri said it would apparently be the first “wholly-owned subsidiary bank” of a foreign country in Iraq and would “enhance trade” between the neighbours.

Iran has an interest in seeing the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government succeed. This is probably the only thing that Iran and the US have in common, albeit for different reasons. Both countries are Shiite-controlled in the midst of mostly Sunni neighbors. However the US is suspicious of Iranian involvement in Iraq and President Bush has vowed to: respond firmly if Iran foments violence in Iraq, but said he had no intention of invading Iran….in the meantime: Washington has authorised US troops in Iraq to capture or kill Iranian agents found in the country.

The Iraq Study Group, in a bi-partisan report, has urged the Bush Administration to engage both Syria and Iran in helping to find a solution to the problems in Iraq. This recommendation has been ignored. It now appears that the Iraqis themselves are reaching out to Iran for support despite any misgivings Washington may have. In a lukewarm reaction to the contacts between Iran and Iraq, White House spokesman, Tony Snow said:

“We would certainly welcome Iran to start playing a constructive role in the region,” he said, adding that Iran could take positive steps by stopping arms smuggling and the support of “terrorist organizations.”

Snow said there was some evidence that Iranians had been involved in activities that led to the deaths of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

But it was up to the Iraqi government to determine what the relationship would be with its neighbor, he said. “And I dare say it’s not going to make arrangements that are going to be detrimental to its security or its prosperity.”


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One Response to “Iran to Help Iraq?”

  1. […] Iran to Help Iraq? […]

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