American troops are being told to share quarters with extremist Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq, the people who were murdering them with roadside bombs just a few years ago.
Given the insane disaster Obama has made of Iraq, Syria, and Libya, there might not be any other way to check ISIS.
The report on base-sharing comes from Eli Lake and Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View:
Two senior administration officials confirmed to us that U.S. soldiers and Shiite militia groups are both using the Taqqadum military base in Anbar, the same Iraqi base where President Obama is sending an additional 450 U.S. military personnel to help train the local forces fighting against the Islamic State. Some of the Iran-backed Shiite militias at the base have killed American soldiers in the past.
Some inside the Obama administration fear that sharing the base puts U.S. soldiers at risk. The U.S. intelligence community has reported back to Washington that representatives of some of the more extreme militias have been spying on U.S. operations at Taqqadum, one senior administration official told us. That could be calamitous if the fragile relationship between the U.S. military and the Shiite militias comes apart and Iran-backed forces decide to again target U.S. troops.
American critics of this growing cooperation between the U.S. military and the Iranian-backed militias call it a betrayal of the U.S. personnel who fought against the militias during the 10-year U.S. occupation of Iraq.
“It’s an insult to the families of the American soldiers that were wounded and killed in battles in which the Shia militias were the enemy,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain told us. “Now, providing arms to them and supporting them, it’s very hard for those families to understand.”
Iran’s militia forces are the only effective boots-on-the-ground counter to the Islamic State at the moment. A great deal of money and time has been invested in training the Iraqi Army, in accordance with the Obama administration’s strategy; the rout of Ramadi was the result.
Lake and Rogin note that quite a few of the American weapons jealously hoarded by the Iraqi government for its largely ineffectual army are finding their way into the hands of extremist Shiite militia, while, according to a senior administration official, “commanders of some of the hardline militias sit in on U.S. military briefings on operations that were meant for the government-controlled Iraqi Security Forces.”
“Hardline” means characters like Iraqi Hezbollah, the “League of the Rightous” (famed for executing five American soldiers along the side of a road near Karbala in 2007, and boasting of how they murdered many more), and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, which has been working closely with Iran’s professional terrorist unit the Quds Force for thirty years. Many of these militia bigshots were the biggest destabilizing forces in Iraq until ISIS came along.
Iran is taking over Iraq, with the Obama administration picking up much of the tab. The least they can do is let a few hundred American military advisers share their militia bases as part of their vague mission to thwart ISIS without directly fighting it. What could go wrong?
Well, for starters, there is the danger to American soldiers if Iran decides it needs a few American hostages, a need it has been known to feel in the past. Leaving U.S. troops vulnerable to attack from Iran’s proxy forces in Iraq gives Iran even more leverage in their ridiculous “nuclear deal” shakedown of the Obama administration, as if they needed any more.
The militia fighters could also decide to perpetrate some mayhem without any direct orders from Iran. “There’s no real command and control from the central government,” said one of Lake and Rogin’s administration sources. “Even if these guys don’t attack us… Iran is ushering in a new Hezbollah era in Iraq, and we will have aided and abetted it.”
Not just in Iraq, either—”With the deadline approaching for a nuclear deal that would place up to $150 billion in the hands of Iran, the U.S. is now openly acknowledging in its annual report on international terrorism that Iran is supporting a foreign legion, comprising Afghans, Iraqis and Lebanese fighters, to defend Iranian interests throughout the Middle East,” the Bloomberg View authors write. They note that America officially supports and opposes Iran’s foreign legion in different theaters—a mercurial policy unlikely to win much trust or affection from Middle Eastern governments. Say what you will about the Iranians, but their potential allies and adversaries would agree their foreign policy is much more focused and consistent.
And then there are the intelligence ramifications of allowing Iranian proxies to get so close to American operations. “The U.S. intelligence community has reported back to Washington that representatives of some of the more extreme militias have been spying on U.S. operations at Taqqadum, one senior administration official told us. That could be calamitous if the fragile relationship between the U.S. military and the Shiite militias comes apart and Iran-backed forces decide to again target U.S. troops,” Lake and Rogin write.
That is all we need, hard on the heels of the inept Obama administration letting Chinese hackers run riot through our security clearance database and government employee personnel files.
An awful lot of lame-duck Obama foreign policy involves heavy sighs of resignation and the weary acceptance of last-ditch efforts to avoid worst-case scenarios. Letting ISIS take Iraq is unthinkable, but that’s a real danger, thanks to Obama’s dereliction of duty on the Iraqi frontier. And turning to Iran for help to save the day is the only alternative Obama foreign policy has left us. There are no good choices any more, just rolls of the dice with fingers crossed.