Iran to the Rescue: Iranian Forces Battle ISIS for Control of Major Iraqi Oil Refinery

Mohammed Sawaf/ AFP/Getty Images
Mohammed Sawaf/ AFP/Getty Images

Another scene from the ongoing collapse of President Obama’s Iraq policy comes to us from the crucial Iraqi oil refinery of Beiji, where Iranian artillery and heavy weapons are backing Iraqi forces against ISIS, while the Obama Administration watches helplessly and hopes the media doesn’t notice.

The Associated Press got details of the story from two U.S. defense officials who were “not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.”

“Iran’s role in Iraq is a major complicating factor for the Obama administration as it searches for the most effective approach to countering the Islamic State group,” the AP delicately notes. “U.S. officials have said they do not oppose contributions from Iran-supported Iraqi Shiite militias as long as they operate under the command and control of the Iraqi government.”

The official line from the Pentagon is that the Iraqis are finally making progress against ISIS at the Beiji refinery, which they took control of at roughly the same time they seized the city of Ramadi. Beiji could mean millions of dollars in oil revenue for the terror state.

The U.S. military praised the Iraqis for pushing back at Beiji, and mentioned the importance of American and coalition airstrikes, reconnaissance, and advisors, but did not want to talk about the Iranians entering the fray. “Asked about the newly emerging role of Iranian forces in Beiji, the U.S. command in Kuwait declined to comment directly, citing ‘operational security reasons.’ It added that all forces involved in Beiji are ‘aligned with the government of Iraq and under the control of Iraqi security forces,'” writes the Associated Press.

One of the anonymous officials who spoke to the AP said Iran’s contributions to the battle of Beiji include “artillery, 122mm rocket systems and surveillance and reconnaissance drones to help the Iraqi counteroffensive.”

Getting ISIS out of there is vital. Replacing them with a broadened Iranian sphere of influence is awful.


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