12/14/11 U.S. to leave Iraqi airspace clear for strategic Israeli route to Iran

reviewed by abichara

The U.S. military’s fast-approaching Dec. 31 exit from Iraq, which has no way to defend its airspace, puts Israel in a better place strategically to strike Iran’s nuclear ...
Iraq has ...
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12/14/11 U.S. to leave Iraqi airspace clear for strategic Israeli route to Iran 3

Interesting to note that Iraq's Shi'ite government just consummated a $4 billion arms deal with the Russians to purchase MiG's, heavy armored vehicles and surface to air missiles. They also made energy exploration deals with them.

The State Department was obviously taken aback by this move on the part of the Maliki government, who's friendly with both Syria and Iran, even going so far to provide supplies to the embattled Syrian government. Iraq's alliance with Iran makes an air route from Israel to Iran's Busheir nuclear facility that much more difficult. Part of Russia's play here to block an attack on Iran. The Iraqi government itself is attempting to gain control of the Kurdish north and the disparate Sunni tribes in the center of the country. Kurdistan is a particular concern for them, as US oil conglomerates are making deals directly with the Kurds, thus bypassing the central government itself. The arming of Iraq's government sends a message to outside players, particularly the Turks, who are heavily involved in Northern Iraq, to not violate its sovereignty. The Russians in turn are sending a message to the Turks, who are working on behalf of NATO interests in Syria and elsewhere.

The West could react by attempting to Balkanize Iraq by encouraging Sunni secessionist sentiment. The arms deal was likely a prelude to what might be coming up. Kurdistan is already a de facto independent region, thanks to US and NATO interference. The game plan is to further weaken Iraq by sponsoring the creation of a Sunni entity in central Iraq similar to Kurdistan in the north, thus confining the Iraqi Shi’ites to the southern part of the country. That would likely mean resuscitating the old Ba'athist coalition that ruled the country for 35 years before we disposed of Saddam Hussein.

That the Russians are making major investments in Iraq's oil sector should be a major thorn on the US's side. It's a strategic defiance of US interests in the region, and it's part of Russia's broader cultivation of Arab governments.

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By the Numbers