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Bullying Iraq in the Name of the Iran Obsession

The Trump administration’s abuse of sanctions [1] to bully Iran is also affecting Iran’s neighbors and closest trading partners, especially Iraq:

Iranian natural gas is the single most critical energy import in Iraq, but American officials say purchases must end now because gas falls under the American sanctions. And the Trump administration has told Iraq’s leaders that they have until late March to end electricity purchases. Officials in Baghdad say there is no easy substitute for either one because it would take three years or more to adequately build up Iraq’s energy infrastructure.

Waging an unjustified economic war on one country is bad enough, but in their pursuit of strangling Iran’s economy they are also threatening both Iraq’s economy and its political stability. The Trump administration obviously isn’t concerned about the harm that its policies are doing to the populations in either country, but the rest of us should reject a policy that causes innocent people so much needless hardship and economic pain for no good reason. The administration’s bankrupt Iran policy can cause a great deal of suffering, but it isn’t going to change the Iranian regime or its behavior. That means that all of the suffering that these sanctions are causing and will cause will be for nothing.

It is natural that Iran and Iraq would have flourishing trade relations. If it were almost any other country in the world besides Iran, the U.S. would be applauding the development of stronger economic ties between two countries that had previously fought a war against each other. As it is, the U.S. seeks to impoverish Iranians, and to that end the administration is determined to throttle the economies of their neighbors as well.

We have already seen [2] that Iraqis aren’t interested in letting their country be used as a base for anti-Iranian purposes. It is equally clear that they aren’t about to cooperate in destroying their own economy to satisfy an irrational American obsession with their neighbor. The Trump administration is wrong to pressure Iraq’s government to take obviously self-destructive actions, and the administration should be condemned for its senseless policy of collective punishment against the Iranian people.

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4 Comments To "Bullying Iraq in the Name of the Iran Obsession"

#1 Comment By SteveM On February 11, 2019 @ 3:46 pm

Daniel, I’m really happy you posted this because it re-emphasizes had dysfunctional American foreign policy is, (i.e., Global Cop Gorilla Syndrome).

Related to this is a just conducted interesting interview with former Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi by Sophie Shevardnadze on RT dealing with this very topic, (video + transcript):

It’s not US troops’ job to spy on our neighbors – ex-Iraqi PM

[3]

I can’t think of any foreign affairs sandbox right now where the ham-fisted U.S. (regime) is not making things worse. (Including worse for U.S. taxpayers forced to pay for all of the stupidity.)

P.S. A parenthetical perverse irony is that unlike the sclerotic, corrupted MSM, the RT network which the Russia-haters hold in absolute contempt is the one media vehicle that will air objective interviews like this.

#2 Comment By Collin On February 11, 2019 @ 3:57 pm

This reality is what I dislike about the Trump administration the most. Everyone else was failure and I will act decisively here to win for the USA.

1) The Obama nuclear deal was well put together but the reality is the rest of the world wanted to trade with Iran including Europe, China and Iraq. He had to act.

2) Lord knows it seems the dumbest thing is to anything to weaken the Iraqi economy and risk terrorist action. In reality, increased oil drilling in Iraq since 2014, is the reason oil price if $53/barrel. (US producers have an impact to about $60/barrel.)

This just hits as unfortunate as it is likely to increase the Iraqi & Iranian ties the next several years.

#3 Comment By Clyde Schechter On February 11, 2019 @ 4:36 pm

Well, as we all know, to the extent that Trump intends to withdraw US troops from Syria, if that ever happens, he wants to put them in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran.” The Iraqis have already made it clear they want no part of that.

It would not surprise me if Trump gives Iraq a waiver on the energy purchases from Iran if Iraq agrees to let those US troops in.

The best result would be if Russia, China, and the EU step in to support Iraq and shield it from the threatened US economic sanctions by an extension of their special purpose financial vehicle. This would be another step forward for the rests of the world to squirm out from under the US economic jackboot.

#4 Comment By Christian Chuba On February 12, 2019 @ 6:37 am

Of all of the lies we tell about Iran this one particularly stings. We claim that ‘Iran has taken over Iraq’ yet we were the ones who invaded Iraq, installed their govt, and are now forcing them to institute sanctions against Iran.

Would anyone with a straight face tell me that a free and independent Iraq ever do such a thing?

How did Iran ever ‘take over Iraq’, did they assassinate politicians, install minions? No, they did what any normal country would do, they did far less then what we did. They established relations with the country and yes, made contact with their fellow Shiites while we did the same with the Kurds who declared independence.