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The Cost of Not Caring Enough about Iraq

Iraq is shipping critical fuel oil to Syria, the FT reports:

Iraq is quietly shipping vital supplies of fuel oil to Syria in a deal that has triggered concern in Washington and exposes Damascus’s difficulties keeping its economy afloat in the face of a growing civil war and economic sanctions.

In June and July, Baghdad’s oil ministry delivered two shipments of fuel oil, which is used for power generation, worth US$14m in total, to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Syria paid in cash, the documents show.

This is the cost of failing to care enough about Iraq. As American forces withdrew from Iraq earlier last year, there was an opportunity to pursue a closer military and political relationship between Washington and Baghdad, but the Obama administration preferred a hasty exit. That missed opportunity was not a cost-free decision. Baghdad and Tehran have grown increasingly close at Washington’s expense, and the evidence suggests Iraq has been quietly helpful toward Butcher Assad as his regime tries to stay in power in Syria.

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