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Iran in a hot spot
Mullah Dreams: Not Counting Sheep

The ISIS offensive has so far played to Iran’s advantage, but poses a strategic nightmare for it in the long run as Iraq continues to dissolve.

Published on: July 11, 2014
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  • Jim Speed, CPA, CHAE (ret.)

    The reason I enjoy reading articles at WRM – is embodied in this article. It is refreshing to hear about the how the social/historical relationships and interactions of a culture can/should affect how we act/react to events. MSM and Talking Heads never get as far as this article in helping me to understand Geopolitics. Thank you Adam Garfinkle.

    Much as WRM helped me to understand the historical-cultural underpinnings of the Greek financial mess (going back hundreds of years). And, helped me to better understand what is going on with America’s “Blue Model”. So also, this article lefts the veil for me – for a different take on the complicated Middle East.

    I was especially entertained by his metaphor: “If what we have is a real mess – it behooves us to tilt the table so as to sluice it on our adversaries”. which was followed by “some who are trained professionally in this sort of business could count the ways to do just that”.
    Who picked Obama’s advisors?

  • ljgude

    Great article, and of the proper kidney too for a site called the American Interest. Time and again you skewer the difference between pursuing more follies and what our strategic interest might actually be. Speaking of the broken crockery, I never could figure out if the Bush administration realized that installing democracy in Iraq was to hand control to the majority Shiites. Milaki is just as sectarian as Saddam, although evidently not as murderous and as much as I dislike Obama from not even trying to preserve the fragile balance he inherited from Petraeus, Milaki seem to be the main culprit. So despite all the effort we made to defeat ISIS’s predecessor I agree with you that we should leave Milaki to the wolves and the Iranians. One variable you didn’t mention directly is that Iraq’s shiite population is Arab, not Persian – another little fact the MSM appears not to know. So Iran’s problems trying to shore up the rump Iraqi state are complicated by common Arab ethnicity with much of their own internal subject peoples. So heck yes, support the Kurds, and let the Iranians fend for themselves.

  • Will American journalists ever get a clue about ANY part of the world? About REALITY? About, oh.. .I don’t know… HONESTY?

  • Eric

    Fine article Adam. I only would add two things. First the FSA doesn’t really exist. It is a useful tool for the other players, since it offers a conduit for American goodies which then are on-sold to al-Nusra etc. Its a useful hollowed out shell company, no more.

    Secondly the situation in Afghanistan will also affect the strategic picture, as Iran has always had its eye on Herat. So as soon as US troops are gone there will be a messy arm-wrestle for influence in western Afghanistan, just as Iraq finally fissions or soon after.
    The Baluchi issue is real but Pakistan and Iran have cause to work together to suppress that low grade insurrection, whereas in Afghanistan they are on opposite sides. I don’t see it as being a substantial distraction for the Iranians for this reason.

    I suspect Iran is strong enough politically to hold everything together, but it would be a good time to try and force them to a compromise on the nuclear issue just when the pressure peaks on both their western and eastern borders.

  • FriendlyGoat

    About 24 paragraphs in, we get the main advice for the USA that really counts:

    “keep repeating the determination that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon and all options remain on the table to prevent it”

    For one thing, this is IMPORTANT for the future of the world. For the other thing, whichever American party caves on this will lose both Congress and the Presidency.

    As for “enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” calculations, FORGET that rule for any Islamic places which are not formatted as dictatorships. Islamic voters, whether Sunni or Shia (or any sub-variation of those) are NOT going to see themselves as “friends” of America or western alliances ever—-not in ANY long-term circumstances. Our failure to know this is why we have expended all the blood and treasure only to see our imagined “gains” slipping away quickly.

  • hass

    NeoCon fantasist run amok. FYI Iran’s Supreme Leader is Azeri.

  • johngbarker

    I have read this piece several times and I get the main point, I think. What are some background books about the region that might help me read more intelligently.

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