Iraq Struggles to Keep Both US, Iran Satisfied

Searching Iranian Planes Risks Key Alliance

With Syria’s Civil War turning more and more into a proxy war between foreign nations, Iraq’s position of “non-interference” is putting them in a difficult position of trying to placate both the United States and Iran, which are backing opposite sides.

So when the US began accusing Iran of using Iraqi airspace to ship weapons to Syria, the allegation left Iraq demanding actual evidence, and hoping that the story would simply die. It didn’t.

With the US threatening to withdraw foreign aid from Iraq over the matter, Foreign Minister Zebari announced earlier today that it would start randomly searching Iranian civilian planes, apparently just to keep the US satisfied.

But the impact this will have on Iraq’s relationship with Iran, arguably the more important relationship for the Shi’ite dominated government, is unclear. Giving in to US pressure is nothing new for nations in the region, but with the Maliki government trying to prove its independence, the move could have serious ramifications.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of