Iran’s Iraq Policy Shifts as ISIS Expands

Quds Force Chief on the Ground in Amerli

While publicly they both are constantly condemning one another, Iran and the United States have had extremely similar policies with respect to Iraq in recent years. And as the US changed their policy toward Iraq earlier this year, Iran followed suit.

Like the US, Iran was long a fan of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and as the losses to ISIS mounted, they cut him lose at roughly the same time. With fears of having a border with ISIS looming large, Iran has been eager to back whoever in Iraq would be an alternative, even arming the Kurdish Peshmerga.

Iran’s also been picking up its own military involvement on the ground in Iraq, though they’ve tried to keep the details a little less public than the Obama Administration has.

Images have emerged showing Iran’s Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the head of their Quds Force, on the ground in Amerli, during the recapture of the Turkomen town by Peshmerga and Shi’ite militias.

How much role the Quds Force played in the battle is still uncertain, but with the US giving air support in the attack on ISIS forces near Amerli, this is the closest to a joint US-Iranian operation yet, a trend which is likely to grow, even as US officials continue to rule out any direct coordination with Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of