Throughout the US occupation of Iraq from 2003-2011, the US regularly blamed Iran every time the war was going poorly, even though both they and Iran were backing the same Shi’ite-dominated government. In the early going of the ISIS war in Iraq, the US has often complained about Iran’s involvement, even though again, they are on the same side.
So while he may be stating the fairly obvious, Secretary of State John Kerry made some very controversial statements today when he said that Iran was “helpful” in the war against ISIS, and acknowledged that they and the US have “a common interest” in ISIS’ defeat.
US special envoy to the ISIS War Brent McGurk had issued his own statement earlier in the day about the Shi’ite militias in Iraq, claiming that “about 15%-20%” have gone rogue in the battle in Iraq, saying they are a “fundamental problem.”
The militias include a lot of recruits from Iran, and are backed heavily by the Iranian government. The largest militia, the Badr Brigade, is extremely powerful within the Iraqi government, reflecting the close ties between Iranian-backed factions and the ruling coalition.