Analysts See a Lot of Potential Goals for US War in Iraq

New fight would be a proxy war with Iran, could also goose oil prices

In various US military operations in Iraq, there have been myriad military goals, few of which ever got achieved. With reports of an imminent US military operation in Iraq, targeting Shi’ite militias, analysts are looking over possible US goals for that.

The obvious goal for attacking Shi’ite militias is to kill Shi’ites, and as the US treats them as Iranian proxies, this boils down to a proxy war with Iran. The military has acknowledged this in warning that the operation could quickly snowball into a direct war with Iran, which the US troops in Iraq are not ready for.

Such a fight would be in keeping with the US ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, and that would please administration hawks even if it does get out of hand. Others see the price of oil as a big factor in its own right.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven the price of crude oil to multi-year lows, and that is doing a lot of damage to major US oil companies with high-cost production. The idea is that a new war in the Middle East would necessarily raise oil prices, and that might help US companies.

US wars have rarely been about raising the price of oil, but since that’s often an unforeseen consequence, it is one of the most achievable goals the US could have.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of