As always, it’s the fear of sanctions that provides the leverage Trump seeks in this cat-and-mouse game with Iran. And this time, the leverage is over Iraq, which would like to see both American and Iranian forces out of the country, for obvious reasons.
There is nothing ISIS would love more than this.
It would also devastate Iraq because the sanctions threatened would include blocking access to Iraq’s U.S.-based account where all the oil revenues are kept. That threat stands if Iraq moves to kick U.S. forces out of the country.
That would mean victory for Iran (temporarily). Kicking out Iranian forces is not nearly as simple because the line between state and non-state actors is blurred, at best.
A few weeks ago, a U.S. drawdown of military forces in Iraq was already expected, but that now seems unlikely because of the implications.
The very military base that Iran attacked following the assassination of General Soleimani was already preparing for a drawdown.
In addition to the threat of sanctions on oil money, a U.S. withdrawal would likely open the door for an ISIS return.
What Iraqis Want
There is no consensus on this question, other than the fact that no one wants Iraq to be the proxy battleground between the United States and Iran.
It’s a fair point, and Iraqis have had a very difficult time enjoying anything close to sovereignty since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
While the Iraqi parliament has voted for U.S. troops to leave, they do not represent a unified voice. The Sunni elements of parliament did not participate in the vote. Neither did the Iraqi Kurds.
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