by Mark Linnhoefer
The newly opened center marks a stark point of disgruntlement for the U.S. as it highlights the tightened cooperation of historic U.S. rivals Russia and Iran. This points to the U.S. losing a strategic point in the Middle East to Russia and the Obama and Putin administrations are not quite in their honeymoon phase anymore, especially not after the Russian airstrikes in Syria.
It is, naturally, the Russian participation that causes the biggest uproar from Western politicians, regardless of the airstrikes on mid-level IS figures that could not have been carried out if the center wasn’t operational.
Iraqi officials, however, are more than pleased with the cooperation, saying that they want “a full-blown military alliance” and that they can “get a lot of use from Russian intelligence,” with the Prime Minister even going so far as to say that he would welcome Russian attacks against IS on Iraqi soil.
According to the U.S., it is not the anti-terrorism that counts here but the fact that Russia is just trying to show how much more they’re doing for their neighboring countries and the fact that a strengthened Baghdad-Moscow relationship might mean a weakened Baghdad-U.S. relationship which is apparently a big deal for the American government. That Baghdad and its allies have been saying that the U.S. lacks the decisive power and readiness to supply arms and other fighting necessities, however, apparently doesn’t matter.
The Iraqi government knows about the delicate situation it creates by fortifying and expanding its alliances to the East. Sami al-Askari – former member of the Iraqi Parliament – says that his government “wants to do this in a way that doesn’t look like they’re pushing the Americans away.”
Well, good luck explaining that to a nation whose foreign politics are the political equivalent of an enraged bodybuilder on steroids and cocaine who just found out that his wife cheated on him.