Iraq attempts to limit Iranian influence

Iran’s growing influence in Iraq will trigger potentially deadly conflicts, perhaps even civil war. Prime Minister al-Kadhimi, former head of Iranian intelligence, rooted out a dozen anit-Iraq leaders from Iraq’s militia to forestall Iranian influence. Does the Iraqi militia have more power than the government? Al-Kadhimi’s aggressive move may be pragmatic but where will it lead? Brad Johnson, CIA Chief of Station (Ret.) and President of Americans for Intelligence Reform recommends keeping an eye out – something bad is bound to happen.

 

 

 


Brad Johnson it is June 29th and there
00:03
have been some significant arrests
00:05
arrests made in Iraq can you tell us
00:08
about what they are and what they mean
00:10
yes it is a very interesting turn of
00:13
events and one of the things that we’ve
00:15
seen really over the last several years
00:18
since the United States really began a
00:22
serious pull out of it out of Iraq
00:24
during the Obama years that Iran’s
00:28
influence in Iraq has grown and grown
00:30
and grown and grown and probably
00:31
surpassed that of the United States
00:34
where is where we find ourselves today
00:35
now one of the ways that this has been
00:39
carrying forward inside Iraq or the Shia
00:42
militia groups which there’s a general
00:44
coalition of some 40-odd Shia militia
00:49
groups of which there’s you know a
00:50
handful of big ones and then you know a
00:53
bunch of small ones nevertheless we’re
00:55
talking about a group of perhaps you
00:57
know 150,000 soldiers so it’s not an
01:00
insignificant force inside Iraq that’s a
01:03
very significant force now they were
01:05
used doing different things they wanted
01:06
to get rid of the it doesn’t matter to
01:10
this but at this point what has happened
01:12
is that inside Iraq there was a period
01:18
of time where they could not form a
01:19
government and they have like the
01:20
British style government where they have
01:22
a prime minister so it took them a long
01:25
time to form a government which they
01:26
finally did and the the brand-new Prime
01:29
Minister is the one that’s ordered this
01:31
this brand new prime minister by the way
01:33
was the former head of the Iraqi
01:35
intelligence service so he came into
01:38
this situation as Prime Minister
01:40
understanding very well who has power
01:43
and moves things inside the country and
01:45
I would say my guess with a pretty high
01:51
degree of certainty is that the al kadha
01:56
me is the new prime minister that he saw
02:01
that these Iran back Shia militia and in
02:05
Iraq it’s also majority Shia the ruling
02:09
party there now is majority Shia he
02:13
looked at what was going on and saw that
02:15
they were gaining more power within that
02:17
country than the federal government of
02:20
Iraq itself and so that’s when he moved
02:22
to arrest these dozen or so members of
02:26
these of these leadership of these Shia
02:29
militias so now this is a very very
02:32
interesting internal struggle then now
02:34
for the the ship backed by Iran and the
02:39
inside Iraq and the Iraqi government
02:41
itself even though this is an area where
02:44
they had cooperated and what I made a
02:46
vague reference to earlier getting rid
02:48
of the Caliphate and all of this they
02:50
were they were fighting against all of
02:52
that sort of stuff inside Iraq jointly
02:55
now the Sunni versus she it’s part of
02:58
that overall conflict so this is where
03:02
we find ourselves today that now the
03:04
iraqi prime minister not that now he’s
03:07
somewhat perhaps more positive towards
03:09
the US but that I don’t believe was the
03:12
motive like I said I believe the motive
03:13
was strictly that he was going to get
03:15
rid of this growing force I wanted to
03:19
cut back a notch or two this this
03:21
growing influence of Iran he didn’t want
03:23
Iran to take over Iraq which i think is
03:26
realistically the way it was headed and
03:28
ice as I said as the former head of the
03:30
Iraqi intelligence service he understood
03:32
all of this stuff and what was going on
03:34
and so this is a move that he has taken
03:37
and I don’t know for a fact but I don’t
03:39
believe this was done at the behest of
03:41
the United States although the United
03:42
States would certainly back them they’re
03:44
so interesting turn of events there now
03:47
a lot of speculation as to how this
03:50
could play out and you have no clear
03:52
answer yet because you know we all know
03:54
how it is there can be pandemonium but
03:56
this is something that could provoke
03:59
essentially civil war status in Iraq
04:02
because you’ve got 150,000 fighters on
04:05
the one hand and you’ve got the Iraqi
04:07
army on the other and with essentially
04:09
the Iraqi federal government and the
04:11
Iraqi army taking out the leadership of
04:14
this former group that cooperated with
04:17
or the group that firmly cooperated with
04:18
them that could provoke push back on
04:21
their side so Iran is not going to want
04:24
to take this laying down
04:26
so they are going to do something it’s a
04:28
question of what
04:29
so does it blow up into full-scale
04:32
combat with Iran and 150,000 militia on
04:35
the one hand taking on Iraq I mean
04:39
that’s kind of an extreme outcome out of
04:40
the range of possibilities but it is
04:42
certainly one that is in the range of
04:44
possibility but some sort of conflict
04:46
now is going to exist we’ll see how it
04:48
plays out does Iran come in and slap the
04:51
new prime minister of Iraq on the wrist
04:53
and say you know don’t do that again let
04:55
these guys out and go yeah okay
04:56
or is it you know more like butting
04:59
heads over this issue so this is we’ll
05:01
be playing out over the short term and
05:04
this is an area of conflict that I would
05:07
be a potential conflict that I would be
05:10
you really keep my eye on because
05:12
something will happen just a question of
05:14
how big how bad that sort of thing so I
05:18
wouldn’t decide would say this is not
05:19
the best time to necessarily invest your
05:22
life savings in rap but it is it is an
05:26
area to keep your eye on just because
05:27
this could has the potential to blow up
05:30
into something pretty serious thank you
05:33
very much yeah it is normally Iran
05:35
agitates the Shia minority within Sunni
05:38
countries to exert their political will
05:40
and they’ve even done it in Saudi Arabia
05:41
but yes this would be trickier because
05:44
if Iraq is already Shia and these people
05:47
consider themselves to be Iraqis it
05:50
might be a little bit more difficult to
05:51
rattle that saber in exactly the same
05:53
way so
06:03
you
06:31
[Music]
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