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The Future of Iraq after US departure

By Kayvan Kaboli, 10.23.2011

Obama's electoral calculation could prove totally wrong as the emboldened Iranian regime will certainly use its growing influence in Iraq to undermine the Arab spring and jeopardize US interests. In fact, empowering Iran in the region contradicts US policy of isolating and containing Iran and could negatively affect Obama's image as a weak President who retreated from the Iranian challenge.

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On October 21, President Obama announced the US military's full withdrawal from Iraq by end of this year. Consequently, the White House press conference was held and the media briefed on the withdrawal plan. At the press conference, the main questions were on the impacts of this retreat on the future of Iraq, US interests and Arab Springs.

Judging by public surveys in the US and around the world, President Bush's invasion of Iraq is viewed as a disaster to US interests, regional developments and Iraqi people. Data and statistics alone show that in wild range of issues from economy to human rights, the Iraqi people suffer more under this regime compared to pre-occupation era.

The most catastrophic consequence of Bush's blunder has been Iran's growing grip on Iraq. Obama's withdrawal will certainly increase Tehran's influence as some Iranians jokingly say that on January 1st. 2012, Ghassem Soleiman, the commander of Iran's Guds forces will be officially crowned as the new king of Iraq. In the crowning ceremony, he would thank Bush and Obama for sacrificing US soldiers and wasting trillions of American tax dollars to overthrow a secular regime and hand over Iraq to the Islamic Republic.

While Bush should be blamed for the invasion and the resulting mess in Iraq, Obama had many options in hand to manage US presence and postpone a total withdrawal. But the negotiations with Iraqi government failed because the administration's decision makings are apparently driven by the next year Presidential election. Therefore, Obama prefers leaving Iraq and avoid potential confrontations with Iranian proxies in Iraq, a prospect that could severely affect his electoral calculations. Iran and its Iraqi proxies knew about Obama's weakness and therefore remained firm and pushed US out of Iraq.

The irony is that the withdrawal plan is announced just 10 days after President Obama exposes Iranian regime terror plot in Washington. Obama's electoral calculation could prove totally wrong as the emboldened Iranian regime will certainly use its growing influence in Iraq to undermine the Arab spring and jeopardize US interests. Empowering Iran’s influence in Iraq can take serious turns in next 12 month that might cost Obama the election. In fact, empowering Iran in the region contradicts US policy of isolating and containing Iran and could negatively affect Obama's image as a weak President who retreated from the Iranian challenge. Obama is completing the catastrophe in Iraq that has started with George W Bush.