We must not underestimate the significance of the Iranian government’s initiative to provide military help to Iraq’s Kurds who suddenly found themselves confronting the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Before analyzing the Iranian stance and the motives behind it, we must re-narrate what happened after the Iraqi city of Mosul fell into the hands of ISIS and after alarm bells were sounded following news that it appeared that ISIS forces, not the Baathists, defeated the troops of outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Meanwhile, as Baghdad fortified its defenses in preparation for the battle, ISIS surprised everyone by heading north towards the country’s Kurdistan region! The second surprise was the defeat of the Peshmerga forces, known as a traditionally strong militia. It turned out that years of Kurdish relaxation, particularly following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime 10 years ago, affected these Peshmerga forces as they are no longer as competent as they used to be. If it hadn’t been for the U.S. military’s quick air force intervention, terrorists may have succeeded in seizing major Kurdish cities.
Tehran wants to dominate the area to protect its influence in BaghdadAbdulrahman al-Rashed