US shouldn’t work with Iran in Iraq – Pelosi

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Barack Obama’s plan of co-opting Iran for solving the Iraq crisis hit a snag when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposed any kind of alliance with Tehran. It has also become clear that even rank and file Democrats don’t support the US President’s strategy.

From a pragmatic point of view, Obama’s plan of using Iran in a proxy war against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is brilliant. The US can’t commit troops to a new war in Iraq. The White House can’t openly admit that the war in the Middle East is not actually over. Any direct involvement with boots on the ground will surely become a public relations disaster at home. Iran’s involvement solves all the difficult issues because it has the manpower to wage a war, a competent military and significant influence on the leaders in Baghdad. The problem is that Tehran is demanding a steep price for its involvement and that any official alliance will be regarded as a betrayal of American principles and a betrayal of Israel, America’s staunchest ally in the region. Iran will surely demand cancellation of all sanctions and a tacit agreement to stop blocking the country’s nuclear program. For Obama administration the costs are acceptable, but it seems that most Democrats disagree.

Nancy Pelosi has been very vocal in this regard. “I’m not one who’s interested in working with Iran on this. I think you have to be open to where you can get support for things, but I don’t have the confidence level that [they would help],” she said. “Right now we’re trying to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon. That can’t happen.”

What other options are left for Obama administration? Washington can help Iraqi authorities with aerial strikes against ISIS, but given the nature of the war in Iraq, it is unlikely that such strategy will turn the tide of the conflict. Moreover, even using air strikes against jihadists may become problematic because Obama may have to obtain a Congressional approval for them. Obama is being sabotaged by his own party. Rep. Peter Welch told the press that Congress has neglected its role when it comes to checking military operations ordered by the President. Another Democrat, Rep. Jim McGovern, has similar views. “Maybe it’s technically legal,” he said, “but I don’t consider that legitimate, considering what we’ve all been through.”

It is obvious that if the President can’t win the battle against his own party, he can’t win the battle in Iraq. If nothing changes, oil prices will be going up, while Iraqi oil industry will be going up in flames.

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