Kerry warns Iraq about Iran aid

Rick Moran
It's about time someone from the American government talked to our "ally" Iraq about them helping President Assad of Syria slaughter his own people. One of Assad's lifelines is the Iraqi conduit, which not only allows truck convoys carrying weapons and fighters across Iraq into Syria, but allowing the Iranians to use Iraqi airspace to ferry more aid to Syria.

Associated Press:

Kerry said the plane shipments -- along with material being trucked across Iraqi territory from Iran to Syria -- were helping President Bashar Assad's regime cling to power by increasing their ability to strike at Syrian rebels and opposition figures demanding Assad's ouster.

"I made it very clear that for those of us who are engaged in an effort to see President Assad step down and to see a democratic process take hold ... anything that supports President Assad is problematic," Kerry said at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after meeting separately with Maliki at his office. "And I made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime."

The overflights in Iraq have long been a source of contention between the U.S. and Iraq. Iraq and Iran claim the flights are carrying humanitarian goods, but American officials say they are confident that the planes are being used to arm the support the Assad regime. The administration is warning Iraq that unless action is taken, Iraq will be excluded from the international discussion about Syria's political future.

U.S. officials say that in the absence of a complete ban on flights, Washington would at least like the planes to land and be inspected in Iraq to ensure that they are carrying humanitarian supplies. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton secured a pledge from Iraq to inspect the flights last year, but since then only two aircraft have been checked by Iraqi authorities, according to U.S. officials.

I don't entirely buy into the notion that Iraq has no choice but to help Iran, given the influence Iran carries in the Iraqi government. Iran doesn't have that kind of clout. But it would be reasonable to assume that Iraq is eager to do Iran favors in anticipation of future considerations.

Short of threats to cut off aid, Kerry went into the talks unarmed. That's why Iraq will almost certainly continue to assist President Assad, even though the longer the war continues, the more unsettled the entire region becomes.

It's about time someone from the American government talked to our "ally" Iraq about them helping President Assad of Syria slaughter his own people. One of Assad's lifelines is the Iraqi conduit, which not only allows truck convoys carrying weapons and fighters across Iraq into Syria, but allowing the Iranians to use Iraqi airspace to ferry more aid to Syria.

Associated Press:

Kerry said the plane shipments -- along with material being trucked across Iraqi territory from Iran to Syria -- were helping President Bashar Assad's regime cling to power by increasing their ability to strike at Syrian rebels and opposition figures demanding Assad's ouster.

"I made it very clear that for those of us who are engaged in an effort to see President Assad step down and to see a democratic process take hold ... anything that supports President Assad is problematic," Kerry said at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after meeting separately with Maliki at his office. "And I made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime."

The overflights in Iraq have long been a source of contention between the U.S. and Iraq. Iraq and Iran claim the flights are carrying humanitarian goods, but American officials say they are confident that the planes are being used to arm the support the Assad regime. The administration is warning Iraq that unless action is taken, Iraq will be excluded from the international discussion about Syria's political future.

U.S. officials say that in the absence of a complete ban on flights, Washington would at least like the planes to land and be inspected in Iraq to ensure that they are carrying humanitarian supplies. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton secured a pledge from Iraq to inspect the flights last year, but since then only two aircraft have been checked by Iraqi authorities, according to U.S. officials.

I don't entirely buy into the notion that Iraq has no choice but to help Iran, given the influence Iran carries in the Iraqi government. Iran doesn't have that kind of clout. But it would be reasonable to assume that Iraq is eager to do Iran favors in anticipation of future considerations.

Short of threats to cut off aid, Kerry went into the talks unarmed. That's why Iraq will almost certainly continue to assist President Assad, even though the longer the war continues, the more unsettled the entire region becomes.