The US operation in Iraq could come to an embarrassing end. Iran’s power will only grow

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Donald Trump hasn’t pulled his troops out of Iraq, despite his pledge to finish America’s grinding wars. It seems he might not need to . The US is facing the likelihood of being kicked out, which would be an enormous win for Iran.

Officials in Iraq’s parliament, where powerful blocs have unbreakable ties to Tehran, started a process to finish the presence of foreign troops within the country, during a clear riposte to the US after it killed top Iranian commander Qasm Soleimani during a drone strike in Baghdad fortnight ago.

In the wake of the strike, joint US-Iraqi operations against ISIS were placed on hold, and Iraq’s caretaker prime minister said a US troop withdrawal was the sole thanks to “protect all those on Iraqi soil,” though in the week he said that call would be up to subsequent government.

But a US withdrawal could bring even more trouble, experts say. ISIS continues its attacks within the country, and without US and other foreign troops, the group would have more room to resurge. At an equivalent time, Iran are going to be ready to expand its already far-reaching powers in Baghdad.

Tehran and Washington have competed for influence in Iraq since the US 2003 invasion, and therein battle, Iran is already winning. Its consistent and coherent strategy, which the US lacks, has allowed Tehran to gradually weave itself into the material of lifestyle in Iraq.

It has capitalized on years of war and occupation to make militia groups that became official factions of the Iraqi military, while economically, it provides a huge amount of exports that Iraqis have come to believe . it’s made surrogates out of senior Iraqi officialdom and members of parliament.

Because of those links, the Iraqi parliament’s decision to side with Iran after the attack on Soleimani isn’t surprising. The strike appears to possess backfired, to the advantage of Iran’s long-term goal: getting the US out of the region.

“Iran is that the most influential state in Iraq now,” said Fawaz Gerges, a professor of diplomacy at the London School of Economics and politics . “That power is merely getting to grow if the US leaves.”

He said that the foremost important challenge for Iraq now wasn’t ISIS, but rebuilding a working nation — fighting corruption, changing the sectarian-based government to at least one supported citizenship and professionalizing the military , for instance . Iran isn’t curious about those goals, Gerges said, and a US withdrawal would embolden it further its reach across the center East.

“If the US leaves, people across the region will think that despite his flowery rhetorical devices, Trump doesn’t really have a technique for the center East and at the top of the day will fold and head home ,” Gerges said.

Being forced out would be a humiliating end to the US’ long mission in Iraq, which has sucked up many billions folks taxpayers’ money and left thousands folks soldiers dead.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied the US will leave, but pointed to a possible reduction of numbers. Gerges sees that proposal as a face-saving exercise for the US that would allow the American troops to remain in small numbers for the fight against ISIS but essentially begin the method of withdrawal.

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