‘Frying pan into the fire’ if U.S. teams up with Iran, says McCain

By Neal McNamara | June 16, 2014
Mideast Iraq

People hold posters showing Iran’s spiritual leaders Ayatollah Khomeini, while Iraqi Shiite fighters deploy with their weapons in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, on Saturday (AP).

If you didn’t think the Obama administration’s response to the chaos in Iraq could get any worse, on Monday it did.

On Monday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. is “open to discussions” with Iran, indicating desperation since a partnership with Tehran would mean involvement with a sworn enemy, an extremely dangerous player in Fertile Crescent.

“I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country, and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart,” Kerry told Yahoo! News about Iran.

Kerry made the Iran comments as Jihadists from the group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIL, also called ISIS – continued its sweep across Iraq, on Monday seizing a town in Northern Iraq with 200,000 residents.

Host Michael Medved spoke to Arizona Sen. John McCain about the dangers of U.S.-Iran cooperating in fighting ISIL.

“Iran, apparently, they’re going to send members of the revolutionary guard, send troops to help Iraq – why is this a bad thing? Why can’t we let Iranians bleed and use them to try and defend this government?” Medved asked McCain.

LISTEN: MCCAIN CRITICAL OF U.S.-IRAN PARTNERSHIP IN IRAN

The clash of ISIL and the governments of Iraq and Iran expose the volatility of Islamic groups in the region. Shia Muslims control the governments of Iran and Iraq, and the ISIL militants are Sunnis. Sunni Muslims are a minority in Iraq, around 35 percent of the population, but were in power when Saddam Hussein ruled the country.

ISIL’s goal is to dissolve the border between Iraq and Syria and establish a cruel Sunni theocracy, or caliphate. ISIL is so bad that even al-Qaeda thinks they’re too extreme.

Adding another element to the mix is Syria, whose ruling class, including Dictator Bashar al-Assad, is from the Alawite group. Alawites and Shia generally get along because Sunnis have persecuted them.

The combination of the situations in Iraq and Syria leave Iran with an opportunity to influence two countries. A stronger Iran could pose serious danger to Israel, Europe, and the U.S., and give Russia and China further influence in the region.

A firm U.S. presence in Iraq could have prevented the current situation, the clashing of these Muslim groups, McCain said.

“I didn’t believe that Iraq was stable enough without [U.S. influence] that it would not deteriorate into what it has today,” McCain said. “It’s really unfortunate because we had it won. What you’re going to hear the administration talk about is how Bush started the war, blaming Bush – BIOB, Blame It On Bush. We won the war and lost the peace all because Barack Obama wanted out under any circumstances.”

And, as of Monday morning, Obama and Kerry still had not given any firm plans to stop the chaos in Iraq, which poses a danger to the U.S. because, in the hands of ISIL, Iraq could become a terrorist breeding ground.

The entry of Iran into the conflict – Tehran has sent some 500 Republican Guard troops already, according to news reports – is extremely dangerous, McCain said, because it allows Iran to grow its influence in the region. Iran has already exerted a lot of power propping up Bashar al-Assad, and did so while working with Russia and Hezbollah.

“The Iranians are interested in establishing their authority throughout the Middle East. They have already done a great deal of that in Syria,” McCain said. “If they were in Iraq beating back ISIS, I doubt seriously if they would leave. They would then have the overriding influence in one of the most important nations in the Middle East.

“This would be, I think, jumping from the frying pan into the fire.”

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