M. A., Political Science, Young Researchers and Elite Club, Kermanshah Branch, Islamic Azad University,Kermanshah, Iran



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Islamic state group and United States interests in Iraq

Rasoul rezaie faramani

M.A., Political Science, Young Researchers and Elite Club, Kermanshah Branch, Islamic Azad University ,Kermanshah, Iran



abstract



After the withdrawal of US forces in 2011 from Iraq it seems that the security and stability of the country has guaranteed and Iraqi forces can preserve security of the country and US combating terrorism mission has completed, but the crises in Iraq were over the imagine. ISIS or Islamic state abruptly captured Mosul the second largest city of Iraq in 10 June 2014 and bring all the attention to middle east and specially to Iraq. at first Obama's administrations respect to ISIS attacks was idol or at least wait for future happenings but when ISIS threatened Irbil the Iraqi Kurdistan capital Obama ordered bombarding ISIS bases. there is a question that what is the main ISIS consequences for US interests in Iraq? this paper examines the ISIS implications for US interests in Iraq and discuses ISIS impacts on Iraq security and stability. apparently ISIS has challenged US legacy that was based on unified, federal and democratic Iraq without terrorism and threat of energy security.

key words

ISIS, Iraq, US interests, terrorism, energy security

Introduction

Political power in the modern history of Iraq, from the time its borders were created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) until the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, was dominated by minority Sunnis. However, with the introduction of democracy in Iraq in 2003, the Shia majority has been able to secure the Prime Minister’s office at the ballot box, leaving the former Sunni governing class out in the cold.[1]Tensions in the Middle East have reached new heights as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized further control over the Northern regions of these two countries. The Sunni extremist militant group appears intent on marching towards Baghdad. For the United States, ISIS thereby presents difficult and limited policy choices. Returning US combat forces to Iraq has been rejected categorically by US President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry, preferring instead to encourage local Iraqi forces to lead counter-offensives against ISIS.[2]The ISIS threat is eroding the borders of both Iraq and Syria, and it represents an immediate and significant threat to the surrounding region. ISIS also represents an evolving threat to the United States, Europe, and global security in the form of international terrorism enabled by the group’s thousands of foreign fighters and its abundance of cash and military resources. An environment of chaos and great suffering has allowed ISIS to emerge. [3 ]

The takeover of northern and northwest Iraq by the ISIS organization , following its seizure of northeastern Syria, is further evidence of the growing strength of al-Qaeda and its affiliates as they advance towards establishment of a regional Islamic caliphate. It represents another stage in the takeover by radical jihadists exploiting the weaknesses of the central governments of weak or failing states. Seizing large territorial tracts, ISIS has gained control of infrastructures, weapons arsenals, energy sources, and bank funds, while at the same time mercilessly slaughtering members of other armies, ethnic groups, and tribes.[4] .the aim of ISIS is to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, throughout Iraq and Syria. So far, ISIS has claimed control over northern Iraq and the northeastern region of Syria. The extremist group also targets people who follow religions other than Islam, particularly Christians and the Yazidi, an ethnic minority in Iraq[5] Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel believes the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group poses an “imminent threat” to the United States and is the most dangerous threat the country has faced in years. Combining sophistication, wealth and military might, IS goes “beyond anything we’ve seen,” including Al Qaeda, Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon . "They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else,"  Hagel said. When asked whether the Sunni Muslim group pose a threat to the U.S. comparable to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hagel said IS is "as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen".[6] Failed US policy toward the Syrian conflict plays a large role in the current Iraq crisis. As the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has shown, the Iraq problem cannot be understood in isolation from Syria. This means that the United States cannot be effective in its engagement in Iraq unless it addresses both crises simultaneously.[7 ] As the United States once again ramps up involvement in Iraq, it makes sense to examine US interests and strategy while considering what might constitute realistic parameters for participation and outcome. Three factors should focus strategic thinking on the issue. First, our legacy in Iraq is poor. The dramatic inroads of Sunni Muslim extremists in Iraq have come despite, or perhaps because of, nearly 10 years of deep US involvement in the country, at a cost of thousands of Iraqi and American lives. Second, success in the current counterinsurgency mission is far from guaranteed. Even if the US-led coalition manages to defeat and disperse the Islamic State or ISIS militants, instability in Iraq and Syria is likely to continue. The splintering of Iraq into sectarian enclaves and even the eventual demise of the Iraqi nation-state remains a possibility. Third, America’s enthusiasm is low. It is unrealistic to expect another major commitment to nation-building in Iraq, let alone Syria.[8]

US interests in Iraq

The ongoing fragmentation in Iraq and Syria is the latest episode in a series of events that is shaking the foundations of today’s Middle East. The region has entered a fluid period of transition involving the growing power of non-state actors, including new Islamist extremist groups, at a time of increased competition for influence among the key countries in the region. For decades, the United States has grappled with formulating a Middle East strategy that advances both its interests and its values.[9] An important but often forgotten test for American foreign policy decisions is what is in our country's national interest. It's not about what is best for Iraq or Afghanistan or anyone else. The question is what's best for America. [10] Under President Barack Obama, the top U.S. priorities in the Middle East have included preventing a terrorist attack on the homeland; stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; ending the Iraq War; maintaining a secure flow of energy from the region; and trying to broker Arab-Israeli peace. Also, violent Salafi jihadists such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, seek to break down national borders and establish an Islamic state by force.[11] Beyond the special case of Israel, the area between the eastern Mediterranean and the Hindu Kush remains the current focus of U.S. policy. the United States has three principal interests there: to maintain a regional balance of power; to make certain that the flow of oil is not interrupted; and to defeat the Islamist groups centered there that threaten the United States.[12] US priorities in Iraq and the wider Middle East start with an interest shared by most of the world: the free flow of Iraqi crude to world markets, since oil is such a crucial component of the global economy. Beyond energy considerations, Washington still hopes for a unified, stable, and democratic Iraq that is integrated in a peaceful way with its neighbors, and that cooperates against groups and ideologies hostile to America and its interests.[13]

The most important US interests in Iraq are listed below

1.Maintaining a unified and federal Iraq. 2. Supporting increases in production and export of oil resources. 3. Promoting Iraq’s strategic independence and regional integration. 4. Countering the re-emergence of al Qaida in Iraq (AQI). 5. Supporting Iraq’s democratic institutions and trajectory.[14] thus respect to us interests ,ISIS represents an ominous threat to U.S. security if it is allowed to establish itself permanently as a state or quasi state in the heart of the Middle East. It’s easy to bemoan the tragic American foreign-policy folly of the past eleven years that has destabilized this crucial region and paved the way for this horrendous turn of events. But that doesn’t obviate the reality that those events now pose a serious threat to regional stability and the safety of the West and America.[15]





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