US Eclipsed in Fight Against IS

US Eclipsed in Fight Against ISUS Eclipsed in Fight Against IS

The Associated Press wrote in an article on Monday that the Iraqi people see Iran's role in the fight against the self-declared Islamic State (IS) militant group greater than the US-led coalition of regional and international forces.

"In the eyes of most Iraqis, their country's best ally in the war against the Islamic State group is not the United States and the coalition air campaign against the militants. It's Iran, which is credited with stopping the extremists' march on Baghdad," the article said, adding, "Airstrikes by the US-led coalition have helped push back the militants in parts of the north, including breaking a siege of a Shiite town. But many Iraqis believe the Americans mainly want to help the Kurds. Airstrikes helped Kurdish forces stop extremists threatening the capital of the Kurdish autonomous zone, Irbil, in August. But even that feat is accorded by many Iraqis to a timely airlift of Iranian arms to the Kurds."

Two to three Iranian military aircraft a day land at Baghdad airport, bringing in weapons and ammunition, the AP claimed.

The article said, "Iran's most potent military force and best known general — the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Qods Force and its commander General Qasem Soleimani — are organizing Iraqi forces and have become the de facto leaders of Iraqi Shiite militias that are the backbone of the fight."

The AP also claimed that Iran carried out airstrikes to help push militants from an Iraqi province on its border. Iranian officials have denied any operation by the fighter jets of the air force against IS positions in Iraq.

Elsewhere, the article claimed over the past year, Iran sold Iraq nearly $10 billion worth of weapons and hardware, mostly weapons for urban warfare like assault rifles, heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers.

  Strategic Necessity

It also quoted Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi as saying during a trip to Tehran last week that Iran's help against the militants is a "strategic necessity" for Iraq.

The AP further made a reference to the recent comments by US top military officer General Martin Dempsey on Thursday that Iran has played a "positive" role in Iraq in the fight against IS.

Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraqi leaders had kept the US informed about Iranian activities against IS. So far, he said, those operations have not threatened US troops or their mission.

Dempsey also said, "If it is a path that ties the two countries (Iran and Iraq) more closely together economically or even politically, as long as the Iraqi government remains committed to inclusivity of all the various groups inside the country, then I think Iranian influence will be positive."