Both Syria and Iran have been making overtures towards the new Iraqi government of late. The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes tells us exactly what they are up to:
It’s clear that both Iran and Syria are trying to co-opt Iraq into their sphere on influence. Of course, the first thing Tehran and Damascus will try to get their new Iraqi friends to do is to pull the plug on the U.S. presence there. From Tehran’s and Damascus’ perspective, the fewer Americans in the region to check their plans for hegemony, the better.
But they also intend to use promises of peace and stability in Iraq as a bargaining chip in advancing other aspects of their agendas as well.
Iran wants to use Iraq as leverage to get the U.N. to back off pressuring Tehran over its nuclear (weapons) program. Tehran’s message to the U.S. and other nuclear busybodies: If you want peace and stability in Iraq, don’t push us on our nuclear program.
Syria will also try to leverage peace and stability in Iraq for an end to the U.N.’s investigation into the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus would also like a green light to re-establish its influence in Lebanon, and, perhaps, even try to get the U.S. to pressure Israel to reopen negotiations over the Golan Heights.