A series of articles published on line by the Washington Institute of Near east Policy has graphically shown how the Iraqi power structure, manipulated by the Iranian military and ideological leaders, has all the earmarks of becoming a total Iranian vassal state existing primarily to promote Iranian interest by military and particularly, terrorist means.
Article one is at https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/mainstreaming-hashd-commanders-part-1-advanced-education-senior-militiamen
and article two is at https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/mainstreaming-hashd-commanders-part-1-advanced-education-senior-militiamen
The gist is this: While the primary military force in Iraq is the Hashd al-Shabi ( Popular Mobilization Forces ( PMF), which is essentially an arm of the Iranian IRGC, they have been somewhat limited by the low military educational status of their leadership. This is important because by decree, the PMU is supposed to integrate within the Iraqi regular army. Some western “experts” saw this as the answer to the takeover of Iraq by the Iranian enemies of the West, in the always mistaken notion that somehow inserting a militant force into a “moderate” organization will temper the extremists. It never works that way. Always, through history, the reverse happens….. the radicals transform the “moderates” e.g., their organizations, into extremists. On an international level one sees the idiocy of this liberal shibboleth time and time again. For instance the Obama /Biden regime has been begging and conveying cash to the Iranian regime for years, hoping to entice them into a civilized ( western) world assuming they would suddenly transform into a Middle Eastern Jeffersonian democracy who would play by the rules. It will never happen. Some day they will take more cash and perhaps sign some worthless paper but they will never change…..unless of course the Diarchy of the Iranian clerical and IRGC power is destroyed from within. That will not happen in the near future…probably not for years.
The question is…….. in an essentially lawless state like Iraq why does the weak and generally useless Iraqi military hierarchy and their Iranian masters care whether the Iraqi terrorist chieftains have military higher education or not? Certainly they will not improve their terrorist skills studying the battle of Cannae or Hannibals traverse across the Italian peninsula. Nor for that matter will the higher studies improve their conventional warfare capabilities by any measurable amount. Certainly the War college level studies of most Arab counties has not improved their military leaders operational or strategic military acumen… as experience has shown. An example of the way this amalgamation of Iranian and Iraqi collusion will work has been exemplified by the very recent Iraqi-Iranian agreement in which the real motive is to insure that the Iraqis support Iranian efforts to destroy the Kurdish rebellion against the Iranian regime. The most recent Iranian peoples rebellion against the dark forces of Iran originated and were more intense in the Kurdistan region of Iran.
The reasons why the leaders of essentially lawless regimes crave some semblance of order are apparently embedded in human nature. One answer is that even in chaos, humans seek order especially in despotic or third world regimes. An example; Hitler sending his minions out into the rubble of Berlin to find a magistrate to marry him and Eva Braun shortly before their suicide. Or the security terror institutions of the Soviet regime keeping copious notes on their victims put to death on Stalin’s whims. The Moscow show trials were another example. Appearances are always maintained to influence Western leftist apologists for the regimes. These can always be found among the Western “intellectuals.”The military pretensions and legalistic aspirations of the officers of Hezbollah and PMF intertwined in obscure Islamist strictures need to be maintained. The Islamic impulse of these terror organizations are critical to their support among the masses.
Perhaps more importantly the Arab culture puts great store of educational credentials. Ahmad al Safar , a general in the Iraqi army with a PHD in Philosophy, would not be happy being known as General Al-Safar. He wants to be announced as Dr. General Al Safar. The credentials are far more important than the education received. The joke in the American army is similar to this…being selected to attend the War College is more important than going there.
So even meaningless in realist terms, nevertheless obtaining higher military educational credentials are important to the appearances and acceptability of Iraqi clones being fashioned in Iranian image.
However the tragedy of this process, i.e., turning the Iraqi military into a tool of the Iranian mullahs , can be horrendous to the stability of the Middle East, and extremely likely to the West as well, particularly in view of the weak nature of the Western leadership at this time. The use of, not only the terrorist threat of the Iraqi/Iranian combined power these regimes present, but also a new found conventional threat as well to the Gulf and Levant regions. It is a situation that must be faced now ( but will not). The oil of Iraq as well as its agricultural products and water, combined with the manpower of Iran and their clever clandestine methods of undermining governments and Winning hearts and minds of despotic rulers around the world present a formidable threat. Their insidious blackmail intimidate a pusillanimous Western leadership and fires the imagination of a third world that exults in the erosion of Western power.
As an American old soldier, I cringe at the thought that over 4500 American soldiers died to eliminate a world threat only to have it revived and probably in a more venomous form. Having read both volumes of the Iraqi War Study done by the US Army War College, ( very well done) and hundreds of other studies, articles, books etc. the blame can be shared by many in the leadership, both military and civilian of the U.S. and the corrupt inept leadership of Iraqi political leaders, but one stands out way above all others…the absence of will among American and Western leadership.. This is rarely mentioned in all these tomes detailing our mistakes.There were no Churchills or even Thatchers to lead us as we floundered and stumbled through years of hesitation, military, political, and cultural ignorance. It was not a fore ordained failure. For our debacles in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan we will pay the price in blood and treasure for decades.
It has been twenty years since the invasion/liberation of Iraq. For a couple of days the talking heads will pontificate on the failure. We will probably see the same old answers as to why we failed so miserably. In my view most are totally wrong but will address that later.