Is the US in Iraq because of China and not Iran?
Commenting on the growing cooperation between Iraq and China, Middle East expert Daniel J. Samet wrote an article for The Diplomat on the reasons for the US presence in Iraq.
Washington-Tehran relations have been rife with suspicion, tension and accusations for decades. Against this background, the US has justified its military presence in Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia.
In addition, despite Baghdad’s dissatisfaction , the US government maintains troops in Iraq claiming to combat terrorist groups.
In his own article written on The Diplomat portal, Daniel J. Samet analyzes what, in his view, would be the real reason why the US would not withdraw from Iraq, even with the overthrow of the Hussein family and the notable weakening of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist group.
“Yet while the United States fixates on Iranian ambitions, a far more formidable power has stepped in. Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi revealed that his country was signing on to China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Samet wrote.
Since then, according to the expert, bilateral relations between Iraq and China have been deepening, a process that has long been marked with Iraq becoming China’s third largest oil supplier and a major buyer of US defense products. Asian giant.
New Silk Road
Good relations are critical to the establishment of the New Silk Road, the economic corridors that connect China and its partners.
According to the expert, relations became so close that after China was accused of violently cracking down on its Uighur Muslim minority, Iraq made no note of protest, unlike Western countries.
“To appease the serial human rights violator, Iraq was one of the 50 countries that praised Chinese policies in Xinjiang after a UN Human Rights Council letter blasted China over its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority,” exaggerated the expert.
Thus, while the US presence in Iraq has not solved the country’s security problems and Washington continues a seemingly endless war on terrorism, China’s growing influence in Iraq would be enough for Washington to remain in the Arab country, according to Daniel Samet.
“Americans may very well be sick of Iraq following years of alarmist coverage of Saddam Hussein, sectarian violence, and Islamic State. But now is not the time to shun the country — or the region for that matter. Wherever the United States looks to disengage, Xi and his regime stand ready to fill the void,” wrote Samet.