Iraq’s stability on the line as US, Iran tensions soar
Rising tensions in the Middle East between Iran and its allies on one side, and Israel, Saudi Arabia and other US allies on the other, are threatening the stability of various countries in the region. Just last month, the Israeli military attacked targets allied to Iran in Syria, the Palestinian-administered Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Iraq. The situation has become even more volatile now that the United States and Saudi Arabia are discussing retaliatory moves against Tehran over recent drone attacks that disrupted about half of the Kindom’s oil capacity.
Iraq, which is located right between Iran and Saudi Arabia, is starting to appear especially vulnerable in the midst of these developments. Thousands of US troops are still stationed in the country, which also houses powerful Shiite paramilitary forces linked to Iran. Analysts warn that those militias are increasingly undermining the authority of the internationally recognized Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi. According to Randa Slim of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, “regional challenges facing Iraq will make it even more difficult for Adel Abdel-Mahdi to bring the (militias) under control.” Abu Alaa al-Walae, secretary general of a prominent Iran-backed militia in Iraq, recently warned that US troops in the country are hostages. “If war breaks out, they will all be hostages of the resistance factions,” the militia leader sated.