Iraq between the US and Iranian escalation

Iraq between the US and Iranian escalation

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Shatha Khalil *
The Iraqi economy is lagging behind, lacks the development industry and improvement , depends on the financing of the budget mainly on oil imports, so it has become to depend heavily on imports, especially from Iran.
Iran is the most important trading partner for Iraq, and the trade balance is estimated at $ 12 billion, where Iraq depends on supplying gas and electricity from Iran, and freezing them it means that Iraq is entering a real crisis. The public could come out into the street just it did months ago in Basra.

Relations between the United States and Iran have witnessed a significant escalation in recent months against the backdrop of Washington imposing economic sanctions on Iran, classifying its Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist and sending a group of warships led by the Abraham Lincoln carrier with B52 bombers to the Gulf region for “Iranian threats” to US forces and their allies.

Iraq a mediator between Washington and Tehran:
Iraq stressed the need to be wise and rational in dealing with recent developments in the region, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, said Iraq’s quest for mediation between the United States and Iran to push for calm, but there is no Iraqi party wants to push things in the direction of war between them.

Iraq will continue to move the mediation of countries in the region to avoid conflicts, including Russia, which mediates to resolve the crisis, as well as Qatar, Switzerland, Oman and Japan, and Iraq works to activate mediation.
But is Iraq’s neutrality sufficient to protect its economy, and even its policy emerging from the external repercussions of the US and Iran, as they both have influence in Iraq, will Iraq become the arena for the settlement and lose balance between the two forces?!
Here, we must emphasize the need for Iraq to seek economic alternatives, and Saudi Arabia should be able to gradually free from dependence on Iran.

US threats to Iran come into force:
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump’s decision to “drive Iran’s oil exports to zero” came into effect after a deadline from Washington for a number of countries to refrain from importing Tehran’s oil, increasing the economic difficulties facing Iran, with dependence on oil as a major source of foreign inflows. .
On the other hand, the administration of US President Donald Trump sends mediators across Iraq to Iran, where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he sent Iran a warning message during a hastily arranged visit to Baghdad last month that any attack by Tehran or one of its agents leads to one American death, it would lead to a US military counter-attack, but Iran has refused to negotiate with Washington “under pressure and sanctions that it sees as surrendering and making concessions.

In the same context, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said that his country would implement the second step of reducing its commitments in the nuclear agreement if the partners of the agreement did not implement their commitments during the remainder of the 60-day deadline announced by Iran earlier.
“The sanctions imposed by America failed, and as we were told by foreign officials, it recognizes the failure, and this is a great work done by Iran.”
Rouhani added, “The measures we are taking to reduce our commitments to the nuclear deal are the lowest that can be done within the framework of the agreement, and Iran has reduced its commitments not only because the other side withdrew from the agreement but to target it as the basis of the agreement to impose sanctions on the Iranian people,”.

Iranian mined messages in multiple directions:
The Hebrew newspaper “Haaretz” in an article by author Zvi Bariel , ponted out , “The Katyusha rocket that exploded near the US Embassy in Baghdad, turned Iraq immediately to be a new point of the collision course between Washington and Tehran,” believing that “the missile attributed to the forces or militias in favor of Tehran, a message to the US administration and the Iraqi government that they are not subject to US pressure. ”
“The American pressure is working on two tracks,” the newspaper said. “We are only pointing to the first, which confirms Washington’s desire to separate Iraq’s economy from Iran’s economy, thus closing the expected gap in sanctions on Iran , it is an attempt to enable US forces to use Iraq’s territories as a platform to launch attacks against Tehran in case the confrontation has gone to violent tracks. ”
Iran’s recent sabotage operations have serious consequences, not only on the existing situation between Iran and the countries of the region, but will also disrupt international shipping, hit the global economy and threaten the security of world oil supplies.

The international trade is in a real crisis after the targeting of ships in Fujairah. Its effects could threaten the stability of the international economy if the geopolitical risks in the region escalate, making the alarm sound, all possibilities are possible, either the calm or the situation worsens in the coming period, leading to the highest levels, in addition to the high cost of insurance for ships passing in the region in the event of escalation of sabotage, which will also have negative effects on the rise of prices.
The region has about one-third of the world’s oil production, which means that tensions will have significant consequences for oil prices to record levels, and the high cost of insurance for oil tankers, and there must be international intervention through political channels and diplomacy.
These threats will not be in the interest of Iran in the first place, because the beneficiary of trade from the Arabian Gulf is the most promising markets in Asia, including China, India, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and others, unlike the United States, which has decreased its need for oil and started exporting, this means antagonizing the international community, a development in which no party wants to place itself.

In conclusion, the drums of war between Iran and the United States do not seem to be close to the Iraqi scene, even with the fact that the two countries retain considerable power and influence there, suggesting the prospect of violent conflict because there is a network of interests and mechanisms of cooperation or a controlled confrontation between the two parties, and obviously both invest in this type of pragmatic relationship, which maintained the balance of their interests even with the acceptance of percentage of profit or loss for both.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies