The United States military will begin focusing on countering Iran in the Middle East now that ISIS has been defeated and largely expelled from Iraq, a senior U.S. diplomat said Monday.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman said that the main objective would be to roll back Iranian influence.
“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” Silliman said. “The Iranians have — to some extent — assisted the government of Iraq in defeating ISIS,” he said, using an alternative acronym for IS. “But frankly I have not seen the Iranians donating money for humanitarian assistance, I have not seen them contributing to the U.N. stabilization program.”
Iran has steadily gained influence — in Iraq, in Syria and in Lebanon — in the years since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.
That influence grew as Iranian-supplied proxies helped battle ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.
“Iraq is coming out of a difficult period where there had been a lot of economic destruction, lots of social disruption and we think that it is important for Iraq to have good, positive relationships with all of its neighbors, and Iran is included in that,” Silliman said. [source]
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