US President Barack Obama’s plans for Iran, which were spectacularly challenged by Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress speech Tuesday, March 3, weres manifested 10,000 kilometers from Washington in the firestorm over Tikrit, the important Sunni town north of Baghdad. There, Iranian-led Iraqi troops are on the offensive against the Islamic State in the biggest ground battle fought in Iraq since the Iraqi army fell apart and scattered last June against the conquering Islamist march through western and central Iraq.
For four reasons, this battle is loaded with ramifications for Obama’s Iran policy and the Islamic Republic’s drive for recognition as the leading Middle East power:
1. For Tehran it is a high-stake gamble for prestige, Its top military strategist, Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was thrown into the Tikrit operation, to become the first high-ranking general Iran has ever placed publicly up front in direct command of a key battle as a guarantee of its success.
3. The United States has no military input in the battle – neither US advisers on the ground nor aerial bombardment. On Tuesday, March 3, while Netanyahu was advising Congress in reference to the relative merits of radical Iran and ISIS that “the enemy of your enemy is the enemy,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed some of the Obama administration’s thinking on the subject.
4. The role Obama has assigned Iran in the two embattled Middle East countries bears directly on the scope of his concessions in the bargaining for a comprehensive nuclear deal.
Full article: Obama’s Iranian-nuclear strategy brings dividend: Rev Guards lead military assault on Tikrit (DEBKAfile)