During Obama Years, Biden Reportedly Helped Soleimani, Iran Gain More Power in Middle East
Stephen Maturen / Getty ImagesDemocratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on Jan. 3, 2020, in Independence, Iowa.
(Stephen Maturen / Getty Images)By Ben Marquis
Published January 6, 2020 at 6:47pmShare on FacebookTweetEmailPrint
Following the targeted airstrike to take out top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, prominent Democrats and establishment media figures criticized President Donald Trump for ordering the strike.
One of those critics of Trump’s justifiable killing of Soleimani was former Vice President Joe Biden, a top 2020 presidential candidate, who said in a statement that the president’s decision was akin to having “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” a move that threatened to escalate conflict and chaos in an already chaotic environment.
Obviously left unmentioned in Biden’s statement, however, was the particular role that he himself had played in helping to create the chaotic “tinderbox” that is Iraq, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
As it turns out, Biden played a significant role in the process that allowed Iran to more fully exert its influence on the Iraqi government and render that nation something of a puppet state to the Iranian regime in Tehran, which occurred around the time that then-President Barack Obama was precipitously withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq.
Biden is alleged to have urged a secular pro-America politician at the time to step aside and allow somebody else, a more religious and pro-Iran leader, to step up in his place.
That revelation was included in a lengthy and admittedly fascinating profile of Soleimani from 2013 in The New Yorker — which has received renewed attention in the wake of his death — that documented the Iranian general’s rise to power and the scope of his control over the broader Middle East through a host of interviews with a variety of current and former top officials in a number of different countries.
In 2010, pro-American Iraqi politician Ayad Allawi helped his party win a majority of seats in the Iraqi Parliament, but was forced to step down from a bid to become prime minister after allegedly being told to do so by Biden.
Allawi told The New Yorker that he would have had no problems building a majority government and being prime minister if he’d had the backing of the U.S. government. He claims that he was instead informed directly by Biden that “you can’t form a government” and was pushed aside in favor of Nuri Al-Maliki, who had essentially been handpicked during behind-the-scenes negotiations involving Soleimani.
A key sticking point of Soleimani’s negotiations that involved Iraqi Shiites and the Kurds was that “no Americans” could remain in the country. One unnamed former Iraqi politician told The New Yorker that Soleimani “completely outmaneuvered” the Americans, while “in public they were congratulating themselves for putting the government together.”
According to Allawi, the Americans only wanted to stay in Iraq if their involvement could be kept to a minimum, and the moves by Soleimani to install Maliki over Allawi seemed to provide an easy out for the Obama administration.
“I needed American support,” Allawi recalled. “But they wanted to leave, and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony.”
Which brings us back full-circle to today. Iraq became a puppet state of Iran in large part because of Biden and Obama’s refusal to back a pro-American leader, mostly because they didn’t want to deal with any potential trouble they might have encountered from continued Iranian-backed resistance from the Soleimani-organized Shiite militias.
Bear in mind also that all of this was occurring while the Obama administration was secretly negotiating the eventual Iran nuclear deal. Staying in Iraq and supporting a pro-America Iraqi leader would undoubtedly have made those negotiations far more difficult, if not impossible to advance to a conclusion.
In other words, this alleged instance of Biden and Obama bowing to the whims of the Iranian regime is but one example of many of how the last administration ceded influence and power to Iran.
Now that Iran has tacitly taken over Iraq, thanks in part to Biden and Obama, Biden wants to complain about how Trump has taken action to reduce that influence and power and protect our nation’s substantial investment in Iraq.
Don’t think for one moment that Trump will let this pass if Biden ultimately wins his party’s nomination in 2020, as what Biden and Obama did — and more to the point, did not do — in Iraq will become a weapon in Trump’s favor to be used against the former vice president.