One week after we reported that the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard (which two weeks ago was designated by the US as a terrorist organization), Qassem Soleimani, was observed in Erbil last Sunday where he met with Kurdistan regional president Barzani to “discuss” the growing crisis – the latest indication of Iran’s surging influence in the region – and just days before Iraq sent in troops assisted by Iranian militia into Iraq’s Kurdish region, which promptly regained control over the oil-rich Kirkuk region, on Sunday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iranian “militias” need to leave Iraq as the fight against Islamic State militants was coming to an end.
‘Certainly Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fighting against (the Islamic State group) is coming to a close, those militias need to go home,’ Tillerson said during a press conference in Riyadh, where the U. S. diplomat is holding talks with top Gulf officials. “All foreign fighters need to go home,’ he added hopefully, quoted by NRT.
Tillerson’s Gulf visit came as part of concerted efforts to curb Iran’s rapidly expanding influence in the region, including boosting the clout of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in Shiite-majority Iraq, where Iran backs Shia militias fighting in the north – part of a wider regional battle for influence that extends from Syria to Yemen – even as there was scant hope of a breakthrough in attempts to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.