http://arbne.ws/NZkEOJ (Watch Video)
Anchor Omar Said of Alhurra Arabic TV Channel and Professor Emeritus Raymond Tanter of The University of Michigan and President of Iran Policy Committee Publishing discuss Iraq and Syria. They addressed the following topics: Iraqi army struggles against Islamist fighters in Anbar and Falluja, Iraq; Iraqi refugees; jailbreaks of Islamists from Iraqi prisons fill top ranks of militants in Mideast; fighters once rounded up by American forces fuel wars in both Iraq and Syria; as well as the relative power between the central government and the provinces, with a focus on allocation of oil revenues between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The discussion centered on battles between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Iraqi tribesmen fighting against ISIS, despite tensions between the tribes and Baghdad. Tanter said there were two explanations for the movement of ISIS between Iraq and Syria.
The first is that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Syrian President Bashar Assad may be colluding to enhance the terrorist threat in both countries; in the context of war against foreign terrorists, there is a strong case for both men to retain power in the face of political challenges from domestic opponents in their respective countries.
The second is that Maliki is genuinely interested in defeating ISIS, but he requires American arms and intelligence to do so. Evidence of his sincerity is how Baghdad is rearming and paying the salaries of Iraqi tribes from Anbar and Falluja to do so. But the tribesmen say they are fighting against ISIS not to help Maliki, whom they blame for stifling political opposition and only paying attention to the tribes when he is desperate for help.
If the second explanation were true, Tanter said Baghdad could benefit from rekindling the tight relationship members of the People’s Mojahedin of Organization of Iran (PMOI) had with tribesmen in Anbar and Falluja that characterized the Awakening and American political-military surge of the last decade. The PMOI members, however, are now under prison-like conditions and are neither permitted to help the tribesmen nor resettle to third countries.
Because the PMOI are treated so poorly, the first explanation of a conspiracy between Baghdad and Damascus to exacerbate the terrorist threat is likely to be true.