ASSESSMENTS

Forging an Iraqi Version of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

MIN READJun 3, 2016 | 09:00 GMT

Empowering Iraq's Shiite militias could help Iran tighten its grip on the neighboring country, if it can outmaneuver opposing Iraqi factions.

(SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

A look at Iraq's long border with Iran explains why influence in Baghdad tips decidedly in Tehran's favor. Winding through Shiite-majority territory, the borderland is a terrain in which Iran has ample military and political influence. Though varyingly a foe, ally or competitor of Iraq, Iran has, in the absence of Saddam Hussein, used the power vacuum created by his demise to build up a firm network of political and military ties in the country. It has always been Iran's strategy to create Iraqi Shiite militias mirroring its own forces to maintain and broaden Iran's sway in Iraq. So far, building an Iraqi equivalent to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been out of reach, but Iranian sources in favor of the idea have been speaking of it more frequently....

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