By David Dolan
Israeli political and military leaders are keeping a wary eye on developments in Iraq after President Barack Obama announced that all remaining 39,000 American combat troops will be pulled out of the country by the end of the year.
Concern remains high in Jerusalem that the anti-Western Shiite Muslim regime ruling Iran may take advantage of the US pullout to step up Tehran’s influence over its majority Shiite neighbor. This comes in the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent statement that Iran has what he termed “special relations” with Iraq and might take over America’s role over the past eight years of arming and training Iraqi military forces once US troops are removed from the Arab country.
The Iranian leader said his regime would “wait for a decision from the Iraqi government” as to whether or not it wants Iranian assistance in arming and training its military forces, which unlike in the days of Saddam Hussein, now contain many Shiite personnel.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently warned Iran not to “miscalculate our continuing commitment to and with the Iraqi people.”
Iraq pullout blinds U.S. intel operations - UPI
Huge U.S. air base returned to Iraqi control - Reuters
Iranian Influence Seeping Into Iraq - ABC News
UK expects Israeli attack on Iran next month with US logistical support - DEBKAfile
US Iraq Withdrawal May Tempt Iran to Fill Void - VOA