Flashpoints

EU supports Iraq-proposed conference on US-Iran tensions

BAGHDAD — The European Union supports an Iraqi proposal to hold a regional conference amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, the group’s foreign policy chief said Saturday.

Iraq is an ally of the two rival nations, which are on a collision course as the Iran nuclear deal threatens to unravel. Iraq has offered to mediate between Tehran and Washington, while Iran has pressed European parties to the nuclear agreement to offset the effects of U.S. sanctions.

Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, on her first visit since 2014, said the EU shared with Iraq the approach to dealing with the difficult situation, adding that the priority is to avoid escalation and any miscalculations that could lead to "dangerous consequences" for Iraq and beyond.

She said the EU is ready to support the regional conference idea "in all ways that could be useful." She said there is a need to de-escalate and find avenues for dialogue.

Avenues of the "unknown ... can be dangerous for everybody," Mogherini said.

How would Iran's military fare in an armed conflict with the U.S.? In this Feb, 11, 2019, file photo, Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
What war with Iran could look like

Military Times interviewed more than a dozen military experts, including current and former U.S. military officials, about how a conflict might begin and how it could play out. This is what they said could happen:

Iraq is under pressure to prevent its territories from becoming a battleground for the spiraling tension between Iran and the U.S., both power brokers here.

The U.S. maintains military bases and more than 5,000 troops in Iraq.

Iran backs powerful Iraqi militia groups, who played a key role in fighting Islamic State militants, and some of them are openly against U.S. presence in Iraq. A series of unclaimed attacks on U.S. interests in recent weeks caused jitters and sparked Iraqi government decrees clearly designed to prevent a confrontation in its territories.

"The region is not prepared for a new war. We are still fighting terrorism. It is an unfinished war," said Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim, speaking alongside Mogherini. He said Iraq should not be a scene for this conflict "but should have a supportive role in resolving this crisis with other Arab countries, particularly Kuwait and Oman."

In this May 29, 2016, file photo, Iraqi security forces and allied Popular Mobilization forces fire artillery during fight against Islamic State militants in Fallujah, Iraq. (Anmar Khalil/AP)
Once again, Iraq caught up in tensions between US and Iran

When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside.

The Emir of Kuwait visited Iraq last month to discuss the rising tension; while Oman has also offered to mediate between the two rivals.

Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said the idea of a regional conference is being developed but the issue was raised with foreign delegations that visited Iraq.

Mogherini also met with Iraq’s prime minister and president.

Recommended for you
Around The Web
Comments