Iran's Shortsighted Policies in Iraq: Between Inflaming and Containing of Radical Sunni Islam: 2003–2015

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The main goal of the 2003 war with Iraq of the coalition forces led by the United States was to topple Saddam Hussein's regime and establish a new political system that would adopt democratic practices. Iran, a country that deemed Saddam's regime to be a threat, considered this war to be very helpful in many ways — first because it put an end to Clinton's “dual containment” approach and would thus help Iran to become a regional superpower at Iraq's expense. Second, a war with Iraq could put an end to the decades of oppression of the Shi'a community in Iraq. This article argues that Iran's involvement in Iraq's internal affairs created chaos in Iraq and contributed to the sectarian conflict against Sunni terror groups, notably the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known by the Arabic name Daesh, a terror group with the most extreme form of Sunni Radical Islam ever known. The sectarian conflict that resulted from the above is now taking place between the Sunnis and the Shi'a of both Persian and Arab backgrounds and this clash could not have become as radical as it is without Iran's aggressive foreign policy. It should, however, be noted that Iran is not the sole player in the country and therefore its part in inflaming sectarian conflicts should be viewed through a realistic prism that allows other forces — domestic and foreign — to be seen as having influenced the events for their benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-52
Number of pages19
JournalDomes : digest of Middle East studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Daesh
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Shi'a
  • Sunnis


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