Iran has reportedly offered to help the Iraqi government fight “al Qaeda terrorists” in the Anbar province, where radicalism and sectarian fighting have reared their ugly heads. Western media outlets have reported on this story without comment, as if Iran was simply offering to help a neighbor in need, or trying to play a responsible role in the international community.
Iran’s offer is far from disingenuous; it is a gross distortion of history. During the Iraq war, Iran was actually responsible for arming sectarian fighters, and was directly responsible for the deaths of countless Iraqis and U.S. forces.
In 2007, high-ranking U.S. Army and intelligence officials said there was conclusive proof that Iran was responsible for sending new, highly lethal IEDs into Iraq. Maybe Iran didn’t send these devices to Al-Qaeda operatives, but they did send them into Iraq to increase sectarian violence, kill U.S. troops, Iraqi fighters and civilians, and to help ensure that peace never came to Iraq.
Yet now, Iran is willing to do all it can to end the violence and sectarian warfare in Iraq. There are many other problems with Tehran’s “offer,” but Iran must not be allowed to rewrite history. Perhaps Iran is interested in helping build an Iraq that it can exert its influence on, but history shows that it is not interested in building a peaceful, free Iraq.