Iraq is at a precipice, continued troop presence is necessary to prevent Iranian takeover.
Dreyfus 2010( Robert, July 6th, independent journalist in the Washington, D.C, Biden in Iraq, U.S. influence Shrinks, Iran Gains,
The good news from Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Iraq for the Fourth of July is that the United States has reaffirmed its commitment to reducing US forces to 50,000 by next month, ending the US combat role, and pulling all of its remaining forces out of Iraq by the end of next year.
That's despite pressure from hawks and neoconservatives to slow the drawdown. Of course, there is still talk about renegotiating the terms of the US withdrawal in 2011 by establishing some kind of long-term US-Iraq military agreement. Such an agreement, however, is not up to the US alone. It will also depend on what the Iraqis think, and if Iranian influence in Iraq continues to gain strength as the US departs -- as seems likely -- and if the US and Iran continue to engage in a confrontation over Tehran's nuclear program and Iran's regional role, then the likelihood of a lasting US-Iraq aliance vanishes.
In fact, Iraq has become a battleground for competing US and Iranian influence, and Iran has the upper hand.
In his visit to Iraq -- his 17th -- Biden seemed not to care who forms a government in Iraq. "He made it very clear that we have no candidates, we have no preferred outcomes, we have no plan," said an aide to Biden, on background, briefing reporters in Baghdad. Pressed repeatedly by reporters, the administration officials conducting the briefing refused to say anything about the kind of government they'd like to see take shape. All things being equal, however, it's clear that the United States would prefer that Iyad Allawi's secular, nationalist, and anti-Iran bloc, Iraqiya, have a major role, either leading the next government or in some sort of grand coalition with Prime Minister Maliki's State of Law/Dawa Party bloc. But the United States has few cards to play, and as the level of US troops declines, it will have fewer still.
Withdrawal from Iraq will create a failed state power vacuum to be filled by regional powers diminishing U.S. primacy and influence in the region.
Gygriel 09 (Jacob, July, George H.W. Bush associate professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, Vacuum Wars the coming competition over failed states, http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=622)
Another example could arise in Iraq. If the United States fails to stabilize the situation and withdraws, or even merely scales down its military presence too quickly, one outcome could be the collapse of the central government in Baghdad. The resulting vacuum would be filled by militias and other groups, who would engage in violent conflict for oil, political control and sectarian revenge. This tragic situation would be compounded if Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two regional powers with the most direct interests in the outcome, entered the fray more directly than they have so far.
In sum, there are many more plausible scenarios in which a failed state could become a playground of both regional and great power rivalry, which is why we urgently need to dust off the traditional view of failed states and consider its main features as well as its array of consequences.
The traditional view starts from a widely shared assumption that, as nature abhors vacuums, so does the international system. As Richard Nixon once said to Mao Zedong, “In international relations there are no good choices. One thing is sure—we can leave no vacuums, because they can be filled.”6 The power vacuums created by failed states attract the interests of great powers because they are an easy way to expand their spheres of influence while weakening their opponents or forestalling their intervention. A state that decides not to fill a power vacuum is effectively inviting other states to do so, thereby potentially decreasing its own relative power.
This simple, inescapable logic is based on the view that international relations are essentially a zero-sum game: My gain is your loss. A failed state creates a dramatic opportunity to gain something, whether natural resources, territory or a strategically pivotal location. The power that controls it first necessarily increases its own standing relative to other states. As Walter Lippmann wrote in 1915,the anarchy of the world is due to the backwardness of weak states; . . . the modern nations have lived in armed peace and collapsed into hideous warfare because in Asia, Africa, the Balkans, Central and South America there are rich territories in which weakness invites exploitation, in which inefficiency and corruption invite imperial expansion, in which the prizes are so great that the competition for them is to the knife.7
The threat posed by failed states, therefore, need not emanate mainly from within. After all, by definition a failed state is no longer an actor capable of conducting a foreign policy. It is a politically inert geographic area whose fate is dependent on the actions of others. The main menace to international security stems from competition between these “others.” As Arnold Wolfers put it in 1951, because of the competitive nature of international relations, “expansion would be sure to take place wherever a power vacuum existed.”8 The challenge is that the incentive to extend control over a vacuum or a failed state is similar for many states. In fact, even if one state has a stronger desire to control a power vacuum because of its geographic proximity, natural resources or strategic location, this very interest spurs other states to seek command over the same territory simply because doing so weakens that state. The ability to deprive a state of something that will give it a substantial advantage is itself a source of power. Hence a failed state suddenly becomes a strategic prize, because it either adds to one’s own power or subtracts from another’s.
Post American Withdrawal a massive power vacuum and power struggle will engulf Iraq and destroy American primacy and hegemony in the region.
Hemeid, 2010(Salah, July 28th ,Writer for Al-Ahram Weekly, No government but withdrawal, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/1008/re6.htm)
The lingering stand-off over forming a new government in Iraq has raised questions about neighbouring countries' strategies as Iraq itself slips into deeper crisis.
Tehran's interventions in Iraq are a way of confronting Washington in a foreign context, while Sunni Arab nations and Turkey are alarmed by the prospect of Iranian and Shia domination of Iraq, and are exploiting ties with Iraqi Sunnis to justify interventions in the country.
It is no secret that the regional players are now planning for the endgame and are ready to use all possible means to fill the power vacuum that will result from the US withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the US itself has been sending conflicting signals. While American officials have repeated that they intend to stick to the withdrawal schedule, they also say that withdrawal in no way reflects a decrease in American engagement with Iraq or US commitment to the Iraqis.
It is against this background that rival Iraqi groups are continuing their political brinkmanship, showing that they are prepared to hold out for as long as necessary to secure victory.
One risk that they are all ignoring is that such brinkmanship could expose Iraq to a dangerous political vacuum as it tries to emerge from civil strife and contain its sectarian divide.
Loss of U.S. troops will lead to multiple sectarian conflicts as well as an effort by many middle eastern countries, namely Iran and Syria, to shape Iraq as a territorial pawn shattering U.S. legitimacy.
Citing Assistant Proffessor Veysel Ayhan, June 11 2010 (Expert Warns U.S. withdrawal, http://www.theiraqidinar.com/expert-warns-us-withdrawal-may-have-dire-consequences-for-war-torn-iraq/)
Ayhan draws a pretty pessimistic sketch of the impact in 2012 of a probable withdrawal of the US from Iraq; he holds that such a withdrawal would lead to a bloody internal war and even regional warfare that will affect the entire region. “The SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement] signed on Nov. 17, 2008 envisages a gradual withdrawal of American forces from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
Therefore, if no unexpected developments take place, the American military presence in Iraq will be over by January 2012. It is obvious that the US failed to maintain security in this country; it is also obvious that the US failed to have a political, economic or military influence in Iraq. The state of instability and chaos in Iraq may result in the emergence of the need for further American protectionism. At this point, the increase of the American military presence in Gulf countries may be taken into consideration.”
Noting that the country is becoming more instable as the time for the withdrawal approaches, Ayhan asserts that the violent groups are preparing for warfare in the aftermath of the withdrawal. “The year 2012 points to serious uncertainties and dangers; the most visible threat and danger is that the country may be dragged into a state of internal warfare in a post-US period. The primary factor that will prevent the eruption of a bloody internal war is the American military presence in the country. … Therefore, 2012 may be the start of a bloody civil war that will lead to the partition of Iraq.”
Arguing that a wholesale withdrawal would not be proper, Ayhan asserts that Iraq would not be the same after such a withdrawal and adds that a UN intervention may be considered in such a case. Asked how Iraq would look if this scenario was realized , Ayhan speaks of two options: “Iraq may be divided into three, four or more parts. Or, other countries in the region may expand to conquer Iraqi territory. Obviously, this would not happen peacefully.”
Noting that both scenarios will closely affect a number of countries including Turkey, Ayhan stresses that the greatest danger will be witnessed when other countries in the region seek to influence Iraq in the fulfillment of their own interests and goals. “The fact that Iraq accused Syria after a deadly wave of attacks carried out in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iran’s influence over the Shiite groups in the country and Turkey’s attempt to open a consulate in the Kurdish region should be viewed as attempts by regional countries to maintain control and expand their sphere of influence in the country.”
Noting that the countries in the region do not have a common policy on Iraq, Ayhan stresses that the decisions taken at meetings of countries neighboring Iraq did not reflect the presence of a common resolution. Arguing that the countries in the region have conflicting interests with respect to Iraq, Ayhan further says: “For regional countries, it is hard to find a any common ground with respect to the future of Iraq. These countries have differing views and ambitions over the territorial integrity of Iraq, its constitutional, administrative and political order as well as the representation of religious sects in the political power.”
Noting that Turkey has stated its position most visibly with respect to Iraq’s future, Ayhan argues that some countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman, favor the territorial integrity of the country. Asked about the stance of other actors regarding this issue, Ayhan says: “The views of Kuwait, Iran and Syria on the territorial integrity of the country are ambiguous for different reasons. The Kuwaiti regime is skeptical that a strong Iraqi government may have the intention to again take control over part of its land. Iran and Syria have some doubts on the repercussions of the creation of a separate Kurdish state, whereas they are also considering the security risks involved in the foundation of a separate Shia or Sunni state. Yemen may prefer a partitioned Iraq instead of an Iraq under Shia control. Saudi Arabia may oppose the emergence of a Shiite state in Iraq because of its Shiite minority. Iran wants a controllable and manageable Iraq. It may seek to create a weak and federal Iraq to make sure that Baghdad does not become a strong player. Saddam Hussein not only declared war against Iran and Kuwait but also threatened Syria and Turkey. Therefore, the countries in the region would not like to see Iraq as a threat again.”
Speaking on the role that Turkey would assume in this process considering that it will be affected most by the developments taking place, Ayhan says the cooperation agreement signed with the Iraqi government on July 10, 2008 and the 48 additional protocols adopted are significant for the preservation of Turkish interests. “Iran sees Turkey’s eagerness to maintain dialogue with Syria and Iraq as its ambition to expand its sphere of influence. This causes tension. Iran has viewed Iraq as a rival and a threat throughout history. Therefore, it will seek to use the opportunity it got in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003.”
Noting that a number of countries including Turkey would strongly oppose the emergence of another Shiite state in the region, Ayhan argues: “It is certain that Iraq will become a venue of sectarian clashes and ethnic conflicts in the aftermath of 2012. Despite that the American administration won the war against the Saddam regime, it failed to prevent Iraq from turning into a chaotic state. US interests in this country are not over. But obviously, it will not be able to achieve its goals by relying on coercion and military power. The stabilization of Iraq will be a duty that falls to the states in the region. However, a clash of interests of those states may lead to further tension in the region.”
The opening of a consulate in the Kurdish region by Turkey should be viewed as the start of a new policy, according to Ayhan, who argues that Turkey is seeking to develop measures against developments after 2012: “Turkey is now seeking to develop ties with Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites. This means that Turkey is eager to fill the vacuum that will be left after the US withdrawal from Iraq. Turkey wants to deliver a message that it will not remain silent vis-à-vis developments turning Iraq into a satellite state by maintaining ties with the three groups in Iraq; it is also seeking to have power to influence the probable developments in this country as well.”
Ayhan continues: “The decision of the Turkish authorities to open a consulate in Arbil may lead to the elimination of the psychological barrier between the two parties and the emergence of a greater role and sphere of influence for Turkey. In such a case, Turkey will be able to have a greater influence in the country. It is also obvious that the US has made its decision on withdrawal without achieving its goals in the country. It is impossible to foresee the consequences of a probable withdrawal; however, we do not hold the expectation that such a withdrawal will lead to a more stable era and situation in Iraq.”
Iraq withdrawal spells trouble for United States hegemony and influence in the middle east and beyond
Wilson 10, (Fred, May 12th, Writer for Stratfor news, The Iraq Question, http://iraqidinarnews.net/blog/2010/05/17/stratfor-news-the-iraq-question-%E2%80%93-troop-withdrawl-51210/)
Judging from the results of the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq, the United States may have a harder time than it had previously hoped in seeing this goal through. It is now clear that the Shia will hold the upper hand over the Sunnis when it comes to dictating the terms of who gets what in the new Iraqi government, which is good news indeed in Tehran. It is not good news in Washington, which now faces the prospect of a Shia-run Baghdad – albeit with a significant Sunni population acting as a natural check – being heavily influenced by its eastern Shiite neighbor. As American foreign policy in the region is heavily centered upon maintaining balances of power (one of which, the Iran-Iraq balance, was shattered as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion), an emboldened Iran flanking its Iraqi satellite state would represent a setback for the United States.
There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view. Washington could attempt to renegotiate its Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government and prolong its military occupation of the country past 2011. In this case, it could opt for either a prolonged presence involving a large number of troops (the least preferable option in the United States’ eyes), or an extended presence with a smaller number of troops. Both scenarios would generate fierce opposition from Iran and many sectors of Iraqi society, not to mention Obama’s constituents at home. Choosing an extended occupation – assuming it got the go ahead for the renegotiation of the SOFA with Baghdad – would see the United States keeping its forces in Iraq and re-evaluating its options as time progresses.
“There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view.”
If Washington eschews both options, it could, of course, simply accept Iran as the dominant regional power. The United States’ geopolitical interests make all of these unattractive choices, however, meaning the United States could seek to alter the equation, in this case through negotiations with Iran. To do this, Washington must be prepared to give Iran credible security guarantees in exchange for a promise from Tehran to allow an independent Iraq at least a modicum of political independence.
Iran may hold the better hand at the moment, but the United States is still the global hegemon, meaning that despite being in a pretty good situation these days, the Iranian regime is anything but overly confident. The threat of war or sanctions may have subsided, but Tehran knows that its fortunes could change rapidly.
The Iranians know the United States wants to leave Iraq – sooner rather than later – and despite their bellicose rhetoric, are willing to work to accommodate the American aspiration to leave behind a relatively stable country. What Tehran desires more than anything is to guarantee its national security. It hopes it can take advantage of America’s momentary weakness to extract concessions, using its potential leverage over Iraq as its prized bargaining chip. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s routine reminders that the only way for Obama to solve his country’s problems in the Middle East is to enlist Iranian support serves to highlight this point.
Withdrawal of U.S. troops causes regional power vacuum and aids Iran in its nuclear and regional interests causing long term instability.
Continetti 2008 (Matthew, May 18th , associate editor of The Weekly Standard, The Iran challenge, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/199woivn.asp?page=2)
Thus Obama would make an offer that the Iranians have repeatedly rejected, except he would do it in person--at a historic summit, a propaganda coup for the mullahs. Only after they refused the offer--again--would Obama "ratchet up the pressure." We would be back where we started, except the Iranian regime would have denied the leader of the Great Satan's demands in person. This would not only be embarrassing. It would mean more leverage for Tehran.
Obama's "responsible, phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq" would also redound to Iran's strategic benefit. The policy would erase the security and political gains the United States and its Iraqi allies have made in the last year and a half. It would lead to more violence, not less, and to a weaker Iraqi government, not a stronger one. It would breathe new life into the radicals--many sponsored by the Iranian regime--who seek a failed state in Iraq. And Tehran would quickly move to fill any power vacuum that the Americans left behind in Iraq.
Why on earth, then, would the supreme leader of Iran, seeing the U.S. president knocking on his door--a supplicant--and U.S. troops retreating from Iraq, be moved to negotiate with the United States? By what strategic calculus would he determine that that would be the time to give up his chips?
Ah, but we have entered the Obama zone, where conditions are not conditions, where Ahmadinejad is and is not really the leader of Iran, where the Iranian Revolutionary Guards isn't a terrorist group one year but is the next, where Iran is simultaneously a "tiny" and a "grave" threat, and where the absence of American combat troops in Iraq actually increases U.S. influence in the Middle East.
Here, doves are reborn as hawks, and liberals are turned into "pragmatists." And somehow the security of America and her allies will be enhanced by inadvertently promoting the interests of her enemies.
Iran has already set up strong ties with Middle Eastern governments from Iraq to Afghanistan; it is simply waiting for the U.S. to move its military from these areas so it can fill in as regional hegemon.
Taheri,2009(Amir, May 5th, Iranian-born journalist based in Europe, and author of The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124139838660282045.html)
Convinced that the Obama administration is preparing to retreat from the Middle East, Iran's Khomeinist regime is intensifying its goal of regional domination. It has targeted six close allies of the U.S.: Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Morocco, Kuwait and Jordan, all of which are experiencing economic and/or political crises.
Iranian strategists believe that Egypt is heading for a major crisis once President Hosni Mubarak, 81, departs from the political scene. He has failed to impose his eldest son Gamal as successor, while the military-security establishment, which traditionally chooses the president, is divided. Iran's official Islamic News Agency has been conducting a campaign on that theme for months. This has triggered a counter-campaign against Iran by the Egyptian media.
Last month, Egypt announced it had crushed a major Iranian plot and arrested 68 people. According to Egyptian media, four are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Tehran's principal vehicle for exporting its revolution.
Seven were Palestinians linked to the radical Islamist movement Hamas; one was a Lebanese identified as "a political agent from Hezbollah" by the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, claimed these men were shipping arms to Hamas in Gaza.
The arrests reportedly took place last December, during a crackdown against groups trying to convert Egyptians to Shiism. The Egyptian Interior Ministry claims this proselytizing has been going on for years. Thirty years ago, Egyptian Shiites numbered a few hundred. Various estimates put the number now at close to a million, but they are said to practice taqiyah (dissimulation), to hide their new faith.
But in its campaign for regional hegemony, Tehran expects Lebanon as its first prize. Iran is spending massive amounts of cash on June's general election. It supports a coalition led by Hezbollah, and including the Christian ex-general Michel Aoun. Lebanon, now in the column of pro-U.S. countries, would shift to the pro-Iran column.
In Bahrain, Tehran hopes to see its allies sweep to power through mass demonstrations and terrorist operations. Bahrain's ruling clan has arrested scores of pro-Iran militants but appears more vulnerable than ever. King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has contacted Arab heads of states to appeal for "urgent support in the face of naked threats," according to the Bahraini media.
The threats became sensationally public in March. In a speech at Masshad, Iran's principal "holy city," Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described Bahrain as "part of Iran." Morocco used the ensuing uproar as an excuse to severe diplomatic relations with Tehran. The rupture came after months of tension during which Moroccan security dismantled a network of pro-Iran militants allegedly plotting violent operations.
Iran-controlled groups have also been uncovered in Kuwait and Jordan. According to Kuwaiti media, more than 1,000 alleged Iranian agents were arrested and shipped back home last winter. According to the Tehran media, Kuwait is believed vulnerable because of chronic parliamentary disputes that have led to governmental paralysis.
As for Jordan, Iranian strategists believe the kingdom, where Palestinians are two-thirds of the population, is a colonial creation and should disappear from the map -- opening the way for a single state covering the whole of Palestine. Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both described the division of Palestine as "a crime and a tragedy."
Arab states are especially concerned because Tehran has succeeded in transcending sectarian and ideological divides to create a coalition that includes Sunni movements such as Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, sections of the Muslim Brotherhood, and even Marxist-Leninist and other leftist outfits that share Iran's anti-Americanism.
Information published by Egyptian and other Arab intelligence services, and reported in the Egyptian and other Arab media, reveal a sophisticated Iranian strategy operating at various levels. The outer circle consists of a number of commercial companies, banks and businesses active in various fields and employing thousands of locals in each targeted country. In Egypt, for example, police have uncovered more than 30 such Iranian "front" companies, according to the pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Alawsat. In Syria and Lebanon, the numbers reportedly run into hundreds.
In the next circle, Iranian-financed charities offer a range of social and medical services and scholarships that governments often fail to provide. Another circle consists of "cultural" centers often called Ahl e Beit (People of the House) supervised by the offices of the supreme leader. These centers offer language classes in Persian, English and Arabic, Islamic theology, Koranic commentaries, and traditional philosophy -- alongside courses in information technology, media studies, photography and filmmaking.
Wherever possible, the fourth circle is represented by branches of Hezbollah operating openly. Where that's not possible, clandestine organizations do the job, either alone or in conjunction with Sunni radical groups.
The Khomeinist public diplomacy network includes a half-dozen satellite television and radio networks in several languages, more than 100 newspapers and magazines, a dozen publishing houses, and thousands of Web sites and blogs controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The network controls thousands of mosques throughout the region where preachers from Iran, or trained by Iranians, disseminate the Khomeinist revolutionary message.
Tehran has also created a vast network of non-Shiite fellow travelers within the region's political and cultural elites. These politicians and intellectuals may be hostile to Khomeinism on ideological grounds -- but they regard it as a powerful ally in a common struggle against the American "Great Satan."
Khomeinist propaganda is trying to portray Iran as a rising "superpower" in the making while the United States is presented as the "sunset" power. The message is simple: The Americans are going, and we are coming.
Tehran plays a patient game. Wherever possible, it is determined to pursue its goals through open political means, including elections. With pro-American and other democratic groups disheartened by the perceived weakness of the Obama administration, Tehran hopes its allies will win all the elections planned for this year in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
"There is this perception that the new U.S. administration is not interested in the democratization strategy," a senior Lebanese political leader told me. That perception only grows as President Obama calls for an "exit strategy" from Afghanistan and Iraq. Power abhors a vacuum, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is only too happy to fill.