Small Wars Journal

Senate Hearing: US Must Maintain a Strong Diplomatic and Military Presence in Iraq to Counter Iran’s Influence

Senate Hearing: US Must Maintain a Strong Diplomatic and Military Presence in Iraq to Counter Iran’s Influence by Apoorva Mittal - Military Times

To counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, the U.S. must maintain a strong diplomatic and military presence in neighboring Iraq, experts from the State Department and the Pentagon said at the first Senate hearing on Near East subcommittee Tuesday.

Over the years, Iran has expanded control in the Middle East region by investing heavily in Iraq, according to Joan Polaschik, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.

The U.S. spent $20 billion between 2003 and 2011 on the Iraqi military, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rise of the Islamic State group and its attacks against Iraq, which required spending another $5 billion, Michael P. Mulroy, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He noted that expenditure on U.S. troops in Iraq had gone down from $150 billion years in 2008 to $15 billion in 2019…

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