Internally, the three major partners in the "political process" are no less Machiavellian in their exploiting of the al-Qaeda card. The self--ruled northern Iraqi Kurdistan region, which counts down for the right timing for secession, could not be but happy with the preoccupation of the central government in Baghdad with the "al--Qaeda threat." Pro-Iran Shiite sectarian parties and militias use this threat to strengthen their sectarian bond and justify their loyalty to Iran as their protector. Their Sunni sectarian rivals are using the threat to promote themselves as the "alternative" to al-Qaeda in representing the Sunnis and to justify their seeking financial, political and paramilitary support from the U.S., GCC and Turkey, allegedly to counter the pro-Iran sectarian government in Baghdad as well as the expanding Iranian influence in Iraq and the region.
Exploiting his partners' inter-fighting, Iraqi two--term Prime Minister Nouri (or Jawad) Al-Maliki, has maneuvered to win a constitutional interpretation allowing him to run for a third term and, to reinforce his one-man show of governance, he was in Washington D.C. last November, then in Tehran the next December, seeking military "help" against the "al-Qaeda threat" and he got it.
U.S. Continues War by Proxy
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged to support al-Maliki's military offensive against al--Qaeda and its offshoot the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) .
24 Apache helicopter with rockets and other equipment connected to them, 175 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, ScanEagle and Raven reconnaissance drones have either already been delivered or pending delivery, among a $4.7 billion worth of military equipment, including F-16 fighters. James Jeffrey reported in Foreign Policy last Monday that President Barak Obama's administration is "increasing intelligence and operational cooperation with the Iraqi government." The French Le Figaro reported early this week that "hundreds" of U.S. security personnel will return to Iraq to train Iraqis on using these weapons to confirm what the Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, did not rule out on last January 17 when he said that "we are in continuing discussions about how we can improve the Iraqi military."
Kerry ruled out sending "American boots" on the Iraqi ground; obviously he meant "Pentagon boots," but not the Pentagon--contracted boots.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) online on this February 3 reported that the "U.S. military support there relies increasingly on the presence of contractors." It described this strategy as "the strategic deployment of defense contractors in Iraq." Citing State Department and Pentagon figures, the WSJ reported, "As of January 2013, the U.S. had more than 12,500 contractors in Iraq," including some 5,000 contractors supporting the American diplomatic mission in Iraq, the largest in the world.
It is obvious that the U.S. administration is continuing its war on Iraq by the Iraqi ruling proxies who had been left behind when the American combat mission was ended in December 2011. The administration is highlighting the "al-Qaeda threat" as casus belli as cited Brett McGurk's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on this February 8.