James Mattis

NCRI - The Trump administration is trying to increase its support of al-Abadi and appease the Iraqi figures known to keep their distance from Tehran in order to gain more favor for US-offered options.

In an article titled ‘American soft diplomacy to move al-Abadi away from Tehran’, the London-based al-Arab newspaper writes on February 22: “in his visit to Iraqi capital, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis made comments which, unlike Trump’s, seemed to use proper words with regard to Iraqi oil. Informed Iraqi circles believe that Mattis’s comments suggest a soft US diplomacy aimed at appeasing Abadi and encouraging him to cut relations with Tehran. This move is considered as part of a Washington’s scenario to pull Iraq out of Iranian hegemony while staying away from Trump’s harsh and controversial remarks.”

“A source in Abadi’s office revealed to the newspaper that Iraq’s case has been taken from Joe Biden, US Vice President under Obama, and given over to the next Secretary of Defense. According to the case, the first priority in Iraq is defeating ISIS and that US special troops play a bigger role in containing pro-Iran al-Hashd al-Shabi militias”, added the newspaper.

“Concerned about Iran’s influence at the last minute, Mattis is taking the last steps to pave the way for completely defeating ISIS”, writes Al-Arab.

According to the article, “the Trump administration tries to openly support al-Abadi and appease Iraqi figures known to keep their distance from Tehran, so that it can expand the circle of supporters of reducing Iran’s influence. This could include Shiite figures like Muqtada al-Sadr as well as Sunni ones and prominent leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan region.”

“Mattis’s visit to Iraq comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of a ground offensive against Isis in western Mosul”, writes Al-Arab, concluding the article.