Shadow Government

A front-row seat to the Republicans' debate over foreign policy, including their critique of the Biden administration.

The U.S. Shouldn’t Collaborate With Iran on Iraq

As the Obama administration decides how to respond to the latest crisis in Iraq, one question that has come up is how to respond to Iran’s offer to collaborate with the United States on the matter. Official U.S. reactions have been mixed, and initial discussions have reportedly already taken place on the margins of the ...

By , a senior fellow and the managing director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

As the Obama administration decides how to respond to the latest crisis in Iraq, one question that has come up is how to respond to Iran's offer to collaborate with the United States on the matter. Official U.S. reactions have been mixed, and initial discussions have reportedly already taken place on the margins of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations in Vienna. In Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, however, I argued that it would be a mistake for the United States to embrace Iran's offer to collaborate, or even to create the appearance that we are doing so through prominent bilateral talks on the matter. Not only will further Iranian involvement do little to stem Iraq's crisis -- it could also make matters worse. As I note in the column, the US should want to see less, not more, Iranian involvement in regional conflicts, given Tehran's history of sowing instability and supporting terrorism.

As the Obama administration decides how to respond to the latest crisis in Iraq, one question that has come up is how to respond to Iran’s offer to collaborate with the United States on the matter. Official U.S. reactions have been mixed, and initial discussions have reportedly already taken place on the margins of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations in Vienna. In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, however, I argued that it would be a mistake for the United States to embrace Iran’s offer to collaborate, or even to create the appearance that we are doing so through prominent bilateral talks on the matter. Not only will further Iranian involvement do little to stem Iraq’s crisis — it could also make matters worse. As I note in the column, the US should want to see less, not more, Iranian involvement in regional conflicts, given Tehran’s history of sowing instability and supporting terrorism.

Michael Singh is a senior fellow and the managing director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was a senior director for Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. Twitter: @MichaelSinghDC

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.