Who rules in Iraq today ?

The U.S. military has arrested in Iraq an Iranian who it says is a member of an elite Iranian unit, called Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force, involved in training and equipping insurgents in Iraq. Yet the country’s President Jalal Talabani has blasted the U.S. for the arrest and called for his immediate release, according to a report in CNN.

Talabani said he is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, according to the report.

Talabani may be mistaken, but he is the elected President of Iraq. The appropriate course of action for the U.S. would hence be to release the Iranian detainee, out of deference to the Iraqi government.

The U.S., according to the administration in Washington, wants the elected government to take more responsibilities in Iraq, including reconciling rival groups.

By implicitly acting as if the elected government is a “puppet”, whose opinions are to be disregarded, the U.S. is contributing to the government’s falling credibility, and undermining democracy in Iraq.

Iran has meanwhile closed the border with the Kurdistan part of Iraq until the Iranian detainee is released. The border closure will likely impact economic activity in the Kurdistan region.

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