U.S. Striking On Iraqi Terrorists Could Be Seen As Helping Iran: Experts

U.S. President Barack Obama is faced with a dilemma as Iraq spins out of control, and there are no good options.

At issue is what to do about the al-Qaida-inspired radicals surging through northern Iraq, wreaking havoc and reportedly beheading hundreds if not thousands of victims.

Obama has suggested using U.S. air power against the terrorists, but the move could cause the U.S. to be seen as supporting what many in Iraq see as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's pro-Iranian and anti-Sunni stance.

In essence, air strikes would make the Unite States appear to some as indirectly siding with long-time U.S. foe Iran, as many in Iraq perceive al-Maliki as taking orders from the Islamic republic, experts said.

Indeed, since Saddam Hussein was ousted as Iraqi president in 2003, Iran has been locked in a struggle for regional dominance against the United States and Saudi Arabia, and giving Tehran more of a foothold in Iraq is exactly what the White House does not want to do, experts said.

But at the same time, there is pressure on the White House to act, as many fear terrorists could use Iraq as a base to strike the Unite States, much the same as when al-Qaida used Afghanistan to plan the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks against New York and Washington, pundits and analysts said.

Adding to the complexity, however, is that among the mix of fighters on the ground are some anti-government tribal groups who may be fighting under the banner of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a splinter group of al-Qaida. The radical militants are continuing their advances after seizing swathes of five provinces in northern and western Iraq in the past two weeks.

Back in Washington, some Republicans are foaming at the mouths that Iraq has gotten to this point.

"Their concern is that Obama (was perceived to) drag his feet so long that it got to this point," Republican strategist Ford O' Connell told Xinhua.

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