In 2020 and 2021, the United States spent over $600 million on foreign aid in Iraq. That’s down from a high of over $2 billion in 2018 and $4.4 billion in 2016. But it still means that we have blown through over $10 billion on Iraq since 2016. That’s long since we officially withdrew.
Meanwhile, where was Iraq’s money going? Iraq’s latest budget dedicates$2.8 billion to Shiite PMU terror militias including Kataeb Hezbollah: an Iran-backed terror group that has been responsible for the deaths of numerous American soldiers. At the height of the Iraq War, Kataeb Hezbollah was using Iranian IEDs to kill American soldiers. Kataeb Hezbollah is listed as a foreign terrorist organization which makes it a crime for Americans to fund it. But that hasn’t stopped the Biden administration from providing massive amounts of foreign aid to Iraq. While some U.S. conflicts with Jihadists in the region are old news, Kataeb Hezbollah fired rockets at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in 2019, and has bombed U.S. bases in recent years. Kataeb Hezbollah killed two American soldiers in 2020: Army Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias and Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts. Politicians and the media have mostly ignored the fact that Americans are continuing to be killed in Iraq, that the Iraqi government is funding their killers, and that we’re funding Iraq. While Iraq funds Iran’s terror militias, the United States funds the UN Development Programme to “stabilize” Iraq and has invested over $100 million into “conflict, peace and security” funding. The United States has spent over $1 billion financing the nation’s military while Iraq spends billions financing the Iranian PMU terror militias which are expected to approach a quarter of million Jihadis. The rise of ISIS provided the Shiite regime running Iraq with the perfect excuse for discarding the ISF military built by the U.S. and turning over security to Shiite terror groups. The foreign policy establishment claims that we need to fund the Iraqi military as a counterbalance to Iran’s PMU militias, but that just allowed Iraq’s government to shift even more defense funding to the Shiite terror groups. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani and his government were backed by the PMU’s and are turning them into an even bigger army. That’s not surprising since al-Sudani is a second generation member of a Shiite Islamist movement loyal to Iran’s Islamic Revolution. The Shiite Coordination Framework, which is behind the Sudani government, is filled with Shiite Islamists groups with their own militias. For example, the Badr alliance, created by Iran, controls both sizable chunks of Iraq’s military and police forces, as well as one of the larger militias, and has a sizable presence in Iraq’s parliament. Iraqi democracy consists of Shiite blocs, some Islamists, some fronted by former leaders like Maliki, fighting each other for power and competing for Iran’s favor. Iran has helped them set up militias that, in imitation of Iran’s IRGC and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, also control large portions of the economy, running their own businesses, scoring construction contracts and oil deals. The foreign policy establishment has refused to acknowledge that Iraq has long since become an Islamic terror state under the political control of Iran and that the only reason it isn’t more of a threat is the constant infighting between the Shiite majority which often turns violent. If Iraq’s Shiite Islamists were ever united under a single leader, like Muqtada Al-Sadr, a perennial player, it will become as much of a threat to the region and the world as Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Instead, we keep sinking more money into Iraq in the hope of a better outcome. Iraq, until recently, was on the list of the top 5 recipients of U.S. foreign aid. And the Baghdad regime continues to come up with new ways to extract money from U.S. taxpayers. Last month, Prime Minister Al-Sudani claimed that the Islamic terror state was going green and pleaded for foreign aid to save the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which according to media accounts, was blamed on “climate change”. In fact, the Tigris river is a filthy mess because Sadr City’s Islamists pour tons of filth into it. Five million cubic meters of waste are dumped daily into both rivers from sewage to corpses. That isn’t the work of climate change, but of Iraqis. The United States provided military aid to the Baghdad regime and its military in order to defeat ISIS. But what we were actually doing was intervening in a Shiite-Sunni civil war while disregarding the fact that the side we were backing was just as much our enemy as ISIS. While military aid has fallen under the Biden administration after the decline of ISIS, much as in Afghanistan, even humanitarian aid easily finds its way into the hands of Islamic terrorists. Iran’s PMU militias control large swathes of territory, including farmland, own construction companies and demand payoffs from nonprofits who operate in the areas claimed by them. Humanitarian aid, no matter how seemingly benevolent, to people in terrorist areas, funds terror. It’s a hard lesson that we have failed to learn in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Like most failed Islamic terror states in the region, Iraq is perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy. In an effort to crack down on money from Iraq going to Iran, the Treasury Department restricted Iraqi banks from sending dollars to unknown parties. Since much of the Iraqi economy consists of moving dollars to Iran, this has become a real problem. Despite the existence of the Iraqi dinar, much of the country uses the dollar. And the United States provides pallets of dollars to Iraq that then go on to Iran. Earlier this year, an Iraqi banker warned that if the rules weren’t suspended, “Within one year, most banks will declare bankruptcy”. That says more about what Iraqi banks really do than about our rules. And yet no amount of economic problems keep the regime in Baghdad from spending billions on its terror militias. That’s a choice and it should not be subsidized by American taxpayers. Especially when it costs American lives.