Iranian Influence in Shi'a Groups of Iraq
Watts, James N.
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The removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003 enabled Iraqi Shia groups, once banned from political participation, to once again have a voice. Iran, has also taken advantage of the post-Saddam political opportunities by attempting to influence religiously similar groups within Iraq, namely the Shia community. With approximately 60 percent of Iraqi population, the Iraqi Shia community has enormous voting power during any democratically elected process that could sway Iraq into Iranian hands. U.S. officials are apprehensive of the relationship between Iran and Iraqi Shia militant groups believing it could lead Iraq down a path towards a puppet state, subservient to Iranian regional ambitions. This thesis explores whether Iran is responsible for influencing every Shia militant groups within Iraq. Specifically, this thesis addresses the scope of Iranian influence within Iraqi Shia militant groups operating within Iraq today to determine the overall level of influence Iran has in Iraq.
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