Confronting the Iranian regime's export of terrorism and its destructive meddling in the Middle East were among the most important topics discussed in the Arabic-Islamic-American summit held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on 21stMay. Through their aggressive expansionism, support of armed militias and their sponsorship of terror, the mullahs ruling Iran have become the main challenge to security and stability in the Middle East. 

Iraq, which used to be the foremost barrier against the Iranian regime prior to the invasion in 2003, has now become the most important hub for it’s support for the Assad regime in Syria and for threatening other countries in the region, such as Lebanon and Yemen. Political parties and militias linked to the mullahs now dominate the Iraqi government and all its military and security agencies. In Riyadh, it is important that all efforts are not solely concentrated on combating ISIS. The total eviction of the Iranian regime and its proxies from Iraq must be a key item on the Riyadh agenda. If not, the Iranian regime will continue to be the winner and Iraq will move towards disintegration and internal war, turning it into the main center of instability and terrorism in the region. 

The Iranian regime is pursuing a cunning post-ISIS plan. With the formation of the militant Shi’ite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force and its recognition as a legal entity in the Iraqi parliament, it has created its fighting arm and by strengthening the former venally corrupt and sectarian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his affiliated parties, it has laid the groundwork for hi-jacking next year’s Iraqi elections.

Iraj Masjedi, senior deputy to the brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander General Qasem Soleimani, was recently appointed as the regime's ambassador to Iraq and is in charge of implementing this plan. In addition, the Badr organization, which was set up by Iran's IRGC, has effectively taken control of Iraq's interior ministry. Qasim al-Araji, Iraq's Interior Minister, is the head of the Badr faction and a very close ally of Qasem Soleimani. All Iraq's security organs are in the hands of the Shi’ite Dawa party or other parties linked to the Iranian regime. Many of the areas liberated from ISIS are now under the control of militias associated with the IRGC who have committed countless atrocities and prevented hundreds of thousands of displaced Sunnis from returning to their homes. 

By concentrating its effortson obtaining a predominant position in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, Iran is endeavoring to secure pathways traversing Iran’s western borders through the Euphrates and Tigris valleys and the vast expanses of desert in Iraq and Syria, providing a link to Hezbollah in Lebanon and finally ending at the edge of the Golan Heights. These corridors will serve as conduits through which military supplies and military personnel can be sent to the battlefronts where Iranian proxies are actively engaged. To this end dozens of Quds Force (the extra-territorial wing of the IRGC) affiliated military and political bases have been formed west of Mosul, under the guise of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia forces. 

Currently, pro-Iranian political parties are preventing any reforms in Iraq. The current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi belongs to the al-Dawa Party, with a majority of its senior elite linked to Iran. He has failed to implement repeated reform pledges, including a comprehensive package on which he received a confidence vote from the Iraqi Parliament in September 2014. He has also failed to establish a promised cabinet of technocrats to replace his widely reviled and corrupt ministers.

The Riyadh summit will be fully aware of the dangers and consequences of previous mistakes in Iraq. To this end, expectations are high for firm practical measures to be placed on the agenda to uproot Iran’s influence in Iraq and across the region and to dismantle its swathe of Shi’ite militias. The mullahs’ Revolutionary Guards must be designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US, UN, EU and Middle East states. Furthermore, new strategies must be implemented for the war against Daesh, uprooting Iran’s influence and rebuilding Iraq.