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Monday, March 8, 2010

Has Iran consolidated influence on Iraq Shiite Islamic Parties?, Part II

Juan Cole, answer, "yes":

Moreover, it is not just al-Sadr. I detect a change in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, now led by Ammar al-Hakim [background] after the death from lung cancer of his father, Abd al-Aziz. ...


But now the Friday prayers preacher of Najaf is denouncing global arrogance and openly calling Iraq a colonized country that must regain its independence.

It's not clear the strategic ambitions the "religious parties", of the non-Da'wa block (non-Maliki). Among them might be a veto power, within the government, similar to a "guardianship". (Ostensibly, they are just for kicking out the U.S. as soon as possible).

Cole outlines two options:

So those are the two possibilities facing Iraq-- roughly, reintegration into the Sunni-dominated Arab League, or an Iran alliance.

He thinks the Iran alliance is the odds on bet
. Why? He thinks the Kurds, to whatever degree fragmented (but not "unraveled") after the current elections, would not ally with a "Sunni dominated" block. Also, he doesn't think that the alternative to the status quo will pull enough votes to catalyze a "radical change".

If he's right, then the U.S. taxpayer will have paid a trillion dollars and 4,380 lives ... to achieve this culmination of Cheney-Rumsfeld-Perle vision for a new Iraq, at least for the foreseeable future, an Iraq not facing away from the tyranny in Iran but suckling from it, to some uneasy degree.