From the BBC: “One of Iraq’s most powerful Shia politicians has condemned the arrest of Iranians by US forces in Iraq as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.” The BBC called this “the strongest expression yet of Iraq’s concern about the US approach to Iran.” This, from the cleric whom Bush embraced so fervently last month.
With Moqtada al-Sadr walking out of Nouri al-Maliki’s government, the Iraqi prime minister is desperate for the support of prominent Shiite Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and his 30 parliamentarians, which may explain President Bush’s meeting with the politician earlier Monday. However, Hakim has strong ties to Iran, which is widely assumed to equip and fund his militia, placing Bush in yet another awkward tap dance between stability in Iraq and hostility toward Iran.
The parliamentary results are confirmed: Shiites will dominate both the Sunnis and the Kurds in Iraq. So while the U.S. tries to intimidate Iran over its nukes, Iranian-bred theocratic Shiites—those most hostile to our interests—are in the ascendancy in Iraq. So much for the neocons’ “Field of Dreams” scenario for creating democracy in Iraq: “If you break it, they will come.” | story
Also, read Juan Cole on how Bush created a theocracy in Iraq. | column
And read Robert Scheer on Iran’s victory in Iraq. | item
Update: A former Pentagon analyst is sentenced to 12 years-plus for leaking confidential documents in an attempt to get the U.S. to take the threat of Iran more seriously. | story Update No. 2: Iran and Iraq are already linking arms on the construction of electricity facilities.