Sunday, January 1, 2012

Iran's Shi'a Pet?

Most of my former colleagues at the Center Previously Known As Nixon were skeptics about President Bush's invasion of Iraq. Now one of its scholars, Dov Zacheim, describes the strategic consequences of replacing Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baathist regime with Nuri al-Maliki, whom Zakheim calls "nothing more than a Shi'a strongman":
Maliki insists that he is not a tool of the Iranians. Strictly speaking, he is correct. Iraq will never allow itself to be completely dominated by Tehran. Nevertheless, just as there can be no denying that Iran was the real victor of Operation Iraqi Freedom because America defanged its only seriously powerful regional rival, so too is it true that Iraq has increasingly come to share Tehran’s perspective on regional affairs. Witness its abstention on the Arab League’s vote to suspend Syria. Iraq is now firmly rooted in what King Abdullah of Jordan years ago termed “the Shi’a crescent,” which includes also Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon, which also abstained from the Arab League vote, and Syria.

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