Juan Cole points out what should be obvious to everyone; that Iran is seeking, and is likely to acquire, a great deal of influence in the new Iraq.
Some people like to blather on about how the invasion of Iraq and the War on Terror are all just part of an American plot to support Israel. Nonsense. The single country that has benefitted the most from the War on Terror is, you guessed it, Iran. In the past two and a half years, the United States has done Iran the service to destroying its two most visceral enemies, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and of directing international attention away from its nuclear program.
Instead of worrying about the Taliban, Iran now gets de facto control over the Afghani border regions. Who’s going to stop them? If you say the Afghani “Army”, please return when the drugs wear off. Instead of worrying about Saddam Hussein, Iran now gets to make inroads into the Shiite community in Iraq. Lest we forget, Iran also gets to monitor US intelligence and operations through its virtually ownership of Ahmed Chalabi. All the while, the Iranians are happily hammering away at their nuclear program.
Three years from now, we’ll have a nuclear Iran that controls western Afghanistan, that has significant influence over whatever passes for an Iraqi state, and that in all likelihood will still have cordial relations with Russia, China, and the European Union. Instapundit will still wax eloquent about the claims of the latest Iranian defector predicting the imminent collapse of the Islamic Republic because, well, it would be cool if it collapsed. And Iran will have won the War on Terror.
Great job, guys.