Iran's Role In Iraq

Musings On Iraq reads between the news leaks:

Iran is definitely supporting Shiite parties in Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary voting as it always has, and did help put together the National Alliance. That suits its main goal, which is a Shiite run government in Baghdad that will be friendly to Tehran and never become a rival again. After Iraq’s voting is finished on March 7, Iran will likely push for the Alliance and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law to mend fences and form a ruling coalition again. That being said, the regime in Tehran is facing a major internal crisis with its public after its own presidential balloting.

The Revolutionary Guards were originally formed to protect the Islamic government, and would thus naturally be asked to help in a time like the present to shore up the leadership. It could still be supporting its friends in Iraq without being intimately involved in day-to-day affairs there as it was in the past. Either way, Tehran will continue to play a leading role in Iraq as it has supporters amongst many of the country’s leading parties, is one of the largest trade partners with Iraq, and is the main supplier of religious tourism and students to holy sites in Baghdad, Najaf, and Karbala. Even with its own political problems, Iran will still have these hard and soft power levers to influence events in Iraq.