Iran's Weak Grip On Iraqi Politics


Joel Wing reads Wikileaks diplomatic cables from former US Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill:

Conventional wisdom in the West is increasingly pointing to Iran as the biggest winner not only of the recent election, but post-war Iraq overall. As Ambassador Hill pointed out, Tehran is undoubtedly a major player in Iraqi politics. That being said, they do not give orders and the Iraqis comply. Iran’s main goal is being able to shape events in Iraq to their liking, not having direct control. Increasingly Iran is having problems at doing that as Iraqi nationalism has re-emerged and average citizens are becoming weary of their neighbor interfering in their affairs. That’s something that Ambassador Hill also mentioned in a later cable. The actions of the Iraqi parties point to the limits of Iran’s power. The Shiites did not unite before the vote, and it took them months to agree upon Maliki afterward, and some still refuse to do so. The Iraqi parties were caught up in their own power struggles and rivalries, and that ultimately played a larger role in their decisions than Iranian pressure. 

(Photo: An Iraqi man holds a newspaper featuring a front-page story on Nuri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister in Baghdad on November 25, 2010. By Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)