By Justin Raimondo
"The recent increase in fighting around Basra, which is rapidly spreading to Baghdad, has the punditariat in a lather. Their sacred Surge has turned into a mere splurge – of resources, lives, and misplaced hope. Well, I could have told you that, and, indeed, I did. But never mind the chattering classes, their delusions of American omnipotence, and my own unfortunate penchant for self-congratulation. What's really fascinating about this story is how it underscores the central mystery of our Iraq war policy: why in the name of all that's holy are we supporting the pro-Iranian parties and factions in the Iraqi government, whilst Our Glorious Leader is coupling Tehran and al-Qaeda as "twin" evils to be fought and defeated in Iraq?
We have placed our chips on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose party, Da'wa (Islamic Call), in alliance with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), now known as ISCI, was one of the few Iraqi resistance groups to refuse all U.S. aid in the run-up to the invasion, and wasn't all that cooperative as the occupation regime was established. Together with their partners in government, the Da'wa Party, SCIRI/ISCI took refuge in Iran during the Ba'athist era and received military aid and training from Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The extension of Iranian influence into Iraq was a direct consequence of the Iraq war, and the recent visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Baghdad has underscored this.......
From the very beginning, U.S. policymakers were determined to go after militant Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of a prominent cleric, whose Mahdi Army is the only significant indigenous opposition to the pro-Iranian militias and the Tehran-influenced central government. Sadr is critical of both the U.S. and the Iranians, and, as such, represents a direct threat to the occupation and the Iraqi status quo. U.S. efforts to paint the Sadrists as tools of Tehran backfired for lack of evidence, and are, in any case, counterintuitive – as Sadr is an ardent Iraqi nationalist who decries the country's breakup and opposes all foreign influence.
The consolidation of a strong Iraqi state is the last thing the Americans want, for that would threaten their occupation and lead to their swift exit from the country. It is also in the Iranian interest to keep Iraq divided and stop the nationalist Sadr and his brutal militia from taking power in Baghdad. And, as Robert Parry points out, another factor played a key role in tricking us into war:
"Israeli governments have long made a high priority out of forging alliances with countries like Iran on the periphery of the Arab world to divert Arab antipathy that otherwise could be concentrated on Israel. Plus, Israel and Iran had an important enemy in common: Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Both Israel and Iran had a lot to gain by convincing the United States to remove their hated adversary."........"