By Gareth Porter
"......The Bush administration has never used the term "strategic dominance" in any public statement on Iran. According to a concept of regional "dominance" defined by perceptions - which would mean the perceptions of Sunni Arab states who are opposed to any Shi'ite influence in the region - Iran could be seen as already having "strategic dominance" in the region.
The reported conclusion that the increased attacks by Shi'ite forces represent an effort to achieve such dominance could be the basis for a new argument that only by reducing Iranian influence in Iraq through military action can the United States avert Iranian "strategic dominance" in the region.
That conclusion about "strategic dominance" thus implies that destroying what is perceived to be the political-military bases of Iranian influence in Iraq has become the key US war aim.
The conclusion that the Shi'ite militias' rocket attacks on coalition targets represent a bid to "control the pace of escalation" could be interpreted as expressing a concern that the US lacks the military capacity to suppress those forces. That raises the question whether the advocates of war against Iran have introduced the concept of "escalation dominance" as a way of supporting their favorite option - attacking targets inside Iran.......
Joe Cirincione, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, said that if the report of the administration's conclusions about Iranian aims is true, "it is a disturbing sign that the hardliners have regained the pre-eminent policymaking position"........"