Guess who's Iraq's new best friend?
TEHRAN — Former foes Iran and Iraq said Thursday that they would sign a military cooperation agreement that would include Iranian help in training Iraq's armed forces, despite likely U.S. opposition.
The agreement marks a breakthrough in relations between the two countries, which fought a bitter 1980-88 war. And it comes in spite of repeated U.S. accusations that Shiite Muslim Iran has undermined security in Iraq since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003.
"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq. We will start wide defense cooperation," Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said at a news conference with his visiting Iraqi counterpart, Saadoun Dulaimi.
Don't tell me you're surprised by this. The Sunni boycott of the election inevitably led to Shiite domination. Amazing that Iran's "new chapter" in relations with Iraq only began once the Shiites were firmly in power there, no?
One overlooked fact of this war is how it has strengthened Iran's hand geopolitically. Controlled by radical mullahs, fresh with a new hardline President (Ahmadinejad) who won't buckle on their nuclear program, we've now given them more leverage in Iraq, furthering their Middle East coalition, which if we are to believe the 9/11 report includes al-Qaeda.
If the insurgency continues and the government feels desperate, they now have a credible reason to let Iran into the country in much the same way Syria was let into Lebanon.