Iran’s Baghdad feat will force US to engage Hizballah, Hamas

Iyad Allawi, whose Al Iraqiya party, won Iraq's general election last April but last week lost the premiership to the pro-Iranian incumbent Nouri Al-Malaki, was forced to admit Friday, Nov. 12 that "the concept of power-sharing in Iraq was dead now. For Iraq" he said, "there will be tensions and violence, probably."

That day, too, debkafile's sources report, Hassan Nasrallah told a closed meeting of his Lebanese Hizballah activists that what happened in Baghdad is destined for Beirut.

He was underlining the new reality in the Middle East where Iran and its allies are beating the West out in one crisis after another, forcing pro-US and pro-Saudi political forces to come to terms with antagonists sponsored by Tehran and serving its interests rather than those of Washington. No one in the region buys the proposition that the Obama administration can count as a successful feat the Baghdad power-sharing deal. It may terminate the eight-month stalemate during which Iraq had no government, but it also brought into the Al Maliki administration the anti-American radical Shiite Sadrists, whose affairs are run from a party headquarters in Iran.

The emergence of the new government in Baghdad is seen in fact as joining the list of flops scored by the Obama administration as a result of wrong tactics: By first backing Alawi, then switching to his rival Al Maliki, the US gave Tehran the edge in the contest between the two rivals and a springboard for further gains.

The second loser was Saudi Arabia, which poured more than a billion dollars in the campaign of Allawi and his Sunni following who have been beaten out by the pro-Tehran candidate.
In addition to boosting the violence plaguing Iraq – as Allawi predicted – Iran has perpetuated both the ethnic and religious divisions of the national government, parliament while also fostering the national, political, ethnic and religious conflicts diving the country outside the capital. The provides Tehran with the perfect game board for playing partisan strife to enhance its influence, a game in which the Americans failed.

The Kurdish Jalal Talabani's return to the presidency will in no way put a stop the Kurds fighting for control of the northern city of Kirkuk and its rich oil fields, towns in central Iraq and the skies over their autonomous region with a view to establishing an independent Kurdish stronghold powerful enough to achieve its aims by force of arms.

Neither will the election of the Sunni Osama al-Nujeifi's election as Speaker of Parliament, a post held previously by a Sunni politician too, dismantle the barriers facing Sunni politicians since the US 2003 invasion of Iraq and the fall of the Sunni Baathist regime. The Sunni tribal Awakening Councils, which helped US surge forces defeat al Qaeda in 2006 and 2007, will be further encouraged to restore their ties with Al Qaeda by the Al Malilki regime's refusal to promote Sunnis to top positions in government, keep them on the national payroll and keep some of their leaders in detention.

It is an open secret in Iraq that Maliki himself, whom parliament Friday awarded a month to form a government, is completely under the thumb of the Sadrists and their Iranian masters and in no position to set about healing the deep dissent afflicting the Iraqi people.

The next ton of bricks about to fall on Barack Obama's head now comes from Lebanon and the Palestinians, both of whom are falling ever deeper into Syria's clutches. As one well-informed American put it his week: "As Iraq goes, So Goes the Middle East."

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