a devastating account by the New York Times' Tim Arango of the ultimate
results of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 to establish a Pax
Americana in the Middle East: Iran is now ascendant in Iraq. It's victory as defeat, pure and simple. Tom
"Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with
goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and
channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran.
new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from
Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the
illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian
"And that’s not even the half of it.
country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a
corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And
in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet
officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.
"When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam
Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and
Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure —
about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were
poured into the cause. Tehran’s Turn
"Articles in this series examine Iran’s growing regional influence.
"From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state
of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so
brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look
to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again
pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread
Iranian influence around the region.
"In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost...."