Ahmadinejad's Win in Iraq

There was meager media attention paid to the truly historic visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iraq. Not only is he the first Mideast head of state to visit the country since its alleged liberation, but the very warm official welcome offered by the Iraqi government to the most vociferous critic of the United States speaks volumes to the abject failure of the Bush doctrine.

What leverage does the United States have over Iran when, as the image of Ahmadinejad holding hands with the top leaders of Iraq? There is no face-saving exit from Iraq without the cooperation of Tehran, and the folks who call America the "Great Satan" now hold the high cards.

How interesting that Ahmadinejad, unlike a U.S. president who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that U.S. dignitaries fear to travel. His love fest with Iraq President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who fought on Iran's side against Iraq and who speaks Farsi, even took place outside of the safety of the Green Zone, adding emphasis to Ahmadinejad's claim that while he is welcome in Iraq, the Americans are not.

George W. Bush has given his Iranian foes a Shiite-run ally. Iran is now a major trading partner of Iraq that has offered a $1 billion loan, the border is increasingly porous as religious pilgrimages have become the norm, and many investment projects supervised by Iranians are in the works. Instead of isolating the "rogue regime" of Iran, the Bush administration has catapulted the theocrats of Tehran into the center of Mideast political power. There can be no peace, whether in Lebanon, Gaza or Iraq, without the cooperation of the ayatollahs of Iran.

For Bush, his signature issue, the battle against terrorism, is a shambles. The terrorists are very much on the rise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which Bush neglected for an Iraq sideshow that has cost over a trillion dollars and tens of thousands of lives.

[Excerpt of an article by Robert Scheer, HP]

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