News Highlight

Iran Has Designs on Iraq

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal
February 17, 2010

 Vice President Joe Biden recently told Larry King that Iraq "could be one of the great achievements of this administration." Mr. Biden's transparent attempt to take credit for Bush administration policies aside, it's worth asking how exactly does the Obama administration define success in Iraq?

Mr. Biden said, "You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government," echoing President Obama's remarks at Camp Lejeune in February 2009. But he also said, "You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer," echoing the only comment the president made about Iraq in last month's State of the Union address: "I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as president."

The problem is that progress in Iraq is not as inevitable as Mr. Biden suggests. Iraq faces a political and constitutional crisis weeks away from the most important election it will ever hold. People working on behalf of Iran are actively seeking to spoil this election. They want to exclude Sunni leaders from the next government, align Iraq's Shiites into a single political bloc, expel American forces, and create a government in Baghdad that is dependent on Tehran.

 

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Frederick W. Kagain is a resident scholar and the director of AEI's Critical Threats Project. Kimberly Kagan is president of the Institute for the Study of War.