- Tim Arango writes for The New York Times that Iran stepped into the void the U.S. created in Iraq:
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.
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.
Perhaps most crucial, Parliament passed a law last year that effectively made the constellation of Shiite militias a permanent fixture of Iraq’s security forces. This ensures Iraqi funding for the groups while effectively maintaining Iran’s control over some of the most powerful units.
Now, with new parliamentary elections on the horizon, Shiite militias have begun organizing themselves politically for a contest that could secure even more dominance for Iran over Iraq’s political system.
Israel’s government opposes the ceasefire the U.S. and Russia implemented in southern Syria because it empowers Iran.
Among this weekend’s shooting victims in Chicago: an anti-violence activist named William Cooper. A nine year old boy died in a shooting this weekend, too.
Four Pakistani soldiers died when Indian forces shelled their vehicle in Kashmir.
Two Chinese coast guard ships entered Japanese waters near two islands off Kyushu.