Iran’s Growing Sway in Iraq Defies Neocons’ Logic – by Jim Lobe: “In a recent colloquium for The Nation magazine, Shibley Telhami, a Middle East specialist at the Brookings Institution, noted that, ‘No one in Washington would have imagined that with all the human and financial costs of the war, the United States would find itself supporting a government ? [with] close ties to Iran and that would conclude a military agreement with Tehran for the training of Iraq forces, even as nearly 140,000 U.S. troops remained on Iraq soil.’

This indeed was not how it was supposed to turn out for neoconservatives, who had argued that the gratitude of Iraqis for their ‘liberation’ from Saddam would result in the installation of a secular, pro-Western government that would permit its territory to be used for U.S. military bases as yet another pressure point ? or possible launching pad ? against an increasingly beleaguered and unpopular Islamic Republic (and Syria, too) next door.

When U.S. troops, however, were not in fact greeted in Iraq with the ‘flowers and sweets’ that they predicted, and an unexpected Sunni insurgency began to seriously challenge the occupation, neoconservatives were unfazed. “

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