Sunday, February 06, 2005

Iraq and Iran

These past days the British media have seized on every Bush or Rice reference to Iran as a sign that an invasion is imminent, but I haven't heard much comment on the effect that invading Iran would have on the situation in Iraq. If anything, the Shia ties between the two countries have been used by some on the right as a justification for invading Iran, to prevent Iranian clerics from gaining strong influence in post-war Iraq. I think that this misses the point. Bush's greatest victory regarding Iraq will be if the election results are respected by all Iraqi parties involved and there is a transition to a relatively peaceful democracy in the next months. It is a given that the new government will be Shia-dominated. Now imagine how an invasion of Iran, controlled by a Shiite theocracy, could so easily upset any peaceful balance of power in Iraq. The US certainly needs to ensure that Iran doesn't gain influence in Iraq, but an invasion would only serve to agitate Shias in Iraq.

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