Bush's Middle East Policy is a Failure
Bush's policies have greatly magnified Ahmadinejad's influence in Iraq
Here's a few articles that show just how self-defeating Bush's foreign policy has been:
Ahmadinejad's Iraq visit bolsters Iran's influence
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Baghdad Sunday on a landmark visit described by both friend and foe as a crowning moment for Tehran's growing power here and its deepening influence across the Middle East. Iraqi leaders of all stripes, even those who previously lamented Iran's sway in Iraq, welcomed the state visit, the first from an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iraq's Kurds and Shiites – both of whom have historic ties with Tehran – may be looking to bolster relations with Iran as the future of US involvement here seems increasingly tied to the upcoming presidential election.
Telling sign of a failed Iraq strategy
Not only is Ahmadinejad 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 demonstrated to the world, we have put the disciples of the Iranian ayatollahs in power in Baghdad? 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.
Nor did the Iraqi leaders take exception to Ahmadinejad's insistence that the U.S. has brought only terror to the region and that the continued American presence is the main obstacle to peace. On the contrary, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pronounced his talks with fellow Shiite Ahmadinejad "friendly, positive and full of trust." Video of Talabani, who asked that Ahmadinejad call him "Uncle Jalal" after holding hands and exchanging kisses with the Iranian president, was broadcast throughout the region.
As alliances shift, Iran wins. Again
It's no secret that a great deal of the alleged success of the George W Bush adminstration's "surge" - or at least the way it's being spun in the US - is related to a diminished flow of Iranian-made weapons towards militias in Iraq. The weapons anyway were being sold by Iranian and or Gulf black market dealers - and not by the central establishment in Tehran.
At the same time, the publication of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in the US virtually debunked the idea that Iran was conducting a secret nuclear program for military use.
The Bush administration had been promoting a Turkey-Israel axis, then a Sunni Arab "axis of fear" (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates) and then a Saudi-Israeli axis, always trying to isolate Iran. None of these concoctions seems to have worked.
Hanif Ghaffari, writing in the Farsi-language, conservative Iranian daily Resalat, has pointed out how the recent, very successful Ahmadinejad trip to Iraq had to be considered in the context of "Iran after the Iraq war" and "Iraq after occupation by America". The message could not be more graphic. When Bush went to Iraq he saw an ultra-fortified military base, and that was it. Ahmadinejad went everywhere in broad daylight, welcomed like a brother. This is how Tehran sees itself - as the ultimate victor of the US war on Iraq.
(via appletree, hat tip to Squashed of Motel de Moka) (cross posted at Liberal Avenger)