Iran helps Broker Iraq Peace Deal

There's no other way to put this. It is extremely bad news:

Iranian officials helped broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to Iraqi lawmakers.

The deal could help defuse a wave of violence that had threatened recent security progress in Iraq. It also may signal the growing regional influence of Iran, a country the Bush administration accuses of providing support to terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. Al-Sadr ordered his forces off the streets of Iraq on Sunday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hailed al-Sadr's action as "a step in the right direction." It was unclear whether the deal would completely end six days of clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and Shiite militias, including al-Sadr's.

Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni lawmaker who oversaw mediation in Baghdad, said representatives from al-Maliki's Dawa Party and another Shiite party traveled to Iran to finalize talks with al-Sadr.
Maliki is being revealed as a weak player in Iraqi power politics. Conflicting reports on how well the Iraqi army performed in Basra tend to obscure the fact that the military goal of the campaign set out by the Iraqi prime minister was not met; the destruction or neutralization of al-Sadr's Mehdi army.

The involvement of Iran in the internal politics of Iraq - indeed, the Iraqi leadership seeking them out for assistance - cannot be spun as anything but a blow to US prestige in Iraq as well as a reflection on our ability to influence events there. It should also alarm the Sunni minority who are still looking to Baghdad for signs that they wish to reconcile.

Cozying up to Iran will not give them much confidence in that regard.
There's no other way to put this. It is extremely bad news:

Iranian officials helped broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to Iraqi lawmakers.

The deal could help defuse a wave of violence that had threatened recent security progress in Iraq. It also may signal the growing regional influence of Iran, a country the Bush administration accuses of providing support to terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. Al-Sadr ordered his forces off the streets of Iraq on Sunday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hailed al-Sadr's action as "a step in the right direction." It was unclear whether the deal would completely end six days of clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and Shiite militias, including al-Sadr's.

Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni lawmaker who oversaw mediation in Baghdad, said representatives from al-Maliki's Dawa Party and another Shiite party traveled to Iran to finalize talks with al-Sadr.
Maliki is being revealed as a weak player in Iraqi power politics. Conflicting reports on how well the Iraqi army performed in Basra tend to obscure the fact that the military goal of the campaign set out by the Iraqi prime minister was not met; the destruction or neutralization of al-Sadr's Mehdi army.

The involvement of Iran in the internal politics of Iraq - indeed, the Iraqi leadership seeking them out for assistance - cannot be spun as anything but a blow to US prestige in Iraq as well as a reflection on our ability to influence events there. It should also alarm the Sunni minority who are still looking to Baghdad for signs that they wish to reconcile.

Cozying up to Iran will not give them much confidence in that regard.