RealNews

U.S. Wary as Iran Works to Increase Influence in Iraq

With the occupation of Iraq due to end in three weeks, the Bush administration fears that Iran will move in as a major player after months of quietly building networks among Iraqi politicians and religious circles, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. For months, U.S. officials have watched warily as Iran built up its influence, deploying hundreds of personnel and channeling millions of dollars to secure ties that were impossible during Saddam Hussein’s rule. The Bush administration believes Tehran’s goal is to use deepening ties with Shiite and Kurdish leaders to quickly replace the United States as the country with the most widespread and enduring influence in Iraq. “Iran is using all instruments available to interfere and be a very active player in Iraq,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said. “Within the Shiite orbit, there’s a large menu of actors, and Tehran is placing bets on enough of them to ensure it ends up with ties to a winner.” Full Story

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