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The Iraq “surge” required Iranian forbearance in order to keep US casualty rates down and make the Bush administration look good. Republican salvation history portrays the “surge” as the Bush administration’s greatest accomplishment. The trouble is that Iran now has the upper hand in Iraq, having waited out America.

Here’s Michael Barone at National Review Online, on George W. Bush and Iraq:

Bush says that he decided to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the spring of 2006, but waited until after the November election and after recruiting Robert Gates. And, he writes, this president who had been reluctant to interact with generals had a recommendation to Gates for the new commander in Iraq: Gen. David Petraeus.

The surge was announced in January 2007, eight or nine months after Bush decided the previous strategy was failing. Bush argues that if he had acted more quickly, there would have been divisions in the government that would have led Congress to cut off war funding.

“The strategic consequences of defeat would have been horrific,” Bush says. “Embolden Iran — shudders through the Mideast — al-Qaida triumphant.” But now he’s optimistic about Iraq and about democracy in the region.

As the sun pours in, it’s hard not to shiver at how narrowly we avoided disaster and achieved success.

And here’s today on Iran’s takeover of Iraq:
Iraqi power-sharing is dead.

Iyad Allawi, whose Al Iraqiya party, won Iraq’s general election last April but last week lost the premiership to the pro-Iranian incumbent Nouri Al-Malaki, was forced to admit Friday, Nov. 12 that “the concept of power-sharing in Iraq was dead now. For Iraq” he said, “there will be tensions and violence, probably.”

That day, too, DEBKAfile’s sources report, Hassan Nasrallah told a closed meeting of his Lebanese Hizballah activists that what happened in Baghdad is destined for Beirut.

He was underlining the new reality in the Middle East where Iran and its allies are beating the West out in one crisis after another, forcing pro-US and pro-Saudi political forces to come to terms with antagonists sponsored by Tehran and serving its interests rather than those of Washington. No one in the region buys the proposition that the Obama administration can count as a successful feat the Baghdad power-sharing deal. It may terminate the eight-month stalemate during which Iraq had no government, but it also brought into the Al Maliki administration the anti-American radical Shiite Sadrists, whose affairs are run from a party headquarters in Iran.


It is an open secret in Iraq that Maliki himself, whom parliament Friday awarded a month to form a government, is completely under the thumb of the Sadrists and their Iranian masters and in no position to set about healing the deep dissent afflicting the Iraqi people.

The next ton of bricks about to fall on Barack Obama’s head now comes from Lebanon and the Palestinians, both of whom are falling ever deeper into Syria’s clutches. As one well-informed American put it his week: “As Iraq goes, So Goes the Middle East.”

Bush failed to scotch the Persian snake; after deposing Rumsfeld and muzzling Dick Cheney, he brought in Robert Gates, who has been arguing since 2004 that the US needs to allow Iran a role as a major regional power.

When Dick Cheney argued that Israel should be given the green light to crush Iran’s proxy Hezbollah in August 2006, Condi Rice opposed him, Bush reports in his new book, saying that if the US did that, it “would be dead in the Middle East.”

The Bush legacy is a brewing catastrophe in the region. Obama, to be sure, is making things worse, and doing things (such as blackmailing Israel) that Bush probably would not have done. That doesn’t let Bush off the hook. It’s better to admit errors and move on than to post them on every billboard.

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