Iran may be a menace to the West, but it is also Iraq's largest trading partner. Heavily involved in Iraq's reconstruction, Iran has masterminded extensive loan, tourism and energy programs in Iraq while maintaining close connections to Iraq's dominant Shiite political parties. This disastrous fact should dampen -- at least enter into -- assessments of the surge strategy's "success."
But it doesn't. Not even the fact that Bank Melli -- the Iranian terror bank outlawed by the U.S. Treasury as a conduit for Iran's nuclear and terrorist programs -- operates a branch in Baghdad gives pause to one-surge-fits-all enthusiasts. The Bank Melli example is particularly egregious because the bank funds Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force, which is responsible for innumerable American casualties in Iraq -- American sacrifices on behalf of Iraq. Guess we're supposed to look the other way. But that's like applauding the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Iraq without noticing that the agreement prohibits the United States from attacking Iran (or any other country) from Iraq.
Iraq's pattern of hostility to U.S. interests continues vis-a-vis Israel, a bona-fide U.S. ally against jihad terror. Whenever Israel strikes back at jihad -- whether at Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon -- post-Saddam Iraq is quick to condemn the Jewish state, which, not incidentally, it also continues to boycott with the rest of the Arab League.
Additionally, Maliki's public refusal even to criticize Hezbollah in 2006 prompted Dan Senor, a former Bush administration advisor in Baghdad, to write in the Wall Street Journal: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. We had thought that a post-Saddam Iraqi government would be less susceptible to Arab League pressure. ... This change of tone was to be a model for the region."
And why did "we" ever think this? Such was -- and is -- the deceptive power of the see-no-Islam fantasy.