One reason we were told it would be unwise for US forces to begin leaving Iraq in 2006 is that if we did we would leave behind a country in which Iran had a lot of influence. Instead we got a “surge” that “succeeded” and now as Rob Nordland details in an excellent piece, all those problems have melted away:
The ink was hardly dry on the polling results when three of the four major political alliances rushed delegations off to Tehran. Yet none of them sent anyone to the United States Embassy here, let alone to Washington.
Nordland at one point paints this as a consequence of the fact that American troops are scheduled to leave Iraq. But that’s precisely the point. We were never going to be able to keep 100,000 soliders in Iraq forever. And by the same token, Iran can’t just leave the region and go be somewhere else. Some degree of Iranian influence is simply inevitable and always was.