I was reading The Economist on the plane home today and it had an article about Iraq ('Well, is it victory or humiliation?' Nov 29-Dec 5). It talked about Iraqis deciding for themselves when America would leave. They mentioned that America would not be getting the bases it wanted. I never even thought about them wanting that, but of course there have interests in the area and that would be a perfect way to protect them.
As for America invading Syria and Iran from Iraq, I don't doubt that they have done that but they will do that while they have control of the area. It's all about multiple agendas. I don't know if I agree with them when they say that the Iraqi Sunnis have rejected al-Qaeda but they seem to think so although they do say that Iraq 'remains violent and fractious'.
The most interesting part however, was when they mentioned the connection or non-connection with Iran. Although Shias are close to Iran, Iraq's Shias and Sunnis share an identity as Arabs that may encourage them to resist an Iranian takeover of their politics. When America departs, a lot of Iraqis will want Iran to butt out too. Very perceptive! It's so easy to focus on the bad that America is doing that we often forget about the other parties to the issue. Poor Iraq!!
I often think that if Myanmar didn't have such a lazily corrupt government/dictatorship then it might descend into similar sectarian violence. Purely hypothetical of course, but it does make you think.