The Iranian effort has been led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In June 2010, IRGC was said to have replaced its Quds Force commander Qassim
Suleimani with Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani. IRGC also helped
force the dismissal of Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi and replaced
him with former Quds commander Hassan Danafor, Middle East Newsline reported.
The report said Iraq was likely to resolve its eight-month-old political
stalemate by forming a non-Shi'ite government coalition led by Iyad Alawi,
once deemed the most likely successor of then-President Saddam Hussein.
Teheran was expected to pressure lame duck Prime Minister Nour Al Maliki to
"The key to Iran's short-term success is removing Nouri Al Maliki as
prime minister and coopting Iyad Alawi in a leadership role that minimizes
his ability to threaten Iran's strategic interests," the report said.
[On Nov. 11, Iraqi parliamentarians agreed to support Al Maliki for
another four-year term. Parliamentarians said Sunni groups would ensure that
Al Maliki would achieve a majority for the proposed government.]
The report said Iran intended to shape Iraq's next coalition that would
push Alawi or Al Maliki into an alliance. Another goal was for Iran to
deploy its proxies to control what the report termed "critical areas of
Iraq's new government." Alawi heads the Iraqiya party and Maliki leads the
Shi'ite dominated Iraqi National Alliance (INA).
"While there are many contentious issues involving an alliance between
the INA and Iraqiya, Iran's primary concern is who will control the
military, internal security and intelligence forces," the report said.
The report said Iraq, which conducts $4 billion in trade with Iran, has
been moving away from the United States. Brooks cited what he
termed the cool reception received by Vice President Joseph Biden during his
visit to Baghdad in July.
"Having emerged as an economic force in Baghdad capitalized by diverse
hard and soft power assets, Iran appears ready to move from condominium with
the United States over Iraq to consolidating Iraq as a strategic proxy
state," the report said. "Bridging the divide in Iraq's Shi'a House and
shaping the next governing coalition is the focus of Iran's transition to
its end game strategy."