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The Iranians' "Special Groups" -- Kataeb Hezbollah, the Promised Day Brigades and Asaib Ahl al-Haq -- were created in 2007 to wage a proxy war on Tehran's behalf against the Americans and their Iraqi allies.
"First, it has sought to unite the country's Shiite parties so they can translate their demographic weight -- an estimated 60 percent of Iraq's population -- into political influence, thereby creating a government amenable to Tehran.
"Second, Iran has supported shaky governing coalitions, positions itself to be an influential external power broker when the need for mediation arises.
"Third, Tehran has sought to prevent non-Islamist parties from gaining power. To that end, it has also worked to marginalize secular nationalist factions and leaders," the institute noted.
On the Sunni side, a resurgent, third-generation al-Qaida in Iraq and the Baathist Jaish Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi, or JRTN, are leading a revival of Sunni militancy that feeds on Sunni fears of Shiite and Iranian repression.
As the government dithers on the thorny issue of allowing U.S. troops to stay on after the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.
The Pentagon denied reports Saturday that the US military has given up on plans to keep several thousand troops in Iraq after a year-end deadline, saying talks with Baghdad were still underway.
US and Iraq officials have been negotiating a possible American military training mission of about 4,000 troops after 2011, but a dispute over legal protections for the US forces has jeopardized the security agreement.
Originally posted by Abney
The US is building the world's largest embassy in Iraq, costing billions of dollars and housing thousands of people. It's a permanent building.
The US is NEVER leaving Iraq. The embassy proves it.
Even if the US ends up leaving Iraq (unlikely) IMO it won't be long before the fights starts again in Iraq