Iraqi politics has been bumpy lately. It's rapidly headed towards a managed conclusion that involves a elections but very little actual democracy. And it looks to be Qom that is doing the managing rather than a distracted team Barry. I get the feeling that a dignified partial exit from a much less violent Iraq is being mistaken for a beneficial conclusion to Bush's misadventure. Ricks on FP Reidar Visser Some More De-Baathification Metrics And earlier: Al-Lami was nicked by the Septics in 08 for conspiring with Qom and banged up for some time. He is the INC's main link to JAM and particularly the Iranian linked group involved in the kidnapping of Peter Moore and quid pro quo freeing of the IRGC's mini-Muqtada Qais al-Khazali another chum. And via Col Lang Habakkuk on Iraq That last point is telling. This is an enemy that can't even convincingly rig a domestic election and they have run rings round us in Baghdad for the past five years. Incidentally I don't see Ahmed "The Thief" Chalabi as anything other than an opportunist, sure he was always careful of his relationship to Qom, no major player in post Saddam Iraq isn't. The Iranians are natural allies against the deposed Sunni and their Gulf Kingship allies and the games of balanced powers must be played to survive in the rough house of Iraqi politics. He had self interested and probably genuinely patriotic reasons for telling the OSP guys what they wanted to hear about WMD. The idea that Qom would sucker DC via the INC into the disastrous cakewalk to Baghdad is preposterous. It held considerable risks of Tehran being next and they practically begged the Bush team for a humiliating accommodation in its wake. It's only as DC overstretched power became evident that Qom assets in Iraq were mobilized to seek the sort of end game we see approaching. Nothing is certain but they are well placed for advantage. As Ricks says at the end of The Gamble: "the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened."