In the 10 violent years since Saddam Hussein and his Baath party were removed from power, Iraq has returned to its more traditional status as a battleground where its neighbors’ interests collide. None of Iraq’s neighbors has benefited more from this change than Iran.
When the United States took out Saddam’s regime, it removed the largest obstacle preventing Iran from expanding its sphere of influence westward. Now, Iranian influence extends from western Afghanistan through Iraq and Syria all the way to southern Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean. Consequently, the invasion of Iraq triggered one of the largest shifts in the balance of power in the Middle East since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
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More views on Iraq War
These articles are part of an occasional series prompted by the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on March 2003. Find previous articles online at bit.ly/108UbR2, bit.ly/YCFtxa and bit.ly/YxQHY0
Michael Nayebi-Oskoui is a Middle East analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm based in Austin that provides individuals, businesses and other organizations analysis on global developments.