Since Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr surged to victory in a widely boycotted election last October, there has been a steady stream of news reports and analyses claiming that this could represent the beginning of the end of Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.
While such assessments are certainly optimistic, they may perhaps be naïve. Iran is still the single most powerful entity in Iraq today, and it is extraordinarily unlikely that Tehran – with Iraq as the central lynchpin to its regional strategy – will simply allow Baghdad to set its own course.
Political wrangling continues
The most significant recent development on the political scene was the reconvening of parliament earlier this month which – despite some bloodshed and hospitalisations – managed to re-elect Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.