What does one make of the apparent rapprochement between the United States and Iran over Iraq? It’s difficult to say, principally because both countries have very different agendas in the country, even if their shared aim is to contain the offensive of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
For Iran, fragmentation in Iraq is not only acceptable, but also – if controlled – desirable in helping the Islamic Republic impose its hegemony over the country. Tehran has backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki through thick and thin, doing nothing to restrain his divisive Shiite-centric policies that have so alienated the Sunni community. It has also persuaded other Shiite leaders, most prominently Muqtada al-Sadr, to go along with Maliki, even when they had no desire to do so.