The degree of influence Iran has in Iraq is always a source of consternation and debate. Why Tehran would want to influence events there, and how it elects to do so, are much less debatable.
Iraq is a major security concern for Iran – more so even than Syria. The Zagros Mountains insulate Iran from direct invasion, but they can’t prevent smaller bands of insurgents from staging attacks from the west, say, from Iraq. Iran therefore has an interest in controlling, to as great a degree as possible, the political and security environment in Iraq. However, the sheer diversity of interests in Iraqi politics makes it difficult for Iran to completely control the establishment through formal means. It has supplemented its quest for official political power with the presence of large militia groups that answer to Iran, not Iraq. And it uses state organs to fund them.
Iran appears to be gaining traction in that regard. After months of delay, the parliament finally elected a speaker, an