By Xander Snyder
It’s no secret that Iran is heavily involved and highly influential in Iraq. But Iraq’s parliamentary elections in May raised the question of just how much influence it has. After all, the winner was the coalition led by Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand Shiite cleric who once led the Mahdi Army, one of the tools Iran used to counter the United States during the Iraq war in the 2000s. And the other top finishers included the coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who never shrunk from working with Iran when necessary, and the coalition of Hadi al-Amiri, who is staunchly pro-Iran.
Events of the past week may have provided a partial answer.
Al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance entered into a partnership with al-Abadi’s Victory Alliance – a surprising turn of events, considering Sairoon had announced a partnership with al-Amiri’s Fatah Alliance the previous week. The partnership between Sairoon and Fatah seemed to indicate that not only was Iran in