The decision of the Obama Administration to move out of Iraq on a timetable established, essentially, in the 2008 US election, has left Iraq with a wobbly democracy susceptible to traditional Arab sectarianism and intrigue. The case of arrested doctor Ryadh al-Adhadh, a Sunni and democrat, is another in a string of actions that display a dangerous Shiite revenge mindset. The success of Iran in using Iraqi airspace to service its client in Syria is a still more ominous sign of deterioration. And today comes news of Iraq spending $4.2 billion (where did that come from?) to buy arms from---tadaaa!--Russia. America right now, having been seen as irresolute, is more useful to the Iraqi government of Nour al-Maliki as a foil than as a friend.
How to explain this in the current electoral season is tough, however, because, deep down, many Americans are probably willing to let Iraq go--despite the American blood spilled there. It has been said the the United States has only two gears in its foreign policy engine, fourth and reverse. A nice use of second gear might be best advised now. If it is crucial that Iran's nuclear threat be stopped, Iraq cannot be allowed to become an Iranian ally.