From President Bush on down, U.S. officials enthused about Iraqi democracy while pursuing a course of action that made it virtually certain that Iran and its proxies would emerge as the dominant political force. ~David Ignatius

Of course, Iran’s main proxy, SCIRI, was always going to be part of “the dominant political force” once that group was allowed to participate in the elections.  Given that the elections were run on a ethnic and sectarian basis, the majority of Iraq and the Iranians belong to the same sect and the major Shi’ite blocs already had Iranian backing, any election outcome that wasn’t blatantly rigged against Shi’ite parties (and we did do some things to minimise Shi’ite electoral dominance as it was) would have led to this result. 

The “hubris and naivete” consisted of having elections in the middle of a war in a country that had not yet been stabilised.  Allowing obviously sectarian lists of candidates didn’t help all that much.  If Shi’ite majoritarianism now strikes some people as an unacceptable consequence of the introduction of “democracy,” it is their enthusiasm for the latter that they ought to be interested in abandoning.  If some people now don’t  want Iran and its proxies to dominate Iraq, they shouldn’t have supported the invasion.  There’s not much to be done about it now.

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