i'm glad that the new york times is finally noting that the u.s. and iran are effectively on the same side in iraq. i just that this is hardly a new phenomenon. for years the iranian government has backed the same iraqi government as the u.s. over a year ago, bush met with the leader of what was then called the SCIRI (now called the ISCI) to pressure them to join the maliki government. the SCIRI/ISCI is one of the most overtly pro-iranian group in iraq. the members of the ISCI's militia, the badr organization, actually draw their pensions from the iranian revolutionary guard. bush was, quite literally, pushing iranian agents to become part of the u.s. supported iraqi government.
the only reason this convergence of interests appears to be so strange now is because the bush administration's anti-iranian rhetoric has become so detached from its action. for the past month, the u.s. has been providing military support to a militia (the badr organization) that's on the iranian government's payroll against a rival shia militia (sadr's mahdi army). sadr's group also has ties to iran, but to a much lesser extent than ISCI because sadr's group is both shia and iraqi nationalist. and yet throughout this recent campaign, the bush administration has been presenting sadr as nothing but an iranian stooge, even as the u.s. has been allied with the real iranian stooges (the ISCI) to fight against sadr. the only "contradiction" is the clash between what the bush administration has been saying and what it has been doing: strengthening iranian interests in iraq while it claims to be combating it.