Fred Kagan and Kim Kagan write in the Los Angeles Times:
Iran has just defeated the United States in Iraq.
The American withdrawal, which comes after the administration's failure to secure a new agreement that would have allowed troops to remain in Iraq, won't be good for ordinary Iraqis or for the region. But it will unquestionably benefit Iran....
Many Americans felt a sense of relief when the president announced that "America's war in Iraq is over." That relief must be tempered, however, by the recognition that Tehran has achieved its goals in Iraq while the U.S. has not. Henceforth, Iranian proxy militias are likely to expand their training bases in southern Iraq and use them as staging areas for operations throughout the Persian Gulf.
An Iraq dependent on Iran for survival could undercut any sanctions that the international community places on Iran to prevent its acquisition of nuclear weapons. And the unresolved ethnic and sectarian disputes in Iraq are likely to devolve into armed conflict once again. In a year that also saw the "Arab Spring," it will ultimately be Iran that emerges ascendant in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. America's defeat is nothing to be relieved about.
Whole thing here.