Iraqis will decide Iraq's fate. It's a statement we often hear from the U.S. military leadership in Iraq and others as well. More accurately, certain Shiite parties will decide Iraq's fate. And some of those Shiite parties won't even be Iraqi.
Reporting by McClatchy's Leila Fadel reveals how complicated Iraq's internal dynamics have become, and how utterly irrelevant the U.S. is likely to be in all this.
Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said.
Sadr ordered the halt on Sunday, and his Mahdi Army militia heeded the order in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government announced it would lift a 24-hour curfew starting early Monday in most parts of the capital.
The backdrop to Sadr's dramatic statement was a secret trip Friday by Iraqi lawmakers to Qom, Iran's holy city and headquarters for the Iranian clergy who run the country.
There the Iraqi lawmakers held talks with Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said.