BEIRUT, Lebanon - In February 2003, as he marshaled the United States for war, President George W. Bush declared: "A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."
Iran is the biggest beneficiary of the American misadventure in Iraq. The U.S. ousted Tehran's sworn enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power. Then Washington helped install a Shiite government for the first time in Iraq's modern history. As U.S. troops became mired in fighting an insurgency and containing a civil war, Iran extended its influence over all of Iraq's Shiite factions.