Confronted with the greatest opportunity for global peace in nearly a century, George H. W. Bush did not hesitate:  Upon the advice of his retainers, he immediately elected the path of war in the Persian Gulf.

This endeavor was hatched by Henry Kissinger’s economically illiterate protégés at the National Security Council and Bush’s Texas oilman secretary of state, James Baker. They falsely claimed that the will-o’-the-wisp of "oil security" was at stake, and that 500,000 American troops needed to be planted in the sands of Arabia.

Moqtada al-Sadr, the Muslim Shi'ite cleric who dominated Iraqi politics for two decades, seems isolated for now after his move to step back from formal politics emboldened his Iranian-backed rivals and raised the prospect of fresh factional flare-ups.

Iran, which already controls dozens of heavily-armed Shi'ite militias in its oil-producing neighbour, may now have an opportunity to expand its influence over Iraq's government, a worst case scenario for the United States and its allies.

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