With all the turmoil in the mid east I simply do not understand why we don't help take Syria out of the equation as a Iranian surrogate and pipeline to Hezbollah. True it isn't a guarantee it would change things for the better but how could it get worst, who could be of more use to the Iranians if the regime changed?
As far as influence in Iraq I still think Arab Persian bigotry will be stronger than the shared Shia religion. Already except for the puppet porky pig Sadr the rest of the Iraqi religious establishment isn't keen on Iranian type governing. The Iranians are taking a decidedly deviant stance from traditional Shia.