The Bush administration is about to start negotiating with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only that, they will negotiate from a position of weakness and will give IRI everything they ask for. Everything.
Why? Because they have no other choice. Absolutely none. The disaster of war in Iraq threatens not only the Bush presidency, but the survival of the Republican Party. If this administration were the kind of people who could stand up, admit to mistakes, and sacrifice themselves for the good of the country to salvage a solution, then there might've been some hope. But, they clearly are not. Instead, they will go begging the IRI to help them save face.
It is obvious that only Iran has the clout, intelligence resources and communication channels to fix the mess. They will fix it, alright, but to their own lasting advantage. IRI is the winner in United State's war on Iraq. It's done.
What will IRI ask for, and Bush/Cheney give them? First, a huge monetary reward, which will be called reparations for Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980 and the subsequent eight year war. This will come out of Iraq's pocket in the form of an oil concession. Second, they will steer, if not outright dictate, the form of government in Iraq. Third, they will have sanctions and economic pressured eased, and get permission to tap into the International Monetary Fund. Fourth, they will get the „respect‰ they've been demanding for so long (whatever that is). Fourth, they will get some security guarantee against regime change in Iran. Obviously, they will also get to exact revenge on MKO and finish off that threat too. They won't get a green light for their nuclear program, but they won't get hassled over it either.
What will Bush/Cheney get? Ask Iran's help to put a government in place in Iraq- any government, and stop the bleeding, plus some blah-blah lip service about moderation and respect for Iraq's non-shia minorities. As for the real prize, OIL, I don't know. But, most importantly, they will insist IRI does not gloat. Keep it hush-hush so Bush doesn't lose any more face than is apparent. That's it.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt will go back to the drawing board.
All this will lead to further legitimizing of IRI. Trade will resume, followed, inevitably, by diplomatic relations.
This is the beginning of the end of United States presence in the Middle East and the end of post-soviet era dreams of an American Empire. At least for now.
There is no outside threat to survival of IRI for the foreseeable future. Get used to it.