Iran and Iraq - idle speculation
First, what happened to the reform minded pro-western Iranians that every good Beltway pundit assured us were bursting to take control? (Modulo theories of vote fraud - some people just jump onto any such explanation at the slightest provocation, when it suits them). Well, they're there, and seem to be a respectable 10+/- % of the population.
It is of course possible that wealthy, university educated pro-western Iranians are selectively more likely to chat with Beltway pundits about Iranian politics, but I'm sure the pundits factor in such selection effects and do not go on national television relying just on cocktail party anecdotes.
So, what about the rest... well, as in the US, I expect the rural population is numerous, tends to be relatively religious, xenophobic and socially conservative. That would explain a lot.
The urban poor might tend progressive, but they're also likely to be reactively nationalist; so, if for example, there were a highly publicised attempt by an outsider to devalue or influence the election, they might react. But no one would be that stupid.
So, the best scenaro now is the status quo ante; with the worst scenario the rise of a reactionary hardline religious conservative to consolidate the theocracy and anti-american stance. Bummer, wonder what triggered that.
Iraq is not looking to good either. Be hard to get more US troops in, unless Operation Yellow Elephant (also here) succeeds beyond all hope. Europe is not going to send any significant people.
So, could go with some new nation with a large armed force - India... don't think so. Indonesia, nah, too busy.
China! That's it. ~ 500,000 People's Army ground troops (in blue berets of course). Can't be much of a downside to that scenario, no real vested interest for China in the Middle East, no potential internal conflict with muslim minorities, eh?
Spot of bother there.
I have to confess the "Downing Street Minutes" have somewhat surprised me. Way back when, I had wondered if, as appeared to be the case, the US was just trying to rationalise a pre-set, non-rational, decision to go to war.
I had concluded that this was not the case: that there must be classified humint with positive proof of serious WMD threat (eg why did W get a smallpox vaccination?), and the tipping point for me was that the Brits were going along...
But now it appears Blair was just deciding that they couldn't repeat the "Vietnam error" and that staying on the US good side was worth the quagmire. At least the UK cabinet knew that the intel claims were fixed and that there was no post-war planning, they went into it with eyes open.
Haven't surprised me as much as the relative lack of reaction to the Minutes in the US media.
This is a first hand, unrefuted, account describing the US policy making pre-war. And it directly contradicts claims made by the US administration then and since.
That's a matter for immediate resignation in honourable democracies.