There are signs that are impossible to ignore on the U.S.-Iranian rapprochement on developments in Iraq. Given the lack of mutual criticism expressed after the recent Istanbul conference - criticism that was in abundance after previous rounds - the next round of talks between the two sides should occur soon … Another indication is that reports from field commanders indicate that the number of operations against American forces are down, as are the number of IED attacks - IEDS that supposedly come from Iran.

Next year, the rules of the game in Iraq will inevitably change - the signs of this change having become clear since this year began. On the local political level, sharp disputes have broken out within the governing alliance, which is one of the key issues driving the political scene in anticipation of an American withdrawal. And now the Turkish card is on the table and no one can escape its ramifications.

As signs of an American withdrawal have become brighter than the light of the sun, Ankara - whose regional influence inside Iraq has fallen behind the rest of its neighbors - spots an opening to improve its own position.

These considerations must be taken into account when considering a potential Turkish invasion, which still weighs heavily on the Iraqi political scene. If Turkish forces enter northern Iraq, it will inevitably be with American assent. With such questionable chances of success, Ankara wouldn't risk strategic relations with Washington to launch military operations against an opposition guerilla party.

Prime Minister Al-Maliki stands alone; his was the horse that the Americans were once betting on, but now he doesn’t know how to move to the right or left, so he just kneads his clay hoping to make something happen.

When the decision was made - with American agreement - to put Saddam Hussein to death at the end of last year, Maliki thought that Iraqis had been convinced that he was their savior and could get results. But executing people and being a statesmen are two completely different things.

Unable to transform himself into a savior of national conciliation, he failed to comprehend the requirements of his role until the moment of truth came … He and those who are connected to him are now destined to remain outside the rules of the game. Washington won't ask for permission when it initiates what comes next.