Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Iraq to plead with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to stop granting Iran permission to Iraqi airspace and territory.  Iran, which has a vested interest in maintaining the Syrian regime, flies arms and other material support that aid Assad.

Maliki refused.

Kerry told Maliki that the almost daily flights have become a lifeline for Syrian President Bashar Assad that is undermining the efforts of the United States and allies to negotiate the departure of Assad and an end to the 2-year-old war. And Kerry warned that many in the United States are wondering how, after Americans “have tried so hard to be helpful” in rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, the country could stand in its way.

Here’s the explanation that Kerry either cannot understand or will not accept, and it comes courtesy of Osama bin Laden:  “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.”

No wonder we’re less popular in the Mideast now than when George Bush was president.  We’re a carousel horse, going round and round but getting nowhere.

The overflights have become an increasingly important issue for the Obama administration, which believes that they have reinforced Assad’s desire to stand and fight even as his military fortunes crumble. Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other U.S. officials have unsuccessfully pressed the Iraqis to halt the flights, or at least begin ground inspections of the Iranian cargo.

At least Obama can brag about one diplomatic triumph: He forced Israel to apologize for acting in self defense against a Turkish ship whose ultimate mission was the murder of Israelis.  U.S.A., U.S.A!