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FEATURING JUAN COLE – The New York Times and The Intercept this week published a trove of hundreds of leaked intelligence reports from Iran that were given to them by an unknown person claiming to be Iraqi. According to the Times, the documents, “offer a detailed portrait of just how aggressively Tehran has worked to embed itself into Iraqi affairs,” and show, “years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life.”

The document dump comes at the same time that protests are rocking both Iran and Iraq. In Iran, massive demonstrations took place in about 100 cities after the government hiked up the price of fuel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the protesters as “thugs,” while the government shut down internet access across the country. And in Iraq, a month into widespread anti-corruption protests, angry residents blockaded roads leading to oil fields and forced the closure of the Iraq central Bank.

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written several books including ‘The New Arabs: How the Wired and Global Youth of the Middle East Is Transforming It,’ ‘Engaging the Muslim World,’ and ‘Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires.’ He has a column at and his blog, Informed Comment, can be found at

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