It constantly amazes me that no one sees that events are repeating themselves, in the Iranian attempt to set up proxies in the Middle East. It's all happened before -- during the Crusades.
Almost all of the standard works on the Crusades overlooks the great Islamic disunity of the period, which greatly helped the Crusaders get a foothold in the Holy Land. There has always been conflict between the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam, since Mohammad did not have any sons, and the inheritance of his mantle was through his daughters and their husbands. Traditionally, Shi'a Moslems have felt themselves to be the more direct heirs, more radical in their approach, but because numerically they have been a smaller group than the Sunnis, they also feel themselves to be discriminated against. At the time of the First Crusade, the Shi'a were at the height of their glory, with the Fatimid Caliph of Cairo a Shi'a, as well as having created an Iranian kingdom and smaller kingdoms in North Africa*. Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Sunnis held sway, and it was only when Saladin, a Kurdish Sunni, restored the Sunni hegemony, that the Crusaders were pushed out.
Nothing would make Achmadinejad and the Iranian Shi'a mullahs happier than to recreate the Shi'a dominance over large sections of the Middle East. In this context, Israel is almost incidental. Iran has seen the governments of both Syria and Lebanon deeply undermined by its Hezbollah proxy; now it is offering to become the sponsor of Hamas in Gaza. Both Egypt and Israel view this with concern, because, for Egypt, the fear is the linkage of a Hamas which is Iranian and Shi'a in all but name with the Islamic Brotherhood and other radical Islamists. The concern for Israel is obvious. Should a Palestinian State at some point become a reality, and Hamas in Gaza join with Abu Mazen's PA on the West Bank, Iran would almost certainly do its best to provoke a war with Israel. Hezbollah sat this last round out; it would not, if Israel was already facing a two-front attack, from Gaza and the West Bank. The danger to the Arab world as well as to Israel mounts if American forces leave Iraq. There are a lot of Shi'ites in Iraq who would be happy to squeeze the Sunnis between Shi'a forces in Syria and Iran. Jordan would also be under severe pressure.
And all this supposes that Iran doesn't yet have the Bomb, which it undoubtedly will have within 5 years. The West simply isn't doing anything to prevent it.
Listen to Achmadinejad. My former rabbi, whose childhood was spent in pre-WWII Middlesborough in the UK, once spoke of listening to Hitler rant in the 1930s. It was easy to pick up German radio, apparently. Most of the British thought Hitler a bit of a joke, with his shouting and flailing arms and posturing, and didn't take him seriously. But, my rabbi said, since most of the Jews had enough Yiddish to understand Hitler's German, and they believed he meant to do exactly as he said he would. It's the same with Clown of Teheran. He has a variety of goals, including the annihilation of Israel but not ending with it. He wants to get even with the rest of the Islamic world (at least the Middle Eastern part of it), and then most probably wants to Convert the Infidel (for what other reason would Iran be working on missiles that could reach Europe?)
It would be ironic if Egypt and Israel actually worked together to stop arms smuggling via Sinai. Our peace treaty with Egypt has not really been mutually beneficient, or even very amicable. That Hamas, because of the Iranian threat behind it, increased cooperation just goes to show that the Law of Unintended Consequences is always at work.
*From Wikipedia: "Fatimid Caliphate which formed in Ifriqiya in 909. Then ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Egypt and the Levant until 1171. The Buyid dynasty emerged in Daylaman, north of Iran, about 930 and then ruled over central and western part of Iran and Iraq until 1048"
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