London, 9 Aug - The Iranian Regime wields a lot of power in the Middle East thanks to poor decisions on behalf of the US, according to an international security expert.
Dr Azeem Ibrahim, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy, wrote an op-ed for Al Arabiya, in which he assesses that the Iranian Regime has always been able to wield power over its neighbouring states but that it has gotten considerably worse since the mullahs took over in 1979.
In the piece, entitled How the United States handed the Middle East to Iran, Ibrahim explains that the US invasion of Iraq which led to the execution of Sunni Saddam Hussain allowed the Shiite Iranian mullahs to position themselves as in alignment with the Shiite majority population of Iraq and eventually dominate the country.
He wrote: “The United States intervened to remove Hussain, and in his stead have elevated a Shiite led government, more representative of Iraq’s majority Shiite demographics. Except for a decade later, the Shiite government in Baghdad has effectively become a client state of Tehran.”
He also notes that because the US has not been committed enough to helping the Syrian opposition forces in their fight against the dictator Bashar Assad, Syria has effectively fallen to the Iranian Regime as well.
He wrote: “The United States supported the Sunni-led opposition in the Syrian Civil War against the Shiite Alawite government of Bashar al-Assad. Except they have not been sufficiently committed to the conflict to see its resolution to a favourable ending for their side when they could have done. And they have since moved aside for Russia and Iran to crush the opposition to Assad and enforce his rule. And where the Assad regime would have previously looked up to Iran as a natural ally, they now look up to Iran as the friend to whom they owe their lives.”
Then in Afghanistan, the US and the Taliban (both enemies of Iran) were critically weakened and Iran, if fact, allied themselves with the Taliban to drive the US out of the Middle East.
He wrote: “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are allowing the Taliban to operate and build up on the Iranian side of the border, seem to be providing them logistical support, and even personnel, as high ranking Iranian commandos are thought to have been aiding recent Taliban operations in western Afghanistan. War makes for strange bed-fellows. But either way, Tehran is finding itself in a much better position in Afghanistan than it could have ever hoped for, and it is making influential friends for the future, when the Taliban will inevitably return to power in Kabul.”
He concluded: “The irony of it all is, of course, that in the nebulous thinking of the Bush neo-cons, the Afghan and Iraqi wars were supposed to contain Iran and cement American influence over the region and its critical oil supplies.
Instead it has done the exact opposite: it has guaranteed Iranian influence from the Mediterranean Sea to the Khyber Pass. And, in a stunning turn of events, an influence that is beginning to transcend sectarian lines. Is it any wonder that America’s allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, are becoming more assertive and belligerent in the face of a rising Iran?”