The Middle East has always been a place of geopolitical shifting sands. Regional players rise and fall, external empires come and go, and dreams of stability have always proven ephemeral. But Iran has always been a centre of power in the region. And after its own internal turmoil with the Shah and the Islamic Revolution, the ayatollahs have built a sufficiently stable and robust state that has been able to exert considerable power on its fractious neighbours.
This was a return to norm. It used to be given wisdom that the Iran would hold sway over peoples, militant groups and governments who are aligned with Shiite Islam. Iran has been the foremost Shiite state in the world for 500 years. The minority Shiite Alawite government in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shiite populations in Iraq, the north-eastern Al-Ahsa region of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Afghanistan and Pakistan would all look to Tehran for support, guidance and even a certain degree of coordination. Iran’s status as guiding light of the region’s Shiite assure them a built-in status as regional players.
A client state
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.Dr. Azeem Ibrahim