First, a worse-case scenario:
Iran’s Maximal Objective
The above map shows the maximum extent of primary influence that is within Teheran’s grasp. The best way to explain this map is to compare it to the map of actual influence directly before the Iraq War
Iran’s Influence, 2003
Syria, while ruled by a national-secularist regime, is a client state of Iran when it comes to foreign policy. At the time of the Iraq War Lebanon was ruled as a colony by Syria, and so is also included. The origin of the Damascus-Tehran axis comes from both geopolitical necessity (Iraq was ruled by the territorially expansive Saddam Hussein) and natural sympathy (Syria, while mostly Sunni, is ruled by the quasi-Shia quasi-Muslim Alawite sect).
The Iraq War changed the region by throwing Iraq, a mostly Shia country, to Iran’s influence. Despite American attempts to contest Iraq, the natural sympathies of the Iraqi Shia combined with the violent nihilism of the country’s Sunni Arab population all but assure an orientation toward Tehran and Qom. A natural consequence of the liberation of Iraq is Shia assertiveness in East Arabia. East Arabia, the oil producing region of Saudi Arabia, is populated by Shia who suffer under the Riyadh-Wahhabi yoke. Iranian instigation of the local population, as seen in the recent “pro-Hezbollah” (actually, pro-Iran) rally, may blackmail the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away form American influence and to a subject’s embrace of the Shia hegemon.
Yet, happily, merely be supporting the Bush doctrine for democracy we are able to address the honest aspiration of Shia while preventing such overpowering, regional country. As I already wrote, we should
Such a change would reorder the Middle East on democratic lines, allow Shia, religious Sunnis, tribal Sunnis, and global elements to live in a rational balance of power
A Democratic Middle East
Even the “Big Iran” scenario of the first map is a major improvement from the Arab National-Secularist sewer that existed before President Bush. But a democratic, rational Middle East still lays before us.
A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer