Skip to comments.Iranís Lengthening Shadow in the Gulf
Posted on 05/31/2012 2:03:18 AM PDT by jerusalemjudy
The April 11 visit by Iranian president Ahmadinejad to the island of Abu Musa, close to where the Strait of Hormuz opens into the Persian Gulf, has severely exacerbated the dispute between Iran and the UAE over possession of the island and two others. This dispute joins a long series of Iranian-Saudi rivalries elsewhere. In Bahrain, Iran is investing great efforts (in propaganda and subversion) to help the Shiite majority in its struggle with the royal house; in Yemen, Iran has recently stepped up its activity; and in Syria, Iran is working to preserve Bashar Assads rule while Saudi Arabia backs his opponents. Iran claims that both the UAE and especially Bahrain belong to it historically, leading to intensified tensions in the wake of the Saudi plan to confederate with Bahrain and other Sunni Gulf states. Amid the intensifying conflict with the West, Iran is maintaining a policy of projecting force in the Gulf and surrounding areas, building new military bases along the Gulfs shores, performing naval maneuvers, and practicing ship takeovers and special-forces activities. With these moves Iran is trying to signal that it is prepared for a conflict with the United States in the naval domain, seeking to convey both to the United States and its Gulf neighbors that it is the ascendant power in the region, and that the regions security is in its hands and not those of external powers. Yet this activity has had a unifying effect on the GCC member states which fear Irans lengthening shadow. Given the Arabs weakness and lack of a charismatic figure who could lead a Sunni Arab response to the mounting Iranian challenge, the need for American power in the region to create the necessary balance against Iran and protect energy sources has only grown.
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