"Iran has been a significant player in the Middle East, influencing and being
influenced by its neighbors since long before the advent of the petrodollar or
the Islamic revolution of 1979. But in the past five years, Iran’s regional
power has expanded considerably.
Iran has deepened its relationships with militant factions in Iraq,
Lebanon, and Palestine and accelerated a nuclear program that could give it the
ability to make atomic weapons within the next few years.
Iran is a major, if not the major, threat to U.S. interests and U.S. allies
in the Middle East. Yet Iran’s reach remains constrained by an open-ended U.S.
military presence in the region, domestic weakness, and historic divisions
between Arabs and Persians, Sunnis and Shiites, and among Shiites.
Iran’s goals appear to be largely defensive: to achieve strategic depth and
safeguard its system against foreign intervention, to have a major say in
regional decisions, and to prevent or minimize actions that might run counter to
Iranian interests. In the service of those interests, Iran has been willing to
sacrifice many non-Iranian lives.
To achieve its goals, Iran exerts influence in three major ways: through
ties with Shiite clerics, or mullahs, financial aid for humanitarian and
political causes, and weapons and training supplied to militant groups. Much of
this support pales in comparison with U.S. contributions to American allies and
with other resources available to Iran’s partners, although Iran appears to get
(literally) more bang for its bucks.
Recipients of Iranian largesse, especially the Lebanese group Hezbollah,
are not mere proxies and appear to have considerable tactical autonomy and
influence on Iranian policies.
Many Iraqis, including Shiite groups close to Iran, are trying to hedge their
ties with Tehran by maintaining links to the United States.
So far so good. And this starts to open up some interesting possibilities.
"To contain harmful Iranian influence, the United States may have to act on
a number of fronts, working to stabilize Iraq and Lebanon and to resolve the
Arab-Israeli conflict without magnifying its own confrontation with Iran."
Interjecting Great Satan overtly into the Palestinian cause celeb for turf lost fair and square on the battlefield in desperate counter attacks would certainly make a case for pre election chicanery in the Strip. Flooding Iranian fed and funded rocket rich rejects like the HAMAS with
political choices, 'movements' and parties undreamed of in the ME could be fun and easy.
Marginalizing, disarming and electorially usurping HAMAS could then be applied to Hiz'B'Allah:
The U.S. government should consider direct talks with Iran to try to constrain
Iran’s motivation to further destabilize the region and should establish
contacts, if possible, with some of Iran’s partners to increase U.S. options, knowledge, and flexibility.
Direct talks could include several confidence building measures. Like giving up Hiz'B'Allah to Great Satan's tender clutches.
That would constrain Iran's motivations for hegemony - plus - really build up some confidence too.
Seems risque to think about direct contact as Iranian fanboys in Mahdi Army detonate explosives in innocent civilian rich environs in a democratically sovereign neighbors capitol.
Actually - a case for constant confrontation and annihiliation marginalizing Mahdi Army, Special Groups - instability, insecurity and illegitimacy - is far easier made.
Essentially - Great Satan shouldn't really care about direct contact with nuke craving, missile sprouting illegit regimes that torment their own people and their neighbors.
Illegit regimes should really care about direct contact with Great Satan.
"Crystal Ball of Vision" - Persian miniature pixed by aLi ReZa