The first cat to bring up Iran's plan for demonic hegemonic designs was the super savvy Yossef Bodansky in the essential (in any library) "Secret History of the Iraq War" (He was also the first cat to mention that Great Satan had better look out for a young Persian fed and funded wanna be Ayatollah with several tons of issues nom d'guerre'd Mookie Al Sadr).
King Abdullah of Jordan brought it up too - and was instantly siezed upon to drop that kinda crazy talk because it only served to queer the mix on any sunni shia concilliations.
While several cats tended to dismiss that idea - Iran's crescent from Persia to the Med and Red seas - events since 2004 seem to bear out that this is way more than a hot! fantasy for Mullahopolis (unlike the creepy old guy that is always in front of Claire's at the mall with his Nikon Cool Pic).
Ex Great Satan spy guy Robert Baer points out that Iran has proved to the world that the Mullahs particular brand of mohammedism - their designer version via shia - is in fact the ONLY kind that can stand up to Little Satan and decisively defeat and/or stalemate Little Satan's blatant diss to ineffective, corrupt leaders for life, regimes that lose every war they fight and provide nothing for their own people except the secret police, the religious police with an intolerant fashion posse that only serve to uphold a most unfun mix of tribalism, despotism and often mohamedism.
"Iran's star is rising. And now with a friendly Shia government in Baghdad, it will rise a lot faster. On the other hand, the old Sunni order-the foundation of American interests in the Middle East-is edging toward collapse.
How long can Pakistan and Saudi Arabia hold on?
For the first time in the history of Mohammedism, Shia domination of Mecca is not unthinkable. Nor is an Iranian empire in the Middle East.
Was Khomeini right after all, that Iran would ultimately defeat America, the Great Satan?"
Enter the rowdy think tank Hanks from Great Satan's RAND Corp.
"Saudi-Iranian Relations Since the Fall of Saddam
Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy"
Comprising 4 parts - available in PDF - the study agrees that things are off the hook - Lebanon and Palestine are being absorbed from sunni places into shiny shiny victorious shia faces that threaten the entire ME - from President for Life Hosni's Pyramidland - where shia conversions are rapidly hooking young people all the way to the Land of the Pure (in a way making a case moi made and was ridiculed for by a supposedly savvy Harvard cat that Pakistan herself IS a weapon of mass destruction)
The conclusions reached for Great Satan's options are somewhat suspect -
"1. View Saudi Arabia Less as a Bulwark Against Iran and More as an
U.S.-Saudi interests are aligned against Iran in many ways, but Riyadh
is unlikely to act in lockstep with Washington’s strategy. Indeed, the
current Saudi-centric containment strategy appears to have been overtaken
by events, with the Kingdom pursuing a nuanced approach that
incorporates elements of accommodation, engagement, and rollback..."
2. Seek Saudi Burden-Sharing in Iraq, but Not to Counteract Iran
As noted above, it is important that the United States not exaggerate
Saudi Arabia’s influence over Sunni factions in Iraq or view it as analogous
to Iran’s influence. The Saudis themselves appear to recognize this
and are diversifying the breadth and intensity of their contacts with a
wide range of Iraqi political factions.
The United States should encourage this trend, but with the understanding that these levers should work toward the stabilization and equitable political development of Iraq, rather than the targeted rollback of Iranian influence.
3. Encourage Saudi Initiatives on the Arab-Israeli Front
Iran’s militant nonstate allies are players in this strategy, dependent on Syria as a key conduit. Much of the focus by Saudi Arabia is geared toward eliminating this conduit by wrestling Syria away from Tehran.
Yet Riyadh is unlikely to find a compromise with Damascus on the Hariri issue, and, given the durability and robustness of the Tehran-Damascus axis, energy might be better expended on other areas.
4. Push for Domestic Reform in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to Mitigate
The mid-1990s have shown that genuine efforts toward integration
and dialogue between rulers and their Shi’a populations has the
effect of lessening Iran’s attractiveness as an external patron.
Conversely, the hardening of anti-Shi’a discrimination and backtracking
on reforms could make Shi’a public opinion swing more toward more
radical domestic factions who are influenced by Iran or who seek to
emulate the Hizballah model in the Gulf.
5. Avoid Actions That Inflame Iranian Perceptions of External
Meddling in Its Affairs.
While much of this fear is undoubtedly exaggerated, Washington can mitigate it as a source of Saudi-Iranian tension by abandoning the idea that domestic dissent inside Iran can be engineered from the outside.
If, on the other hand, this idea grows, the potential for what one Saudi interlocutor called a “dirty war” escalating among proxy groups outside the territories of each country could grow, to the detriment of U.S. interests and regional stability.
6. Pursue Saudi-Iranian Endorsement of Multilateral Security for the Gulf
Capitalizing on this dynamic, the United States should work toward a more cooperative Gulf security arrangement that recognizes Iran as a valid player
but assuages Saudi and Gulf concerns about Iranian dominance."
Filled with happy talk about the sunni shia Crescent Wars, RAND's study is actually a conceptualiation of what "The Devil we know" predicted:
"What it comes down to is this: Iran is the most powerful and stable country in the Middle East-a country the United States must either fight in a new war or come to terms with."
Art - "Crescent Wars"