My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two views of the Middle East....

Amir Taheri looks at two opposing views of the middle east...
BUT why did Tehran decide to play its Lebanese card now?

Part of the answer lies in Washington's decision last May to reverse its policy toward the Islamic Republic and seek an accommodation by offering major concessions. Tehran interpreted that as a sign of weakness and a confirmation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's belief that (thanks to the Hidden Imam) the Islamic Republic is heading for victory over the U.S.-led "infidel."

Ahmadinejad believes that his strategy to drive the "infidel" out of the Islamic heartland cannot succeed unless Arabs accept Iran's leadership. But this is not easy to sell to the majority of Arabs, who are Sunni, for the Khomeinist regime is Shiite.

To overcome that hurdle, it is necessary to persuade the Arabs that only Iran is sincere in its desire to wipe Israel off the map and has the power to do so. Once the Arabs buy that claim, Ahmadinejad hopes, they will rally behind his vision of the Middle East, as opposed to the "American vision."

That strategy pushed Israel to the top of Tehran's agenda. This is why Tehran decided to adopt the Palestinian Hamas movement, left an orphan by Arab powers that had rallied behind Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement.

Ahmadinejad has also managed to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abandon the temptation to switch to the American side. Last month, Syria signed a military agreement with the Islamic Republic - acknowledging Iran's position as leader of a new "Rejection Front." In exchange, the Islamic Republic's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei declared that he would regard any attack on Syria as an attack on Iran.

THE mini-war between Israel and the Lebanese branch of the Hezbollah is, in fact, a proxy war in which Tehran's vision for the Middle East clashes with Washington's rival vision. Just as Washington cannot afford to let Israel lose, or even bow to a cease-fire that could be interpreted as a victory for Hezbollah, Tehran may be forced to back the Lebanese branch to the hilt - even if that means a larger war.

What is at stake is not the exchange of kidnapped Israeli soldiers with Arab prisoners in Israel. Such exchanges have happened routinely over five decades. The real issue is: Who will set the agenda for the Middle East - the Islamic Republic and its allies, or the United States and its allies?


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