Sunday, January 14, 2007

Two Alliances Two Alliances

WSj: Two Alliances: President Bush has managed to divide and conquer the Middle East points out that the political realities in the Middle East have changed greatly since our intervention in Iraq. On the one hand, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's largest political party, and whose family has for a long time been a staunch ally of Iran, recently went to Wash. D.C. to discuss cooperation against the Sunni insurgents and his Shiite rival and rabid anti-American Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army. On the other hand, we are supporting the Lebannese government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora against Shiite Hizb'Allah domination.

The dynamics are interesting. We are supporting the Shiite majority in Iraq, while also supporting the non-Shiite majorities in Lebaannon and Syria. The Saudis are panicked by the emerging Shiite crescent running from Pakistan through the center of Islam to Lebannon, and are now actively looking for our assistance. But the Shiite majority in Iraq is doing the same. So far, we seem to be able to play most of the sides, without alienating them, since in all cases, we support the majority sentiments in each country. Thus, while al-Hakim may not like that we have sided againt Hizb'Allah in Lebannon, it is much more important to him that we are supporting moderate Shiite dominated rule back home in Iraq. Similarly, the Sunnis in Lebannon, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia, may not like our support of the Shia in Iraq, they are more concerned with Hizb'Allah.

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