Originally Posted by Der Alte
Is Iran the boogeyman that American neo-conservatives and Israeli hardliners make it out to be? Surprisingly, it is – but not because of its nuclear program. Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons to exterminate Jews; rather, Iran wants to increase its ability to project power and influence across the Persian Gulf.
This is the real problem with Iran: it has the potential to project enormous influence in the Gulf through conventional (and in the future, nuclear) means, but it cannot do so while Americans remain stationed in Iraq. As such, Iran has been working to destabilise Iraq and to encourage the United States to leave – which finally, it is. The ensuing Iraqi power vacuum, once filled by Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority, can now be filled by Iran-friendly Shiites. With Iraq as a hapless buffer state, Iran will be free to project its influence throughout the entire Gulf. This is not a far-fetched idea – the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war just so that he could act as a buffer against Iranian expansion.
That’s why the concern of the Gulf states isn’t really Israel (which, for all intents and purposes, is an enemy in public rhetoric only), but a Shiite Iran seeking to increase its sphere of influence in a region increasingly devoid of American troops. It is this fear of Iranian expansionism which has prompted the furious battle over Bahrain, a majority Shiite population ruled by a Saudi-friendly Sunni minority. Iran has very likely been fuelling the riots across the small island nation in the hope of encouraging regime change, a Shiite and Iran-friendly government, and thereby gaining an opening to project its influence in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. That’s also why the Saudis moved forcefully to support the Bahraini government in fending off protestors, and why the West watched silently. The rights of a few protestors in a tiny Middle Eastern nation are a small price to pay for holding back Iranian influence.
The growth of Iranian power is not just a Middle Eastern affair, either. Remember: Iran has a considerable naval presence in the Gulf, and with it, the ability to lay mines in the Strait of Hormuz, a channel for over two-thirds of the world’s oil supplies. To do so might be contrary to Iran’s immediate self-interest but it provides Iran with bargaining power, a kill-switch against any threats. This, in addition to the development of nuclear weapons, would present enormous complications in any attempt to take action against Iran in the future.
Does this sound like a nuclear, nation-state version of a suicide bomber? We need to stop seeing Iran as an unstable, fundamentalist regime itching to take out Israel. Only then will we see the real problem that it poses.
I do not totally disagree with this opinion article from Sam Murray in The Sydney Globalist but in my opinion he minimizes, if not disregards, the religious aspect to much. Everything Iran does must pas a veto from the almighty clerics (ask Ahmadinejad). The clerics also have a very powerful army themselves called the Revolutionary Guards, including the Quds and Basij forces.
Who was propably working on a military nuclear device? Right, the Revolutinary Guard. No General of the other Armed forces, nor the government has any power over that force. The reason for their existence? To protect the country's Islamic system, IOW : Shiism. They call non-muslims and Sunnis heretics and believe that only they are the guardians of Mekka.
The Iranian clerics are fanatics but not stupid. They use the quds forces to stir trouble in non shiite countries but cannot be bold enough for large attacks, fearing retaliation from the west. But once they have a nuclear weapon the can defend themselves from retaliation.
Which western government dares to ignore an Iranian nuclear threat to destroy their capital if they decide to retaliate?
Iran will not use a nuclear device to directly attack their opponents (the west) but to use it as an defensive umbrella to safeguard their military expansion of Shiism. Do not forget that Islam almost always expanded by military force.