Saudi Arabian citizens are sending zadkat contributions over the border into Iraq to help finance the Sunni insurgents who have three targets: 1.) Shia insurgent death squads, 2.) Iraqi military, and 3.) US troops. The main target is definitively the Shia sectarian forces (not the Iraqi military), some of the Shia being members of the militias (SCIRRI's and Maoqtada Sadr's, both of which have political wings represented in the Iraqi Parliament). The Saudi govt ostensibly is opposed to the flow of zadkat monies being used in this way, but the pressure on certain Sunni Saudis to support fellow sectarians in Iraq has in its background profound fear the Shia militias and irregulars, the Shia-dominated govt are in league with and are coming increasingly into the orbit of Iranian expansionism -- which clearly seeks now to dominate the entire Persian Gulf region as its own lake.
At the same time, Iran, while furthering its interests in Iraq, is very much holding onto its influence on Syria, and is using Syria as a client state in the Iranian effort to deploy the Shia terrorists of Hizbullah with their political apparatus (and the renegade Christian party Amal) to marshall huge Shia crowds in Beirut to force the govt of Fouad Siniora (Sunni) and his Christian allies to fall. Iran wants control from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. But in Iraq, it is being resisted by both the Coalition of the Willing and the Iraqi military which is staffed by both Arab Sunnis and Kurdish Sunnis, tho the majority are, again, Shia. Thus, the loyalty of the Iraqi military is not without its own problems.
Returning to Lebanon, where the Shia Hizbullah/Amal have placed the Sunni govt, with its Christian allies, under the siege of huge demonstrations, the battle for Beirut continues Simon Tisdall. "Iran vs Saudis in battle of Beirut" (Dec5,2k6) Guardian UK. And it is the same forces, Shia Hizbullah in Lebanon and Shia govt in Iran who back the Shia terrorist organization Hamas in Palestine. Mamoud Abbas, President of the Palestiniain Authority on the other hand, is a Sunni who backs Palestine's path forward to peace with Israel (Private Saudi citizens fuding Iraqi insurgents by Tom Regan (Dec8.2k6) Christian Science Monitor:
Riyadh is indirectly confronting Tehran in Palestine, where [the Saudi govt] supports President Mahmoud Abbas against the Iranian-backed Hamas, and in Lebanon, where it is bankrolling the Siniora government.An AP report via International Herald Tribune confirms the non-govt funding for Iraq's Sunnis "Officials say Saudis major provider of finance to Iraqi Sunni insurgents" (Dec7,26).
But the key battleground is Iraq. The Saudis fear that a failure of the US there would confirm the country's domination by Iran, jeopardize the survival of Iraq's Sunni minority and upset political and religious power balances along the entire western Gulf littoral. "Since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave uninvited," a Saudi government adviser, Nawaf Obaid, told the Washington Post, quoting Prince Turki al-Faisal. "If it does, one of the first consequences will be a massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shia militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis."
These definite developments have been long in coming but are very real, altho they do not mesh with the rabid blame-game practiced at home and abroad, by Americans and by defnite enemies of America who have another purpose than clarifying the situation. One such is Sami Ramdani, "Iraq: not civil war, but occupation" (Dec8,2k6) openDemocracy.
But of course this is the line that Iran markets to the world, a line bawt by Prez Bush's Iran Study Group and its former members, now USA Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates (Gates' shocking thinking on Iran (Dec6,2k6) Jerusalem Post.
Gates's first instinct when asked about Iran's potential nuclear capability is not to explain why he views such a prospect as inimical to US interests, but why it might not be such a dangerous thing.And on the latter article's second page:
Gates assures us that although Ahmadinejad may be wacko, his Iranian leadership higher-ups have got to be more responsible. These moderate, reasonable, Iranian leaders, Gates calmly explains, have perfectly understandable reasons to want nukes to defend themselves. Not to worry, it's just the Cold War Iranian-style. Israel, the US, and Pakistan have nukes, why not Iran?
Gates has now made the case for tolerating an Iranian nuclear weapon and against taking military action to prevent that eventuality. In doing so, he elicited no discernible alarm from his Senatorial inquisitors.This is the wisdom that presumably advances US understanding and interests in the MidEast. Is Gates the best Bush can do?
We wish one of them had pointed out that an Iranian nuclear weapon would dramatically increase both Teheran's capability to inflict increasing damage against US interests and the likelihood of Iran doing just that. Now it falls to President Bush to reveal whether Gates's thinking reflects his own, or whether he is still committed to preventing the world's most dangerous regime from obtaining the world's most dangerous weapons.