Promoting instability in Shiite-dominated Iran is a risky game given the unrest that continues to roil the Middle East. The virus of anti-government protests could paralyze the region for a long time to come.
Protesters have been killed in Bahrain, another of Iran’s neighbors, during demonstrations held this week by Shiite Muslims, who feel oppressed by the Sunni minority in power. Bahrain could become another Shiite-dominated neighbor of Iran. Shiites have already gained political power in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and Hezbollah has grown stronger in Lebanon.
Syria is also an ally of Iran, and we are seeing unexpected alliances between Iran and Sunni-dominated Turkey, Hamas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The Arab regimes loyal to the United States could be replaced with elected governments that are friendly or sympathetic to Iran. The United States seems to understand this. The recent statements by U.S. politicians in support of the opposition in Iran could be a reaction to Iran’s growing influence in the region, or it could be the result of President Obama’s idealistic view of the middle-class unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.