U.S. Reacts to Fear of Iran’s Rising Clout

White House Eyes Islamist State While Strategizing in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria; But Its Approach Could Backfire

Destroyed weapons belonging to
forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, after a coalition air
strike along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah on Monday.

WASHINGTON—White House concerns that
Iran’s hand is being strengthened by recent events in the Middle East is
central to its response to the turmoil, say U.S., European, and Arab

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to use military force
against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces was made in part by his
administration’s fear that Western inaction could further embolden
Tehran, these officials say.

Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Iran’s Shiite government are locked in a battle for regional influence.

U.S. military planners are also concerned Iran could benefit from an
overthrow of the monarchy in Bahrain, home to U.S. naval operations that
help control the Persian Gulf’s oil flow.

As Bombs Drop, Leaders’ Messages Diverge

‘It is U.S. policy that Gadhafi has to go.’

— President Barack Obama

‘I think Libya needs to get rid of
Gadhafi but we are responsible for trying to enforce the Security
Council resolution. The Libyans will choose their own future.’

— U.K. Prime Minister Davi…

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