The battle for control of and influmustence over the Persian Gulf has been described variously as a manifestation of Sunni-Shi’ite, Arab-Persian and/or American-Iranian rivalry. Each carries more than a grain of truth, and what we are now witnessing is these tensions each coming to a head with the result that Tehran and Washington are in the midst of a latent battle royal with the Gulf monarchs in the middle.
Iran regards and certainly presents itself as a regional (if not global) power that is fundamentally superior to its Arab-Sunni and American opponents. In order to protect its petroleum industry, coastline and shipping lanes, the Tehran regime holds that the
Persian Gulf (and if recent statements are to be believed, the Mediterranean Sea as well) falls within Iran’s sphere of influence, and foreign powers are therefore seen as a threat. In this regard, Iran’s revolutionary regime views the United States as particularly menacing, making enmity with the United States one of its enduring principles.
The Arab Gulf states, ruled by Sunni monarchs, are threatened by Iran and to varying degrees by restive Shi’ite populations inspired by the recent instability in the region. Unable to defend themselves against their much larger Iranian neighbor, they have hedged their bets by aligning themselves with the United States and relying on its defensive and deterrent power, while simultaneously appeasing the Islamic Republic.
Since the fir… >>>