Iran rebuilding its ancient Middle Eastern empire - columnist
Iran is taking advantage of regional chaos to build a new empire in the Middle East, columnist Ed Blanche wrote in the Arab Weekly.
“These imperial-style machinations mean that Iranian influence extends to Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and Sana’a — approximately one-fifth of the Arab world,” he said.
Iran's regime also planned to give the followers of Shia Islam the upper hand in the region, he said.
“Iran had been working towards that end since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in February 1979,” Blanche said.
The 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of despot Saddam Hussein and the Arab spring had left the Arab world in chaos, he said.
“All this played into Tehran’s hands. By ousting Saddam, Iraq’s strongman since the 1970s and for decades the Arab bulwark against their ancient enemies, the Persians, the Americans allowed Iraq’s long-downtrodden Shia majority to seize power,” he said.