With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Kuwait rarely rebuffs its ally, the United States, partly out of gratitude for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But in October it reneged on a pledge to send three military observers to an American-led naval exercise in the Gulf, according to U.S. officials and Kuwaiti analysts.Yes, everything the Bush administration, with the help of the neocons, has done in the region has helped the Iranians become a dominant force in the Middle East and everyone else knows it. Many of us have been saying this for years but now it's in the Washington Post.
"We understood," a State Department official said. "The Kuwaitis were being careful not to antagonize the Iranians."
Four years after the United States invaded Iraq, in part to transform the Middle East, Iran is ascendant, many in the region view the Americans in retreat, and Arab countries, their own feelings of weakness accentuated, are awash in sharpening sectarian currents that many blame the United States for exacerbating.
Iran has deepened its relationship with Palestinian Islamic groups, assuming a financial role once filled by Gulf Arab states, in moves it sees as defensive and the United States views as aggressive. In Lebanon and Iraq, Iran is fighting proxy battles against the United States with funds, arms and ideology. And in the vacuum created by the U.S. overthrow of Iranian foes in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is exerting a power and prestige that recalls the heady days of the 1979 Islamic revolution, when Iranian clerics led the toppling of a U.S.-backed government.