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No Winners, only losers.

By Hammam Kilani Since the United States removed Iraq from the equation, with the Third Gulf War ending Iraq's power, and the rise of Iran as a strong dominant solo power in the region. The question is; was the American intelligence agency, the CIA, aware of the consequences of invading Iraq? Did it occur to them that by destroying Baithist power, they would leave the stage open for Iran to dramatically increase its influence in both Iraq and Lebanon. Iran's confidence is clear from the pronouncements of the Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei: "There is no power on earth that can prevent Iran from Uranium Enrichment". Iran is only too aware that president Bush and his Republican party have lost their majority at the Congress and that the Democrats have realistic hopes at returning to the White House. The domestic weakness will have given great heart to the Iranian government.Over the past 10 years, Iran has undergone a significant growth in regional power. Firstly, it benefited from, and possibly played a role in, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, a rare instance of an Israeli withdrawal without a total military victory behind it and as clear an indication as possible of the complicated, multi-faceted nature of the Lebanese question. More recently, Iran has been accused of playing a supporting role in Hezbollah's July 12, 2006 cross-border raid that led to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and killing of three others, marking a further decline in Israeli-Iranian relations. The successful provocation of the Israeli army only increased the influence of Hezbollah, and through this organization, Iran has become a major player in the region. If war broke out in Iran, the US would hope to achieve their goals using air power alone. In this scenario, Iran might retaliate against the Emirates, Dubai or Doha, knowing that the financial markets of all the Arab Gulf States could collapse, along with the property market and the Billion Dollar construction industry. The real losers of this war would be the Arab Gulf States and that would lead to capital flight from the Gulf, to such countries as Jordan. Iran is now at its peek; the United States has failed to stabilize Iraq and Israel also failed to crack down or to disarm Hezbollah. Further conflict this summer would not undermine Iran's position in the region. Aggressive statements from the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have led to retaliatory remarks from Israeli politicians, but it does not obscure the reality, a reality in which Iran is now a regional power with ever increasing ambitions. nM.A Diplomacy, Law & Global Change Coventry Universityhammamkilani@gmail.comNo Winners, only losers

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Mar 13, 2007
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