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The Iran-Led Axis Vs US-Led Alliance.

The Iran-led axis consists of the Shi'ite theocracy, Assad's dictatorship, Iran's Shi'ite offshoot Hizbullah, the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood's Gaza offshoot Hamas, its Sunni rival in Palestine Islamic Jihad, and a score of Syria-sponsored political and terrorist groups in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon - plus Tehran-financed or trained militants among Shi'ite communities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab states. Against it is a US-led alliance which includes Israel and Sunni Arab regimes led by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon's beleaguered government of Fou'ad Siniora and its March 14 partners - the latter consisting of groups - Sunnis, Christians and Druze - which on March 14, 2005, staged in Beirut a demonstration of about 1.5m Lebanese fed up with Syria's control of their country since April 1976. That demonstration led to Syria's military withdrawal from Lebanon in late April 2005.

Tehran is resisting the West with its nuclear ambitions and with its plan to become the super-power of the Middle East. Assad wants to kill a UN-backed tribunal to try the killers of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri - a move on which his survival depends - meaning he wants to control Lebanon through a "national unity government" in which his Hizbullah-led allies insist on having a "blocking third" through a 19+11 cabinet where the 11 allies can veto anything he does not like, including the tribunal. Failing this option, Assad wants early elections to a new Lebanese parliament in which his Hizbullah-led allies must win and control the government. But to survive, Assad needs to have his father's Greater Syria project succeed, which is not what the Saudi/Arab peace plan calls for and not what Iran's theocracy has been betting on (see news4-IranSyriaAxisJan22-07).

Israel has lately tilted in favour of the Saudi/Arab peace plan. A set of principles, this offers Israel full recognition and permanent peace with the Arab states in return for a withdrawal to 1967 lines, establishment of an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and "an agreed, just solution" to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with the 1948 UN Resolution 194.

Israel has problems with 194 and there has been talk of compromise in interpreting it, but Arab officials dismiss Libyan charges of a "Palestinian resettlement plot". The Saudi/Arab plan is being used by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a way to give important Arab regional support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his discussions with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert. The support of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and other moderate Arab states is also intended to undermine the standing of Hamas, whose Damascus-based leadership refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist and is split with the Gaza-based Hamas leaders.
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Publication:APS Diplomat News Service
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 26, 2007
Previous Article:The Riyadh Arab Summit Is To Present A Peace Plan, Which Could Be Divisive.
Next Article:Towards Arab Nuclear Bloc.

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