Centuries of Hatreds Are Boiling to Surface in Mideast
Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani may be genuinely interested in striking a nuclear arms deal but unable to deliver and unable to fully restrain Iran’s Revolutionary Guard support of terrorist groups.
Letter to the editor, WSJ, Jan. 5, 2014
Regarding “A Letter to Rouhani” (Review & Outlook, Dec. 30): The assassination of Mohamad Chatah, potential future prime minister of Lebanon, and any role played by Iranian leaders in directing, abetting or condoning his murder may not have the reverberations of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, but steps and counter-steps taken by Middle Eastern adversaries seem eerily similar. Iran’s Shiite Muslim leaders are attempting to expand their sphere of influence through support of Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Saudi Arabia’s Sunni Muslim leaders are trying to blunt Iran’s power surge through support of Sunni factions in each country. The Saudis have “pledged $3 billion to bolster Lebanon’s armed forces in a challenge to the Iranian-allied Hezbollah militia’s decades-long” dominance.
The Obama administration is hopeful that Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is a trustworthy peacemaker ready to deal in good faith, but Saudi Arabia and France apparently think otherwise. French President Francois Hollande was meeting with Saudi leaders when their $3 billion “gift” to Lebanon was announced. A large portion of that gift will be used to buy French weapons systems.
Centuries of hatreds are boiling to the surface. U.S. leadership and resolve are perceived as unreliable, so regional powers are gearing up for ongoing conflict. Mr. Rouhani may be genuinely interested in striking a nuclear arms deal but unable to deliver and unable to fully restrain Iran’s Revolutionary Guard support of terrorist groups.