By Bill Salus
January 5, 2011 King Abdullah II of Jordan called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and urged him to remove the obstacles blocking Mideast peace. However, the King marginally addressed the peace process and mainly pressed for answers on what Jerusalem and Amman can do to curb Iran’s advancing domination of Iraq in the face of America’s inaction.
For over six years King Abdullah II has been warning about Iran’s move to form a Shiite Crescent in the Fertile Crescent. America’s troop pullout of Iraq in 2010 provided the window of opportunity Tehran was looking for and counting upon.
Abdullah's conversation with Netanyahu was not the only Iraqi related event of concern on January 5th. Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr came out of self-imposed exile in Iran and reentered Iraq. Reportedly he plans on reuniting with, and greatly influencing, his clansmen to lock arms with Iran and Ahmadinejad’s expanded Shia plans for the Middle East.
Sadr is good friends with Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah, who recently caused the collapse of the Lebanese government by removing 11 of its 30 cabinet members. It is commonly understood that these two pro-Iranian anti-Israeli influential Muslim leaders have been in cahoots with each other over the past few years.
The January 5th story worsens for the Jordanian monarch as Iran's new acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, also visited Iraq on that same day. It was his first trip to an Arab state since taking the job last month. Iran hopes Salehi, who speaks fluent Arabic and was born in Iraq, will be a bridge to neighboring Arab states, with which Tehran has strained ties.
Additionally, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, who appears to already be in Iran’s back pocket, plans to work with Muqtada al-Sadr to form a pro-Iranian government in Iraq. With Saddam Hussein and the U.S. out of the way, Iran can now attempt to finish the job they were unable to do after eight years of fighting through 1980 – 1988.
Will 2011 be the year Hezbollah seizes total control of Lebanon and Iraq becomes an additional proxy state of Iran? Will this force Israel into another war to the north with Hezbollah? There is a reason the Saudis are obtaining two nuclear weapons from Pakistan and Israel two more dolphin class submarines from Germany. Keep your eye on the Middle East. The fact war was averted in 2010 makes it overdue in 2011.
For more information about Iran's push to form a Shia Crescent in the Middle East read "Iranistan"