U.S.-Arab Alliance Aims to Deter Terrorism, Iran

[Wall Street Journal] Jay Solomon - With Iraq's future an open question and Iran's regional clout likely to keep growing, the Bush administration is forging a long-term strategy to secure energy supplies that relies on drawing Arab governments into an alliance to coordinate defenses of oil-related infrastructure, combat terrorism, and thwart Tehran's nuclear and regional ambitions. The Pentagon hopes the tens of billions of dollars of new weaponry for Middle East allies announced last week will underpin various regional defense initiatives. Next month, the U.S. and the "GCC Plus Two," as the group is called, will hold their sixth meeting of the year. One U.S. official involved in the diplomacy said it seeks to build a consensus on Iraq and fighting al-Qaeda, as well as "deterring an increasingly hegemonic Iran." Many security strategists say Washington has misidentified the challenges. While the U.S. is backing large-scale armies, they say, Tehran has expanded its influence in places such as Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories through backing militias such as Hizbullah and Hamas. Iran has also improved its strategic position through the effective use of charities.

2007-08-09 01:00:00

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