Many Gulf Arabs Uneasy about Iran

(AP/Los Angeles Times) Jim Krane - It's not often the U.S., Israel, and the Gulf Arab states worry about the same thing. But right now, they are all focused on Iran. The country's spiraling militarism - trumpeted this week in missile tests and military maneuvers - plus its influence in Iraq and its controversial president, appear to be making some Arab states more nervous that there could be future menace in Tehran's ways. Many Arab countries backed Saddam Hussein in Iraq's 1980s war against Iran. They also have worried for decades that Iran's Shiite-majority Islamic theocracy could spill over onto into their largely Sunni countries, all of which have Shiite minorities. Arab Gulf countries have offered quiet support for moves against Iran's nuclear program, which many fear is aimed at creating weapons, said Dubai-based political analyst Abdul Khaleq Abdulla. In addition, top intelligence officers from several Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have been meeting in hopes of forging a coordinated effort to block Iran's interference in Iraq, several Arab diplomats said this week. The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassah said Wednesday that Iran's military swagger resembled that of Gamal Abdul Nasser's Egypt and Saddam's Iraq just before they provoked punishing attacks by the West. "A future war will destroy everything Iran has achieved in a matter of days, if not hours, as happened in the case of Saddam," wrote Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, director of Al-Arabiya TV, in Monday's Asharq al-Awsat.

2006-04-07 00:00:00

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