What Will Iran Do If Assad Falls?

(Israel Hayom) Dore Gold - If the Iranians lose their Syrian bridgehead to the Arab world, do they have an alternative? There is a view that the Iranians are considering to make Jordan a new center of influence in the Arab world. The demography of Jordan has begun to change as a result of the 2003 Iraq War. Nearly a million Iraqi refugees have entered Jordan in the last eight years including several hundred thousand Iraqi Shiites. Most Iraqi Shiites are loyal to their own religious leaders, like Ayatollah Sistani, and not to those of Iran. But Tehran can be expected to seek to exploit this population and make it a target for its propaganda and influence. The Iranians often invest in Shiite shrines as a means of building positions of influence, especially those connected to the family of Ali, who was Muhammad's son-in law, and is regarded by Shiites as his rightful successor and as the first imam. In Damascus they built up the shrine of Ali's daughter, Zaynab, as a center for Shiite pilgrimage. These shrines are not only religious centers. According to U.S. court documents it was at the shrine of Zaynab where the head of Saudi Hizbullah, who came from the Saudi Shiite town of Qatif, recruited operatives for the Khobar Towers attack in 1996 that killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and wounded 372 other Americans. In Jordan, there is an Iranian-funded shrine for Ali's brother, Jafar, near Karak, about 150 km. south of Amman. Thousands of Iraqis and Iranians visit Shiite shrines that are in Jordan. They also revere and visit the tombs of the companions of Muhammad, who led Islam's earliest battles against the Byzantines. There have been reports that Iraqi Shiites have been purchasing properties near some of these shrines. In 2006, the radical Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr came to visit the Shiite shrines of Jordan.

2011-10-14 00:00:00

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