Syria's Ripple Effect

(Washington Post) Anthony H. Cordesman - What started as a civil conflict in Syria more than two years ago now threatens to fuel a major conflict between Sunnis and Shiites throughout the Muslim world. The conflict is dividing Lebanon and giving Hizbullah and other extremists a larger foothold there. It is also creating problems in Jordan and Turkey, pushing Iraq toward civil war and making Iraq's Shiite leadership more dependent on Iran. If Assad succeeds in crushing the opposition or otherwise maintains control over most of Syria, Iran will have a massive new degree of influence over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Minorities will be steadily driven into exile. This would present serious risks for Israel, weaken Jordan and Turkey and, most important, give Iran far more influence in the Persian Gulf, an area home to 48% of the world's proven oil reserves. The writer holds the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

2013-07-24 00:00:00

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