From The Gulf Research Unit's Blog The fear of a Shia axis By: BjÃ¸rn Olav Utvik The final point is well made but this post underplays what is in affect a major change to the regional power balance. Since 06 the Arab street has become genuinely wary of Qom's rising influence. A recent Zogby poll had Iran outshining Israel as a threat to Egypt. This isn't just state drummed up paranoia, they are right to worry. Iraq for over a millennium a Sunni bastion, the shield of the Arabs, is now dominated by a Shia and Kurdish rulers. Both these groups have intimate ties to Qom. Despite a good deal of Iraqi nationalist hostility to "The Persians" demonstrated in the recent elections the final guarantors of this tectonic shift is an Iran determined to preserve the Great Satan's strategic gifting. DC's damaged regional prestige and waning regional primacy only make this a harsher reality in the Sunni Arab world. The Iraqi Shia and particularly the al-Sadr dynasty have an historic relationship with the increasingly dominant Shia of Lebanon. The web spreads out to the Shia of Bahrain and Yemen. Iran's backing of Hamas, a violent but dangerously democratic ideological off shout of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is a deeply discomfiting move. You can fully expect this sly bit of flanking to be repeated elsewhere. Qom's always been pragmatic in it's allegiances as Baathist Syria proves. They also increasingly intimate with Kabul formerly a Gulf Kingship/Pindi sponsored haven for righteous Deobandi Puritanism of the Taliban. Much of the Umma believes that Allah shapes world events in favor of the righteously faithful. Mighty Egypt and the wealthy Sunni Arab states impotent, pushed into a humiliating alliance with the bullying Crusader/Zionist nexus appear unloved by God. Iranian advances in the face of the once overwhelming might of DC are taken as evidence of divine grace rather than the opportunistic exploitation of more than one enemies strategic bungling. That's why they talk of a "Shia Crescent" more than the return of the Safavids by more stealthy means. If you think that's paranoid do remember these are peoples historical familiar with being incorporated into Empires from the hearty commercial embrace of Pax Americana, the swindling Brits and French, the Ottoman Caliphate before them all the way back to Alexander and Cyrus both known as Great.