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Shia-dominansen i det nye Irak er første gang et arabisk land blir styrt av et shia-flertall. Det er i Irak de største shia-helligdommene ligger, slik at Irak gir shiaene en ny tyngde innen islam. Sunni-islam er urolig.

De føler at shia-ånden er ute av flasken.

USA demokrati-prosjekt for Midtøsten blir av mange ansett som feilslått. Bush ønsket å snu opp ned på stagnasjon og undertrykkelse. Mange ser skadefro på at USA sliter.

Men shia-revolusjonen i Irak har satt igang en prosess som vil rulle gjennom Midtøsten. Ikke minst fordi Iran under president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tar mål av seg til å lede an i konfrontasjonen med Vesten.

Det er på den bakgrunn en må se president Hosni Mubaraks uttalelse om at shiaene i araberlandene er lojale mot Iran, og ikke sine nasjonale regjeringer. Uttalelsen provoserte shiaer noe voldsomt, og Mubarak måtte prøve å forklare at han mente åndelig, ikke politisk, men skaden var skjedd.

Arab rulers are increasingly frustrated by a changing political order in the Middle East, where the Shia are for the first time in power in Iraq and Shia militias are now engaged in the sectarian conflict with the Sunni minority.

But their fears have been compounded by the muscle-flexing of Shia Iran, a traditional rival now determined to pursue a nuclear programme and consolidate its alliance with Syria, the Shia in Lebanon and some radical Palestinian factions, forming a radical anti-western axis in the face of the more moderate pro-western and Sunni-dominated Arab states.

«Some Arab factions connect the Shia to Iran and are afraid of the Shia as a threat that could pave the way for Iranian control of the Arab world,» says Lebanon’s Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, a leading Shia religious authority with followers across the region. «There is a Sunni world in the Arab world, and there is a history, bloody and complicated towards the Shia.»

Den økte volden mellom shiaer og sunnier i Irak bidrar også til å øke kløften mellom de to retningene utenfor Irak. En borgerkrig i Irak kan dra inn nabolandene.

Moreover, Shia Islamist parties that form the largest bloc in parliament owe their political fortunes to the US, but are also close allies of Tehran. The Iranian influence has led to warnings that the Iraq war could widen into a broader Sunni-Shia conflagration. «There are signs of civil war in Iraq and we need to contain them and speak of what brings Sunnis and Shia together, because it starts in Iraq and it won’t be limited to Iraq,» says a senior Arab official.

Iraq may have been a more manageable conflict had Iran enjoyed better relations with its Arab neighbours. But as the Iraq crisis escalated, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, a radical president, took power in Iran, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader and ultimate decision-maker, opted for a more confrontational approach with the west over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran has cemented its alliance with Syria, where the minority Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam, rule over a Sunni majority.

Tehran has also taken a more active role in Lebanon, where it backs Hizbollah, the Shia militant group, both financially and militarily. Among Palestinians, it has stepped up its support for Hamas, a Sunni Islamist group, since the radical Islamist group’s victory in the January elections, and continues to back, even more forcefully, the smaller Islamic Jihad.

Da Iraks president Jalal Talbani hadde samtaler med irakiske opprørere fra sunni-triangelet, kunne de fortelle at det ikke er amerikanerne de frykter, men Irans innflytelse!

The insurgents «do not think that the Americans are the main enemy,» President Jalal Talabani said in an interview on al-Hurra television Tuesday night. «They feel threatened by what they call the ‘Iranian threat.’ »
He referred to the insurgents’ fear of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, which many Sunnis believe is dominated by the neighboring Shiite theocracy in Iran. Despite their worries about Iran, Talabani said, he found them «reasonable and ready for the peaceful political process,» and he appealed to Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to participate together in a government.

En vinkel som er underrapportert i vestlige medier er uroen og frykten som det iranske atomprogrammet skaper i Midtøsten. En iransk bombe kan utløse et våpenkappløp der Saudi-Arabia føler at det må følge etter.

Iraqi President Says Sunni Insurgents See Iran as Threat‘Great Change’ in War Aims Is Cited

Resurgence of Shia arouses ancient fears among SunniBy Roula Khalaf