Guest Post: The Enduring Middle East Strategic Framework Begins to Emerge as Iran Surges, and the US Resiles

Tyler Durden's picture

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The Enduring Middle East Strategic Framework Begins to Emerge as Iran Surges, and the US Resiles

The lingering impact of August 3, 2010, clash on the Israeli-Lebanese border lies in the greater context of, and wider strategic dynamics in, the Middle East. These aspects were highlighted by HizbAllah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in his speech later that day.

See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, August 4, 2010: Clash on Israel-Lebanon Border Holds Potential for Strategic Escalation.

Overall, the issue dominating the overall situation in the Middle East is the reaction by the local powers to the emerging new grand strategic reality: namely, the demise of the United States as the dominant regional power. This is a dramatic reversal of a concentrated US policy of more than half a century.

Back in the Autumn of 1956, the US intentionally undermined the strategic posture of two of its closest Cold War allies, Britain and France. In the late-1960s, the US capitalized on the British unilateral withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and the active Soviet interceding in the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to consolidate the US role as the dominant Western, and later global, power in the Middle East.

This posture endured even after the US betrayed its close ally — the Shah of Iran — and permitted the rise of the Islamic Republic in the late 1970s. Consequently, however, the US has had to intensify its direct involvement in regional crises, culminating in the US active war-fighting in and against Iraq. Come August 31, 2010, the US will be abandoning it all with the disengagement from Iraqi security affairs and the beginning of a year-long withdrawal.

Led by an assertive and determined Iran, the aspirant powers of the region cannot wait to fill the void that is already emerging as the US is disengaging from military operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. This strategic posture is aptly demonstrated by the US Barack Obama Administration’s explicit abandonment of the twin-pillars of the US regional posture — Israel and Saudi Arabia — leaving them to cope on their own with a nuclear Iran.

Moreover, the US is exerting immense pressure on Israel not to strike Iran for fear of derailing the rapprochement with Iran which the Obama White House is seeking, and the possibility of Iranian retaliation against the remaining US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Persian Gulf energy infrastructure.

Tehran is cognizant of the significance of these developments. Iran had already started its drive to exploit and fill in vacuums created by the US in the early 1990s. At the time, Iran exploited the widespread trauma as a result of the US undermining and shaming of both (Iraq’s) nationalist Sunni Islam and (Saudi Arabia’s) traditional-conservative Sunni Islam in the 1990-1 Gulf War in order to push its own Shi’ite-based doctrine of revolutionary-militant Islam. By 1992, Sudan’s Hassan al-Turabi adapted the Iranian jihadist tenets and adopted them into the Sunni neo-salafite doctrine, thus setting the grounds for the ascent of the jihadist trend now popularly associated with Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their supporters.

Presently, Tehran is ready to surge and exploit the far more significant vacuum which will be created by the US de facto withdrawal from Iraq and Persian Gulf. The continued global preoccupation with Iran’s nuclear program serves Tehran’s interests for it constantly reminds friends and foes alike about Iran’s claim to regional and global preeminence. Tehran uses the nuclear crisis to project self-confidence and threaten its neighbors against counting on the US to protect them.

The Obama Administration is playing into Iran’s hands. For example, on August 1, 2010, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, publicly acknowledged that the US had contingency plans for “the military options [which] have been on the table and remain on the table”, but quickly qualified that any military action against Iran could have “unintended consequences that are difficult to predict in what is an incredibly unstable part of the world”.

This caveat did not prevent Tehran from issuing counter-threats on August 3, 2010. “If any threat strikes against Iran, the Islamic Republic armed forces are fully prepared to counter them on the ground, sea and air,” IRGC Brig.-Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan stated. “Military threats of US officials against the Islamic Republic are nothing new, we’re certain that the US military forces are in an appalling condition. The increasing number of deaths and suicide among American forces attest to the failure of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Just to be sure that Tehran’s message was not lost on the West Iran orchestrated on July 28, 2010, a non-lethal attack on the Japanese-owned supertanker M. Star while it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz. Apparently, the IRGC fired a few rockets/missiles with inert warheads at the supertanker, thus reminding everybody of Iran’s ability to do greater damage should Tehran choose to.

No less important was the US Fifth Fleet’s inability to prevent the attack, or identify and strike at the perpetrators. The recent claim by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades that the attack was carried out by a martyr-bomber named Ayyub Al Tayshan cannot be taken seriously because the dent in the tankers outer wall and damage to the crew’s cabin are the result of an external explosion and/or the impact of a projectile fired from sea-level; that is, a boat or a shore battery.

Concurrently, Tehran demonstrated its dominance over the key political developments in the Arab world using Damascus as the implementing proxy.

First came the Iran-sponsored mediation between various Shi’ite factions in Iraq. In late-July 2010, Tehran oversaw a series of meetings in Damascus between Iyad Allawi, Moqtada Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki in which the outline of a Shi’ite-wide coalition dominated by Tehran was formulated and agreed upon. It was in Damascus that all leading Shi’ite politicians agreed to Sadr’s demand that the US-backed Maliki would not be elected to a second term specifically because of the US endorsement.
Former transitional Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who had been unseated under US pressure for his pro-Iran policies and replaced by Maliki, has emerged as the compromise candidate. Tehran’s overt dominance over the Iraqi Shi’ite political maneuvers — albeit in Damascus rather than Tehran — are a slap in the US face.

In early August 2010, Saudi Arabia’s King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz al Sa’ud traveled to Damascus in order to confer with Pres. Bashar al-Assad. King ‘Abdallah’s primary objective was to explore ways to prevent the eruption of violence in and from Lebanon. Riyadh is most worried about Tehran using the HizbAllah in order to provoke a regional war with Israel, a war which Iran would then be able to exploit in order to further its regional aspirations to the detriment of Riyadh’s vital interests.

Given Tehran’s penchant for exploiting US election seasons for strategic gambits, and given Washington’s indecisiveness and weakness, the King had just experienced first-hand in his visit with Obama, King ‘Abdallah’s apprehension is warranted. Bashar al-Assad made it clear he would not break his close ties with Iran which he considers to be the guarantor of his survival.

However, Bashar agreed with King ‘Abdallah that the eruption of violence in Lebanon would be counterproductive. Essentially, King ‘Abdallah and Bashar have a common short-term objective but conflicting and contradictory long-term goals. Both want to prevent in the near-term a major war which would involve Israel and Iran. In the near-term, King ‘Abdallah fears the ensuing ascent of Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia, while Bashar fears the destruction of Syria by a vengeful Israel which might lead to his toppling by the Sunni majority.

In the long-term, however, King ‘Abdallah dreads the ascent of Shi’ite Iran while Bashar considers Shi’ite Iran and the HizbAllah as the saviors of the Allawites’ hold onto power against Syria’s Sunni majority.

Hence, King ‘Abdallah and Assad traveled together to Beirut in order to convince Prime Minister Saad Hariri not to challenge Nasrallah’s ascent, fearing that Nasrallah would react with fury to any limit on his power and thus instigate a crisis that would escalate out of control. Just to make sure there was no “misunderstanding” by Hariri, Bashar or King ‘Abdallah, on August 3, 2010, Nasrallah instigated the clash on the border with Israel in order to demonstrate that he could both provoke and flare-up a war (as he did in the Summer of 2006), and that the HizbAllah was in control of the Lebanese Armed Forces or at the least their Shi’ite units.

That evening Nasrallah delivered a major speech in which he stressed the strategy and objectives of Iran and HizbAllah.

“Today we are marking four years since the Lebanon’s victory over the strongest and most terrorist military in the region,” Nasrallah declared. He quickly tied this anniversary with the clashes on the Israeli-Lebanese border earlier that day. “I wanted to start on this topic, but what happened today on the border between Lebanon and Palestine, in which officers and soldiers from our national military fought a battle of heroism, necessitates mention of their strong stance and their sacrifice.” Nasrallah stressed that the latest clashes were an integral part of a continued Israeli aggression against Lebanon.

“Israel’s aggression against Lebanon, its land, and its sovereignty never ceased, but continues in various ways. It has manifested itself in no less than 7,000 Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty since August 14, 2006, over which the world prefers not to open its mouth. These violations occur in the air, land, and sea, and what we saw today was just another expression of this.” HizbAllah, Nasrallah stressed, had been the primary guarantor of Lebanon and its interests throughout this period.

Nasrallah then stressed that HizbAllah intentionally stayed out of the latest clash out of respect for the wishes of the Lebanese Armed Forces. HizbAllah notified the Lebanese Army during the first moments of the clash of its willingness to help. “From the first moment, the opposition went on high alert in the region, followed all the events, and was in contact with the command headquarters. We notified the Lebanese military: We are prepared, we are with you, and we will help you with everything, if needed. Our people and our equipment stand at your disposal,” Nasrallah said. The decision on the extent of HizbAllah’s involvement was reached in direct consultations between HizbAllah and the highest ranking officials in Beirut.

“We also contacted the president, the parliament chairman, and the prime minister and updated them on this. We told them that we will not initiate any move, despite the painful images we saw. They asked for a quiet and responsible opposition. The message was clear to the Israeli enemy: Lebanon, all of Lebanon, will not leave any aggression on its occupied land unanswered and will stand by this courageously,” Nasrallah explained.

Nasrallah then addressed Israel and warned of the dire consequences of any Israeli aggression against Lebanon. “You are the ones threatening war, but Lebanon is not afraid of confronting you. All of the military alignments you dealt with are above the surface, but they are within fortified embankments. Even though we don’t have equipment on the same level, our fighters fight with courage and shocked them.” Nasrallah threatened that HizbAllah “is on alert and is ready to help the military in all the villages on the front. We are not concerned and are not hysterical like their coward settlers. The nation, the opposition, and the military have paid in blood for this act of heroism, but they did not bear fruit. Officers and soldiers in the Lebanese military are our brothers and loved ones. How could it be that the opposition will sit with its armed crossed from now on as the military is bombed? I will saw honestly: We will not sit with arms crossed, and the Israeli hand outstretched to strike the Lebanese military will be cut off by the opposition.”

Nasrallah then shifted to the original theme of his speech: the possibility that HizbAllah officials would be indicted by the International Special Tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005. Originally, the Tribunal identified and was ready to indict senior Syrian intelligence officials and their accomplices in Lebanese intelligence. However, this option was put aside for political reasons and alternate low-risk approaches — such as blaming HizbAllah — were explored.

Nasrallah, however, is adamant on avoiding any accusation of the HizbAllah. After all, Syrian intelligence killed Hariri while the HizbAllah’s security command only provided look-outs and perimeter security. Therefore, Nasrallah made Bashar a veiled offer which he knew Bashar could not refuse. HizbAllah would launch a propaganda campaign shifting the blame onto Israel. Any attempt by Damascus to interfere with this campaign would result in the exposure of the Syrian role.  

Nasrallah blamed Israel for exploiting the tragic demise of Hariri for its own nefarious objectives. “They [Israel] speak of a big explosion, a civil war, crisis, and more. We want to expose the truth surrounding the circumstances of al-Hariri’s death, something that from our perspective is the right of every Lebanese. We want to protect the unity of Lebanon and the well-being of its citizens.”

Nasrallah then promised to reveal in a week time the whole truth about Hariri’s assassination and the responsibility of Israel. “This coming Monday [August 9, 2010], I will hold a press conference during which I will present evidence of Israel’s involvement in the al-Hariri assassination and the goings-on in the international tribunal in The Hague. We will present significant proof that Israel, via its agents, tried to convince al-Hariri already in 1993 that HizbAllah wants to assassinate him. We blame the Israeli enemy for the assassination, and the figures I will reveal will open new horizons in the investigation that will lead to the identity of the true murderer.”

And with that promise, Tehran and HizbAllah have wrested control over the political dynamic in Beirut, Damascus, and in effect the entire Arab world. And the threat of a regional explosion keeps rising.


Analysis by Yossef Bodansky for who offer detailed analysis on Oil, alternative Energy, Commodities, Finance and Geopolitics. They also provide free Geopolitical intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit:

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Hedge Jobs's picture

Nasrallah is a true modern day hero standing up to the terrorist zionist regime. A real freedom fighter of the resistance movement.

If only some leader, any leader in the US had the balls to stand up to the zionist criminals like he does instead of supporting their war, banking and economic crimes.



MarketTruth's picture


(And take that you self-hating anti-semite AIPAC members)

Shylockracy's picture


Someone who hates 95% of all semites (that is, the Arabs) justly deserves being named and shamed as an anti-semite.

So you are strictly correct in designating AIPAC agents as anti-semites.

Shylockracy's picture

When Zionists -blinded by their filthy lucre and with innocent blood dripping from their fangs- start hysterically junking you, you know you must be doing something right.

So come and junk me, Zio-Junkers! I'm in the mood to play the freak-magnet tonight!'s picture

Why not take some of that energy and head over to and make a donation for the next flotilla. That would be just about the most productive thing you could do for the our Pals in the Middle East while sitting at your keyboard. I did!

Yardfarmer's picture

HOLY SHIT!! armageddon has already broken out on ZH!! always the bellwether. I am junked therefore I AM. there will be blood!'s picture

Hey Yardfarmer -- think the rain'll hurt the rhubarb?

Yardfarmer's picture

without a concerted effort, it's nearly impossible to kill rhubarb

Sean7k's picture

+1 Rhubarb is hard to for this call for military escalation crap, please save it for the MSM. Iran is all bluster. The Persians have a history of megalomania and on only rare occasions has it been justified.

The world doesn't need more US police work. The problem with taking on more power and influence is the expense in manpower and resources. These resources are what Iran is short on. 

Our money would be better spent on becoming less dependent on the straits of hormuz and its' products. 

There will always be countries clamoring to be the next big dog. Nothing will dethrone you quicker than the expense to your economy. The bankers love to whip up the froth to insure more debt spending and interest payments for what is futile spending.

Wake up America. If we are to go to war, it needs to be with the FED and bankers who would starve our children, kill our sons and daughters and waste our wealth for the transfer of wealth through interest payments on a debt we cannot afford.

jeff montanye's picture

cogent analysis.  the foreign policy of the u.s. needs to be aid (non-military) and trade.  even handed (or maybe a little muslim favoritism to make up for decades of abuse) re: kashmir and palestine.  the u.s. msm is at its most destructive on this issue; may have something to do with the owners/managers personal ideology.  thank goodness for the "self-hating, anti-semitic jews" on the internet (greenwald, et. al.)

Turd Ferguson's picture

"Iran is all bluster". Not.

Hmmm. The Turd's Middle East sources tell him that the Japanese supertanker that was hit by a rogue wave/earthquake was actually hit by an unarmed version of what's mentioned below. To send a message.

dkny's picture

A little Caveat emptor here:

I think it should become apparent the necessary preconditions for all that aid money: people living in refugee camps. Once you start pondering how it could be that people have been labeled refugees for the last several decades -- especially considering all the billions thrown at the palestinans while the peace process was somewhat still alive -- then you'll understand why progress has been so difficult, or rather unlucrative.

So, careful with your donations, as you never know what portion will end up in a Swiss bank account.'s picture

So, careful with your donations, as you never know what portion will end up in a Swiss bank account.

I've donated $100 to each of the eight Free Gaza voyages and when the IDF started murdering folks on Memorial Day this year I didn't hesitate to send in another $500.

I have also donated to the ISM and sponsored a Palestinian boy for five years.

Feels good to fight against tyranny. Cheap at twice the price. And I have always felt comfortable with the fine folks out there doing the hard work.


Donate at

RichardP's picture

I think the question was - how can you be certain your money did not end up in a Swiss bank account?  Can you be certain??

That is the value of good works by proxy, I suppose.  One can feel good about doing good without having to look too closely to see if any good was done at all.'s picture

I think the question was - how can you be certain your money did not end up in a Swiss bank account?  Can you be certain??


I think the question is can you be certain that the mailman isn't sleeping with your wife?

jeff montanye's picture

and it was his idea: "you said 'fuck him, give him a buck'; the light lunch was my idea".  too bad, but we can't all be rachel corrie (may her name never die).

TBT or not TBT's picture

Saint Pancake's name will live on.

dkny's picture

Feels good to fight against tyranny.

Yep, always have to frame it as a grand battle between good and evil.

Reminds me of Arafat's calls for sacrifices and "resistance" from all those poor people, while he was pocketing all those billions. He really milked that refugee cow dry.'s picture

And how much of my tax money has been sucked up by Israel.

That's my money, taken without my consent and used for purposes I find objectionable (to put it mildly). When I donate to my Palestinian friends I like to multiply the amount of that extorted blood money many fold.

The ships are going to keep coming and coming and coming.

dkny's picture

Been a while since I saw numbers, but I believe the bulk of it is recycled directly to the american military industry.

I know it is your intention to frame the discussion in such a way that fits your world view, but others undoubtedly appreciate the complexities of such matters, as well as the existence of other interested parties which may have to lose if the aid is cut.'s picture

I believe the bulk of it is recycled directly to the american military industry.

...which buys high-tech American weaponry, much of which Israel resells to our enemies, just like they sold the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard's information to the Soviets. It's as if the stereotype is all to true in some cases.

I know it is your intention to frame the discussion in such a way...

There is no need to frame you when all the readily apparent facts point to your guilt.

dkny's picture

Yep, those F-15s are poping on the black market like fake LV bags.
Care to back that up that assertion? Or is that a strawman to avoid the inconvenient truth that companies like Boeing might want the arrangement to go on?

...point to your guilt.

HAHAHAH! Pathetic....

ISEEIT's picture

I submit that you are wrong in positioning these sales as 'secret'. The arms are sold by Israel being our proxy. The MIC desires the tension. It is considered desirable to have viable threats so as to justify the care and feeding of our military. All part of the Farcist/Corporatist doctrine of control.

jeff montanye's picture

there is some truth in what you say but it falls far short of a full explanation.  any objective study of the genesis of the war in iraq will show that the impetus came from extreme zionist israel firsters in the sharon and bush administrations.  to put much of the wild errors of u.s. middle east policy since ike on the mic is only less misleading than to put it on the oil industry.

Cathartes Aura's picture

Rocking This Thread Crockett!

some of us are not so silently cheering you on, just letting you know. . .

peace. intentional.

dkny's picture

Interesting stuff, yet hardly proves the point you're trying to make that Israel is some sort of middleman, reselling whatever it gets and pocketing the money.

Simplification of the issue is your goal, while many companies are involved in development of weapons/technologies, and needless to say some will "bleed" between projects, and might end up where the USA doesn't want.

That's why, as one of your links pointed out, Israel cancelled a sell to China.

Still, as I've already said, go ahead and cacnel all this military aid/financing to Israel -- and Egypt while at it -- and then check to see who gets riled up the most stateside. There are more players in this game than you wish to admit, since that would invariably detract from your conspiracy agenda.'s picture

Conspiracies by definition involve more than one party. By suggesting that "(t)here are more players in this game than you wish to admit" makes YOU the conspiracy theorist.

But no on seems to be buying your worldwide gentile conspiracy theory. Is it due to bad marketing or is it just a bad product? Probably both.

Bringin It's picture

You keep making these foolish accusations against Arafat.  About him stealing money.  Yeah, it's clear he skimmed it all off and was living like a king while you kept him trapped and harassed in a  small office building, occasionally blowing holes in the building and poisoning his food.  Yes, obviously, the man was living large at the expense of others - Not.

If you are looking for stealing of the peoples money, you need to look no further than your friends on Wall Street, the recognized world thieving champs.  Are you trying to divert attention from what your friends are up to or are you just a dense ideologue?

dkny's picture

I was wondering when the alter-ego will tag team.

Welcome to the party, but unfortunately reading skills are required, unless you call B.S. on the CBS link I gave, and plenty other info on the net.

I'll give you a smiley face for that attempt to associate me with Wall Street crooks.'s picture

I was wondering when the alter-ego will tag team.

If all the so-called anti-semites in the world are really just one stupid but prolific person then why do you need Megaphone?

dkny's picture

I love it how you guys are trying so hard to defend a guy that stole billions from a group of very impoverished people, while prodding them to commit self-sacrifice ... literally. All this while lamenting over their impoverished state.

Some cognitive dissonance that must be.'s picture

Some cognitive dissonance that must be.

"One Cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Poland"

....Izaak Greenbaum

Bringin It's picture

Go away you lunatic troll with nothing to offer.'s picture

Sure, Gaza is a paradise. However, there's a wall around it and no one is allowed to get in or out, so we'll just have to take the IDF's word for it.

That sounds reasonable.

Max Hunter's picture

Look.. These Zionist shills need to relinquish themselves from any guilt over suffering of Palestinians for the misery Israel has caused in the region.

They will not look at the pictures of people DYING and SUFFERING, but they want to point to an occasional store that opens up the get everyone to take their eye off the ball.

I guess i'm suppose to not believe the pictures and videos of children dying in their mother's and father's arms because there was a mall that opened in a section of town that probably paid Israel (in one way or another) handsomely to not bomb.

Like the guy above me stated.. you offer nothing but lies and deception, just like your jewish masters.

Free Palestine !

(comment not a reply but an addition to Crock)

dkny's picture

(comment not a reply but an addition to Crock)

And what a crock it is....

The only one with agenda, or intentionally blindfolded, is you buddy.

Ignoring all the actions undertaken by the Arab League since 1947 is nothing short of criminal neglect of historical facts. Oh, how quick you are of absolving them from any responsibility....

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Tyler, cleanup on aisle five. Seriously, this isn't project mayhem-worthy.'s picture

cleanup on aisle five.


I'm pleased to see that you have followed the good advice that one should write about what one knows.

Yardfarmer's picture

ITG, bwahahahahahahahahaha! priceless!

RichardP's picture

But it is educational, on several different levels.

MarketTruth's picture

Agreed, it is educational and yes it is part of Project Mayhem. The political and banking/central bank scene is such that the truth about AIPAC and the assassins Mossad and controlling Zionists are coming to light. As such, Project Mayhem may need to go to action accordingly.

Remember: Within the United States current sitting Vice Preseident Biden said he is a proud Zionist. Ask yourself, is this guy working for the USA's We The People or for the Zionists and their agenda?


desgust's picture

* 1 !!!!

you are so right! It took us/me also so long to get to some truth! The whole western world kept lying us for decades!'s picture

Nasrallah is a true modern day hero standing up to the terrorist zionist regime.

As bad as the Israeli government can be there's no need to go over the top. Nasrallah is just another politician who exploits war anxiety and economic hardship amongst the his own people. If there's a war I'll root for the Lebanese but first I'll root for no war at all.

Best not to get caught up in the hysteria which articles such as this seek to stir up.



Clayton Bigsby's picture

what do you base this assertion upon?