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Editorial: Time to speak softly

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-16-07 05:42 AM
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Editorial: Time to speak softly
Editorial: Time to speak softly

After years of rhetoric from Washington that military action against Iran is imminent, Arabian Gulf nations are bracing for an American attack on the Islamic republic.

At a recent meeting, Gulf Cooperation Council nations discussed how to react if Iran, as promised, responds to a U.S. attack by showering missiles on Americas regional allies. They concluded that they would have to join the U.S. campaign. In an interview, the Saudi armed forces chief underscored the need for unified action.

U.S. saber-rattling aside, GCC states fear the rise of a hegemonic Iran equipped with nuclear weapons. But there is also an explosive religious subtext. Iran is a Shiite Islamic republic with a democratic streak in a world of Sunni monarchies. The two sects are already at each others throats in Iraq, where Iran is allied with the Shiite majority and Saudi Arabia and others support the Sunni minority. America has backed the Shiite government while seeking help from Sunnis.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made it clear he wants Iran, in a region of Sunni monarchies that are generally friendly to the U.S., to be the areas true superpower. His destructive influence already extends across the Middle East through proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and others. Thats a scenario that his neighbors refuse to accept.

All of which sets the stage for a nightmare. The price of a barrel of oil, already nearing $100, would skyrocket if war devastates the facilities that supply a hefty chunk of the worlds petroleum.

That doesnt address the human toll. A majority of the citizens of the nations that would be targeted Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates live in a few major cities that are easy targets for missile attack.

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