Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As If Things in the Middle East Weren't Crazy Enough...

A bomb went off by the Iranian consulate in Beirut:

Two explosions, at least one caused by a suicide bomber, rocked Iran's embassy in Lebanon on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people, including an Iranian cultural attaché, and hurling bodies, cars and debris across the street.

A Lebanese-based al Qaeda-linked group known as the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for what it described as a double suicide attack on the Iranian mission in southern Beirut.

Lebanon has suffered a series of bomb attacks and clashes linked to the 2-1/2-year-old conflict in neighboring Syria.

Security camera footage showed a man in an explosives belt rushing towards the outer wall of the embassy before blowing himself up, Lebanese officials said. They said the second explosion was caused by a car bomb parked two buildings away from the compound.

Now, here’s the thing: The two bombers were Sunni members of al Qaeda. Lebanon is in a struggle for freedom against Syria and Bashar al-Assad – a Shi’ite – who is backed by Iran, a Shi’ite nation.

We’re going to need a scorecard soon.

This might tend to complicate matters for our talks with Iran, to be certain, particularly if al Qaeda and her affiliates perceive Iran as capitulating to the secular West. There may be more flies in the ointment before this all smoothes over. Remember that al Qaeda has in the past gotten (and likely continues to get) strong financial and logistical support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Again, nations closely aligned with western interests. This is not just about Sunni/Shi’a. This becomes more of a focus on the future of Islam in totality, and which sect gains the upper hand and by extension, gets the candy of dealing with the rest of the world.

And there’s a wild card and likely the only reason Iran is even bothering to discuss its nuclear program: China, which has grown over the past decade to become Iran’s closest strategic partner, giving Iran cover to develop ties in Asia. China’s permanent position on the UN Security Council gives it a fairly dominating position in influencing how the world treats Iran. It’s no coincidence that the moment China expressed even tepid support for sanctions (2010) against Iran that the ayatollahs moderated their language and allowed a moderate presence in the secular government and open demonstrations by liberal Iranian factions.