Iranians take part during a state-organized rally against anti-government protests Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran, the Hollow Hegemon

Iran can be a spoiler in the Middle East, but not a hegemon. To argue otherwise, as Israeli and Arab leaders are wont to do, merely makes more likely a conflict that all parties have a fundamental interest in avoiding.

TEL AVIV – Israeli and Arab leaders have spent years warning of the rise of an Iranian-led Shia empire covering much of the Middle East. With Iran now linked to the Mediterranean through a land corridor that extends through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, many are claiming vindication. But fear of Iran as a regional hegemon is vastly overblown.