El ascenso turbulento de Irán

La decisión de Estados Unidos de apuntar a los agentes iraníes en Irak que puedan estar respaldando a las milicias violentas no es sino otra señal de la masiva influencia que Irán está ejerciendo en ese país turbulento. Pero Estados Unidos, en realidad, favoreció la creciente influencia de Irán al derrocar al régimen de Saddam Hussein y al de los talibanes en Afganistán, eliminando así dos factores que habían mantenido cercado al régimen iraní durante las últimas dos décadas. Es más, los elevados precios del petróleo llenaron las arcas nacionales e Irán, a la vez, está aprovechando la oportunidad creada por el empantanamiento de Estados Unidos en Irak y el creciente peso internacional de Rusia y China.

Irán también está recogiendo los frutos de las inversiones a largo plazo. Respaldó a los grupos chiítas iraquíes desde principios de los años 80 y tiene una alianza igualmente duradera con Siria. En el Líbano, Irán ayudó a crear a Hezbollah, que recientemente sobrevivió a una guerra frontal con Israel y es el principal opositor del gobierno anti-sirio respaldado por Occidente. La inversión de Irán en Palestina es más reciente, pero su apoyo al gobierno liderado por Hamas, que ha sido frustrado en otras partes, no es menos significativo. Irán, un país de 70 millones de habitantes, tiene una influencia potencial en las comunidades chiítas de Kuwait, Arabia Saudita, Bahrein y los Emiratos Arabes Unidos.

El ascenso de Irán está causando alarma en el Oriente Medio árabe, particularmente en Arabia Saudita y Jordania, pero también en Egipto. Si bien es un país chiíta en una región abrumadoramente sunita, el islamismo radical de Irán se identifica con el islamismo politizado que está energizando a la mayoría de los movimientos opositores árabes, y su oposición militante a Estados Unidos y el apoyo a grupos que comprometen a Israel en un conflicto es muy popular en las calles y los medios árabes. En otro nivel, el ascenso de Irán, reforzado por su sospechada apuesta por las armas nucleares, amenaza con despertar hostilidades históricas, entre sunitas y chiítas y entre persas y árabes.

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