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Rochester Today – Middle East Mashup

Tom OstromU.S. policy in the Middle East has long favored Israel and was aimed at promoting stability in the region, but based on current events, it appears that policy has been inverted.Tom Ostrom and Andy Brownell used a portion of Friday’s Rochester Today show on KROC-AM to talk about the deteriorating situation in the always volatile Middle East.

While President Obama’s assertion that President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein caused instability in the region may be correct, his own policies seem to have amplified the instability. The underlying Sunni-Shia conflict that defines the political and economic divisions in the region has gone from “simmering” to “boiling over” with the collapse of the U.S. backed Sunni led government in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has intervened with its military and is urging other Arab (read Sunni) nations to do the same in what could mark another step toward a region-wide sectarian conflict.

The White House and others downplay the potential for that kind of outcome, but Iran’s growing involvement in Iraq’s Shiite-led government’s fight against the Islamic State group, and the ongoing battles taking place in Syria and Libya point to growing instability with the sectarian split and the related power struggle between the Saudis and Iranians the main cause. The convoluted mess finds the U.S. indirectly working with the Iranians in Iraq, and against the Iranians in Yemen, while some sort of alliance involving Israel and Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

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