At its greatest extent, the Persian Empire included the modern territories of Iran, Turkey, parts of Central Asia, Pakistan, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Afghanistan, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.
Persia, modern Iran, was undone by its decentralized form of government. Modern Iran suffers no such illusions. The reign of the ayatollahs being set into motion by a revolution against the US backed Shah.
While the US and the rest of the Western World worried about terrorists, Iran pursued a two-pronged course of becoming a major power. First is the much hyped Iranian nuclear weapons program. Ahmadinejad has pursued a nuclear weapons program as a way of Iranian self-realization (hence my references to the Persian Empire).
The second and more subtle approach has been becoming the chair of OPEC. Iran now sits at the head of one of the most i
influential organizations when it comes to national security and the economy.
Secretary Clinton has been an outspoken critic of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and has, thus far, been unsuccessful in changing Ahmadinejad's mind. I suspected the announced US Navy drills in the region are another attempt to convince Iran that the US means business. However, Iran seems equally determined to tell the US to "piss off" and has allegedly found the US carrier battle group. To be sure, this is not that difficult. Moving that much metal around in the ocean creates all types of signatures.
Iran has not been just sitting around waiting for the Sec Def to send in the troops. First was the rumored recruitment of a Mexican drug cartel to help assassinate a Saudi Arabian diplomat in the US. Now comes a story about the US selling 84 X F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. While the $20 billion price tag was enticing to the US, the need for the Saudi family to have better fighter aircraft was paramount. After all, the Arabian and Persian empires were not exactly friends.
As though this weren't enough for the Obama Administration, now comes news of Patriot missiles that were on the way to China. The Patriot missiles were the darlings of the first Persian Gulf War. Patriots missiles protected coalition forces from the very real danger of chemically armed SCUD missiles. China possessing such technology, in light of the passing of North Korea's long-time leader, is not good news. Had the Finland doc workers been less vigilant, the US would be at a terrific disadvantage on the Korean peninsula.
I don't know what will happen in 2012, the Mayan calendar not withstanding. We have a presidential election, a troop downsizing, budget cuts, continued unemployment, a contentious relationship with Pakistan, a worse relationship with Iran, and now an unknown taking over the reigns in North Korea. It seems like the perfect storm.
Iran pinpoints US carrier
Patriot Missiles Seized
US to sell F-15s to Saudi Arabia