New Islamist Alliance Alters Mideast Dynamic

Call it the new “axis of Islam,” or, more accurately, the anti-American and anti-Israeli alliance.

In the wake of strong performances by Islamist forces at the ballot box in recent months there’s a new power rising in the Middle East.

Hussein Hajj Hassan, one of 14 Hizballah members in the Lebanese parliament, said the new alliance was cemented in a little-publicized summit in Damascus last month attended by leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah, as well as Iranian President Ahmedinejad and Syrian leader Assad.

There’s little question that Iran is seen as the true leader of the new grouping. The otherwise bare walls of the Hizballah office in Beirut are dominated by oversized portraits of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini, and his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomaini.

Referring specifically to Hizballah’s ties with Iran, Syria, and the Hamas-led PA, Hajj Hassan said, “We have common interests, a common history, and a common political [agenda]. We are allies because we have very many subjects in common.”

Fadia Kiwan, a political science professor at St. Joseph’s University in Beirut, said, “There’s a new power now. Iran, Syria, the Iraqi Shiites, Hamas, and Hizballah, backed by Russia.”

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