Juan Cole mounts the evidence:
From 2005 through 2006, Iran appeared to be on the retreat in the eastern Mediterranean. Pro-Western Sunnis and Christians took over in Beirut. Syria was expelled from Lebanon and there was talk of detaching it from Iran. The powerful generals of Turkey, a NATO member and ally of Israel, were reliably anti-Iranian. Now, Hariri is a supplicant in Tehran, Syria is again influential in Beirut, and a Turkey newly comfortable with Islam has emerged as a regional power and a force for economic and diplomatic integration of Iran and Syria into the Middle East. Iran’s political breakthroughs in the region have dealt a perhaps irreparable blow to the hopes of the United States and Israel for a new anti-Iranian axis in the region that would align Iran’s Arab and other neighbors with Tel Aviv.
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