A common view is that Iran poses greater threats to Israel and western powers than to the remainder of the Middle East. However, actions by Egypt suggest many Arab nations fear Iran’s development of a nuclear program as much as do western societies. The passage of two Israeli warships through the Suez Canal sent an Egyptian message to Iran that it would work with Israel if Iran demonstrated an ability to employ nuclear weapons. Arab countries do not regard Iran as “Arab” and view the growing military power of that nation as a direct threat to the remainder of the Arab world. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni, but Iran represents the most powerful Shiite society in the world. Hezbollah leaders were furious that Egypt cooperated with the Zionists instead of being its enemies.
George Bush lacked a sophisticated understanding of the Middle East, let alone of the Muslim world. Neither he nor fellow members of his Cabinet even grasped differences between Sunni and Shiites. America continues viewing the Middle East through an Israeli-Arab lens instead of gathering a more encompassing view of divergent threats and fears. It is no all Jew vs Muslim, it is also Muslim vs Muslim.