How to Win at Balance-of-Power Politics
F. Gregory Gause III
March 12, 2009
After the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini hoped that the Islamic Revolution would spread beyond Iran's borders. He had some luck in Lebanon -- where Iran created Hezbollah after the Israeli invasion of 1982 -- and elsewhere. But Khomeini's revolution had limited appeal, and ultimately, no Arab government fell to a sister revolution. Saddam, who played an important role in checking Iran's power, learned a similar lesson during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s. He combined Arab nationalism with Islamism to try to create instability in Arab states that had joined the coalition against him. He failed.