From the shores of the Mediterranean through Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and even further afield Tehran now holds sway. Even while the Saudi government builds a wall to keep out Islamic State fighters they are busy looking internally at their Shiite minority (that they have been persecuting for years) with fear that Iran will exploit them to destabilise the House of Saud.

A new 21st century Persian Empire is being built right under our noses under the cover of a war the West started but doesn’t understand and has little interest in. Ill thought out, hastily planned Western invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan followed more recently by catastrophic withdrawals from both countries have ensured the Middle East has gone from being a bastion of states ruled by brutal dictators to a an area of land without borders containing a mush of warring tribes, factions and blood letting on a scale not seen in the Middle East since the Crusades..

The big winner from the catastrophe that has engulfed the Middle East and Central Asia is Iran. The war between the Islamic State and just about everyone else has perfectly suited their own brand of militant extremism and callous disregard for human life. It has also put them on the same side of the United States. Although not spoken of in those terms the war planes of the Western coalition are certainly not attacking Shi’ite militias or Iranian forces. It was Iranian soldiers who “saved” Baghdad from the Islamic State. While American troops in country were prevented from engaging. Fighting weak,divided opponents who have no support from the air, limited training and only meagre heavy weaponry, the Iranian army is the most powerful force to be fully committed to battle against IS and will be the one to reap the rewards from their demise.

The fighting in Syria has served to provide a new generation of Iranian soldiers and Hezbollah terrorists with combat experience and an intimate knowledge of warfare. Since the US invasion of Iraq Hezbollah has moved from being the principle Iranian proxy in the Middle East to one among many Shiite militias recruited from vast swathes of territory. These people were once citizens of countries who held no truck with Iran and from whom the Iranians couldn’t have hoped to recruit. But things have changed.

Amidst much controversy the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the US congress on the dangers of an Iranian bomb. While this latest argument between the Obama and Netanyahu continues Iran is becoming more and more dangerous, not because of its efforts to gain nuclear weapons but because of the empire building it is doing on the ground.

Both Netanyahu and Obama are united in their opposition to Iranian nuclear weapons they simply differ on tactics. In all of the disputes surrounding this tactical difference the bigger picture is being forgotten. Nuclear technology is something that Israeli and various Western intelligence agencies have successfully prevented the Iranians from acquiring for years. Using tactics ranging from selective assassinations, mysterious explosions in vital Iranian sites to malware installed into their systems, intelligence agencies have been incredibly successful in disrupting the Iranian nuclear program.

Meanwhile the tentacles of the Islamic regime have insinuated themselves into country after country, capital after capital and no one says a word. Whereas once Tehran was getting its hands on captured American weaponry now they are being delivered the latest American main battle tanks and weapons via shipments ostensibly for the Iraqi army. What the Americans are delivering to the Iraqis they are delivering to the Iranians.The Iranians don’t need a bomb to cast a large shadow over the Middle East, they are doing it already. All this while President Obama insists US forces remain in their barracks and while the administrations of Israel and the USA argue over a weapon the Iranians don’t have, don’t need and probably won’t get.

instead of bickering over the best way to prevent the Iranians from obtaining the bomb both leaders should open their eyes to the reality of a Middle East ruled over from Tehran. This is a reality that they aren’t dealing with or are actively encouraging. If Netanyahu is going to fight with the Obama administration it shouldn’t be over Tehran’s so far futile attempt to build the bomb but over the blind eye they have turned to the rampant spread of the 21st century Persian Empire.