That's why America's attempt to shore up containment against Iran increasingly seems to be yesterday's battle. On Dec. 3, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the GCC in Doha, Qatar. It was the first time an Iranian leader had addressed the alliance, which was formed in 1981 against the Iranian challenge.
Weeks later, Saudi King Abdullah invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to Saudi Arabia – the president's third visit in a year – for the hajj, or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The king used the occasion to hold cordial talks.
Iran is even reaching out to Egypt. Ali Larijani, head of Iran's National Security Council, visited Cairo recently for the highest level talks in 27 years. Afterward, Arab League chief Amr Moussa bluntly stated that there was no point in Arabs treating Iran as an enemy.
Gulf Arabs have thus visibly discarded the central pillar of the past year of America's Middle East strategy. Saudis and Egyptians had been the prime movers in anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite agitation. When they are inviting Ahmadinejad and Mr. Larijani to their capitals, America's talk of isolating Iran sounds outdated.