Unfortunately, in this case, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. According to esteemed investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in this upcoming article in the New Yorker, the Bush Administration has entered into a labyrinthine policy of funding Sunni groups to counterbalance the growing Shiite influence in the Middle East.
Mr. Hersh's article is long, but well worth wading through. The article resists pithy summation, but here's my shot at the gist of it: The Administration has decided that resurgent Shiites, particularly those in Iran and Lebanon (Hezbollah), are the biggest threats to American interests in the region. Given that assumption, the Administration is covertly supporting Sunni groups, even those with radical agendas, and is willing to nudge the region toward Sunni-Shia conflict. Naturally, this is all being done without any Congressional oversight or public disclosure. (If you're wondering about parallels to Iran-Contra, note that some of the principal players in the current scheme include Elliott Abrams and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, although notably John Negroponte is alleged to have washed his hands of the whole endeavor.)
What's wrong with this picture? Where do I start? Here's an obvious point: These Sunni radical groups are sympathetic to (or possibly even aligned with) Al Qaeda and other similar religious extremists. Said religious extremists hate Shiites, seeing the latter as apostates of Islam (a greater offense than simply being decadent Westerners). So, if we send funds and other material support to these Sunni groups in order to oppose the Shiite groups, we're essentially supporting groups with ties to those groups that attacked us on 9/11 in hopes that they'll attack other enemies of ours instead of us.
Does anyone else see this as a massive clusterfornication waiting to happen??