In a piece published in September, 2009 I highlighted one of the dangers of Washington's obsession with "containing" Iran:
The principle danger in any containment scheme is that the U.S. will set in motion forces it does not understand and cannot control. The most relevant example, of course, is American support for the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s. What began as an effort to covertly bloody the Soviet Union, gradually, and unintentionally, spawned a transnational terrorist movement that eventually struck the U.S. homeland on September 11, 2001. Many of the same Afghan militants who proved useful to the U.S. in the 1980s have now turned their guns on America...
Indeed, the rise of al Qaeda points to the singular danger of any Iranian containment regime: it could stir up a Sunni jihadist whirlwind. The Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, would not only need arms to keep Iran in check militarily, but would step up an ideological campaign to undermine the legitimacy of its Shiite theocracy in the eyes of the Muslim world. This ideological conflict would put the U.S. in the absurd position of supporting the same theological forces which have propelled al Qaeda terrorism.
This is precisely what has happened in Syria, especially as Iran and Hezbollah have thrown in their lot with Assad. Here, for instance, is the advice of Max Boot:
In this regard it would help enormously if Hezbollah were not successful in its efforts to keep the Assad regime in power. A failed intervention in Syria would do tremendous damage to its standing in Lebanon, while a successful intervention would allow it to maintain its grip on power by safeguarding the arms pipeline flowing from Tehran via Damascus.
That makes it all the more imperative that the U.S. do more to ensure that Hezbollah loses in Syria–not only by providing arms to vetted rebel factions but also by employing our airpower to ground Assad’s air force and thus removing a crucial regime advantage. Time is slipping away as Assad recovers on the battlefield.
The upshot of this advice is to make Syria safe for al-Qaeda by purging it of Hezbollah. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me.