[These are my words and opinions. I am solely responsible for the content. There are no footnotes or references.]
Iran's goal is to step into the vacuum of Iraq right now and become the super power of the Middle East with Syria as their lackey. We can bad-mouth Saddam until we are blue in the face, but there was a couple of functions he served. One, to keep his ethnically divided country under countrol and two, to balance the power between Iraq and Iran. Saddam is out of the picture, Iraq is in civil war/anarchy and Iran is stronger and more of a threat than ever.
With the factional religious support Iran has in Iraq, it would not be out of the question for Iran to overtake Iraq (similar to the Syria-Lebanon relationship) and, with its enhanced and unchecked nuclear ambitions, become the sole super power of the region to dictate policy to the OPEC nations (oil) and ultimately to accomplish their self-proclaimed goal of wiping Israel off the map. Iran's president does not think the Holocaust ever happened. What does that say about this man? It says that he wants to do what Hitler failed to accomplish. The only difference between the two men's ambitions is an Aryan world or an Islamic world.
In the West we are being driven by a similarly small faction of radicals, the Neo-Cons, who are equally as aggressive in forcing their ethnic/religious/political beliefs upon the rest of the world.
The result of this conflict for domination will be a devastating world war because in the end they won't be using guns and tanks...they will be using nuclear weapons. Allies will take sides and become targets of this threat as well. Russia and China are refusing to reign in the rogue Iranians or North Koreans. Whose side will they be on? This is a recipe for disaster. The accusation of "Axis of Evil" is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and it shouldn't have been said in the first place because it did nothing but catalyze and exacerbate the situation.
We made a big mistake taking Saddam out. It looked good in the short term because he was a ruthless dictator. Obviously he is what that country needed to co-exist amongst themselves. In the long term we have de-stabilized the whole region and possibly the whole world as a result of it.
It is amazing to see the effect that small groups of radicals have on the rest of the world. We're letting a miniscule amount of the world population dictate our daily life and ultimately, our survival.