Why Tehran getting more ambitious

Eyad Abu Shakra
Eyad Abu Shakra

Eyad Abu Shakra

By : Eyad Abu Shakra

Pictures like an emaciated man from the besieged town of Madaya dying after failing to exchange his car for some food speak volumes about how Syria entered the New Year with old and new baggage.

This may not be a suitable introduction to what to expect in the Middle East in 2016, but anyone expecting a quick end to the crisis in the war-ravaged country may not be correct as Syria is in a multi-faceted state of war and it will take time for the situation to improve.

In the meantime, carrying out the plan hatched by Iran’s IRGC for population exchange involving Sunnis from Damascus’ western countryside and Shiites from Aleppo and Idlib provinces, with the military support of Iran’s subservient Iraqi, Lebanese and Afghan Shiite militias and the Russian air force, are other major hurdles for peace.

Iran’s ever-growing interference in Iraq too is a well-known fact, thanks to a “new Iraq” created by Washington in 2003 under the pretext of non-existing weapons of mass destruction. This is barely distinguishable from the “new Syria” whose map is reportedly being drawn by Washington, Moscow and Tehran by using war against Daesh as a pretext.

Free of American sanctions and military pressure, Iran is now behaving like another Israel and has even more ambitious and expansionist goals. It is bent on re-drawing the borders of its neighboring countries, deciding the limits of their sovereignty, imposing their leaders and then lecturing about “human rights,” defining “terrorism” the way it pleases, misinterpreting Islam and offering its “services” to world powers as a regional client.

The latest has been the attacks on Saudi missions in Iran after Riyadh executed a number of terrorists, the vast majority of whom were Sunnis. Iran’s reaction would have been expected had it come from a country that does not carry out the death sentence against political and sectarian opposition activists. By leveling false allegations against Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries that they are aiding and abetting terrorism, Iran is actually in a state of war with them. Indeed, it may not take the Turks and Kurds too long to begin to realize the threat of Iran’s ambitions about their own territories.

There are several question marks surrounding the future of the Middle East. While many argue whether Russia’s military intervention in Syria is intended to contain Iran’s overreach or complements its regional project which seems to enjoy American, Israeli and European approval, two facts emerge.

The first is that Russia’s political and military presence in Eastern Mediterranean is seen as having negative repercussions on Turkey and its regional influence. Besides this, Washington’s policies and recent stances point to its deep dislike for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is what one can read from NATO’s reluctant sympathy with Moscow, following threats to the Turks after the Russian jet fighter incident, as well as the continuous American support to the Kurds.

Second, as the US presidential election campaign gathers momentum, certain “specialized” quarters begin their own campaigns of what can be perceived as well-planned political and even partisan “leaks.” The Wall Street Journal’s report about an unsuccessful coup against Syria’s Bashar Assad was exciting and would surely lessen the pressure on Barack Obama in particular, as well as that on the Democrats in next November’s presidential, Congressional and gubernatorial elections. More exciting is what Seymour Hersh — a “friend” of Assad and Hezbollah — has reported about “intelligence sharing” between the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency with their Russian, Israeli and German counterparts in order to keep the Syrian dictator in power, ostensibly without the knowledge of the White House. One reason why such “info” has been made public by Hersh may have been to exonerate Obama of GOP accusations of hesitation, betrayal of the Syrians and giving in to Moscow and Tehran.

Given the present military situation in Syria, most of what Hersh has reported is true, regardless of whether one believes in “conspiracy theories” or not. But why now? How can the secret about “intelligence sharing” be divulged? How is it possible to continue with fake declarations, deceitful conferences, maneuvers and training and arming programs for two years? In any case, the crises the Middle East is facing at present merit realistic actions. Hot spots like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Palestine are testing grounds.

If the Russians carry on with their “blitz” in Syria to radically change the equations before the promised peace talks, Americans continue to regard Haider Al-Abadi’s government in Iraq as an avant-garde in the “war against terror,” and Iran swims deeper and deeper into the blood of innocent citizens of Yemen, GCC states, Iraq and the Levant through Houthis and other militias, the victory in the “war against terror” will be costlier and take longer than expected.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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