The eternal conflict with Tehran is pictured as a political dispute between the Iranian regime and the Gulf countries’ governments and Israel.
No one doubts the long history of this dispute, its roots and incidents but also the Tehran’s victims which include states and countries other than the Gulf.
The majority of the Lebanese people suffered more than any Arab state for a period of time from Iran’s domination and practices which include the Syrian occupation that remained in effect within the context of the alliance between Tehran and Damascus. Hezbollah is merely like an Iranian police unit in Lebanon that carries out the “duties” for which it was established and funded.
The Syrian people are the ones who lost lives the most due to the Iranian regime as more than half a million were killed and more than 10 million have been displaced across the world. This horrific tragedy would not have happened if Iran had not engaged in the war there.
The same happened to the Iraqis as a year after the American invasion, Iran’s interferences were active on two fronts, through supporting the Sunni armed “resistance” and sponsoring terror organizations which were brought from Syria to West Iraq and through armed Shiite groups in Central and South Iraq. The Iraqis’ continuous failure is partially due to the Revolutionary Guards’ project in weakening the central authority and supporting political powers and armed organizations that reject the principle of the sovereignty of the center.
The people of Yemen are the latest victims of Iranian interferences. Tehran succeeded in toppling the Sanaa government via armed groups that were brought from north of the country to govern via arms and extremist ideology.
In all cases we cannot forget that those harmed the most by the Iranian regime are the Iranian people themselves as more than 70 million people live in a closed country that has been managed by revolutionary militias ever since the religious Khomeini revolution.
Therefore, we can say that the situation of Gulf countries is relatively better even with the presence of rebellious pockets in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait because they’re relatively small.
Lebanon will be the first to benefit - its stability; its citizens’ and foreigners’ reassurance will make it an economic center -if Hezbollah is deprived of its arms as part of an ordinary result of cutting Iran’s influence.
The situation in Syria can only be reformed by getting Qassem Soleimani and his militias out of there and by imposing a regionally and internationally supported political solution. Since Iraq is an oil-rich state, all it needs to function well is for its legislative and executive institutions to work without interferences from Tehran.
The Yemeni war will stop in one hour when Iran’s influence on the Houthi rebels comes to an end. Gaza is also a victim of Iran’s domination and it can become like Ramallah, a strip that’s fit for a proper living which is the least of hopes, if Iran’s regional influence is halted. The entire region will enjoy great relative peace. This opinion is not imaginative or based on wishes but it actually reflects the reality that dominated before the Iranian revolution erupted.
Therefore, the international community’s attempt to change the Iranian regime’s behavior and not just clip its nuclear military project is an important plan for the region and the entire world.
In order not to sell illusions, we must note that it’s a weak possibility for negotiators to get to this phase unless the American government insists to and some of the region’s governments’ and Europe’s support it.
Pressuring Iran’s regime can alter the latter’s behavior if it wants to survive. The Iranian regime is currently suffering a lot even though it’s not screaming out loud. Protests there decreased but they have not stopped, and they’ve become more organized and more dangerous than previous spontaneous protests.
They’ve taken a feature that rejects social restraints and protests against the style of the government’s management across the country. In general, the regime in Iran has exhausted itself. The more it increases its oppressive practices, the more the rejections and the protests against it.
If internal popular pressure continues against the regime and in case international pressure is exerted against it, then changing its behavior is possible; and if it resists, the entire regime will change.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.