MIDDLE EAST

The Riyadh partnership affects Tehran’s influence in the region

Let us admit that during Barack Obama’s rule, Iran enjoyed eight years while most of the Arab world went through tough ones. Let us also admit that the election of Donald Trump as president of the US has had the effect of the snowfall on the American media, as they described him with all the negative characteristics.

But for Iran, they believed that Trump is the candidate they wanted. He focused on ‘America first’ and attacked a lot of countries, including NATO member countries, the Gulf countries, China, Japan and, of course, described the nuclear deal with Iran as the worst. Iran was shocked by the transformation that happened to Trump after becoming the president, as they made their plans according to his fiery speeches during the campaign.

During Obama’s time, Iran succeeded in portraying any resistance to the Syrian regime as terrorism and succeeded in portraying any terrorism as Sunni and Wahhabi. 

Strategy 

As per Iranian reliable sources, Iran’s strategy, according to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was that the first and most dangerous enemy for the Iranian people is Saudi Arabia. The Supreme Leader will wait until October of this year, if the US did not remove the sanctions made upon Iran, especially those related to banks, the leader will only have one choice: to give the orders to heat up the situation in the Gulf. His calculations were based on the assumption that no country would stand with the Gulf countries, and that if America threatened to intervene, then Russia will say that it will intervene too.

Rouhani, who is portrayed by the Western media, especially the American, as a reformist, moderate and open-minded, said one day before the election: “Since the victory of the revolution, I always supported the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij forces, do you think that I have a problem with the ‘dear’ Revolutionary Guards and the ‘dear’ Basij ?.”

Huda al Husseini


The Iranian plan started to be implemented since the signing of the nuclear agreement. The justification was that the leadership has stopped working as per Khomeini’s strategy of exporting the revolution, but worked with Khamenei’s strategy, which is that Iran will protect the Shiites wherever they are. The plan included more details, but at the end Iran would demand the disarmament of the Gulf countries!

Then Trump came, and with his victory, the Republicans have returned to knock at the doors of the terrorist Iran. Then came the visit of the American president to Saudi Arabia which impacted the image of the play of Rouhani’s overwhelming victory, and even revealed the lack of differences in the Iranian leadership. Then comes the signing of the pact, with Saudi Arabia and the United States restoring the full partnership launched by King Abdul Aziz and US President Franklin Roosevelt.  

Rouhani threat 

Rouhani’s immediate response to Reuters was a threat: “Is there security in the Gulf without Iran? Trump’s visit is meaningless, just a show,” he said. But Mohsen Rezai, secretary of the Iranian Expediency Council, said: “We have to take the Saudi alliance with Trump very seriously. Saudi Arabia wants to take Saddam’s place”.

The Iran-Iraq war ended when Khomeini said, “He was forced to drink poison.”

Ali Shamkhani, the Iranian national security official, rushed to Moscow and called from there for a meeting for security officials in the “allied” countries of Syria. 

Iranian maneuvers 

What happened in Saudi Arabia proved the Kingdom’s ability to gather two billion Muslims and be responsible for them. Saudi Arabia was determined not to comply with the Iranian maneuvers. If Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif had visited Saudi Arabia after signing the nuclear agreement, he would have played the role of the Iranian person who succeeded with the West and dominated the region.

Rouhani, who has been re-elected, wanted to be armed by this majority and send a message to the West by saying that Iran wanted to open up, issue his orders to the Arab countries and try to create a conflict between the Gulf countries by saying after Trump’s visit, that “the policy of Kuwait and Oman towards Iran is good. We ask the rest of the Arab countries to follow the same policy.”

Rouhani, who is portrayed by the Western media, especially the American, as a reformist, moderate and open-minded, said one day before the election: “Since the victory of the revolution, I always supported the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij forces, do you think that I have a problem with the ‘dear’ Revolutionary Guards and the ‘dear’ Basij ?.”

America has placed the Revolutionary Guards on the list of terrorist organizations. After the visit of Trump, Ruhani said that Iran is facing the Takfiri terrorism.

It must be noted that so far the supreme leader has not commented. They depend on Rouhani’s ability to persuade the West .

Rouhani did not say that Iran has established the Hezbollah in Lebanon since the early 80s and considers it as the first line of defense. This has been proved in all battles, particularly in Syria, and also extended to the training of Shiite militias in Iraq, and to Yemen. The slogan of ISIS was: Exist and expand. It seems that Hezbollah wants this slogan for itself!

Iran has also tried to apply the Hezbollah model in Iraq and has been trying to apply this model in Syria since 2011 by establishing its pro-regime national defense, as well as sponsoring, arming and funding the Houthis in Yemen. 

A path to the Mediterranean 

Before Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, an exciting military action took place. Washington took the decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units. By which Washington forced Iran to abandon its plan to make a path to the Mediterranean through Kurdish areas along the Syrian – Turkish borders. Iran has taken a strategic decision to turn the Syrian part of the path, which is supposed to link Tehran to Lattakia along 225 km, turning it south to avoid the locations of US forces. The decision to turn the path was made by Qasem Soleimani, commander of the “Quds Force”, and Hadi al-Amiri, one of the leaders of the Iraqi ‘popular gathering. The path starts from Iran and heads north-west through the areas controlled by pro-Tehran Kurdish parties. The Tehran-Latakia part passes through the Syrian Kurdish areas of Qamishli and Kubani.

To achieve that, Iran has begun building a railway from Tehran to Sanandaj, the capital of the Kurdish-Iranian region bordering Iraq. President Rouhani visited Sanandaj last March, describing the railway as one of the most important infrastructure projects. “By extending the railway from Sanandaj to the Kurdish region of Iraq, we will link Iran to the Mediterranean through Syria,” he said.

This path, if established, is a vital strategic goal for Iran, and the strict ones consider this path to be essential for Iran’s superiority.

The late Iraqi politician Ahmad Al Jalabi in 2014 quoted Kassem Soleimani saying: “If we lost Syria, we lost Tehran, so we will turn all this chaos into an opportunity for us.”

That’s why, Iran’s focus on the Shiite militias fighting in Iraq and Syria is being mobilized by a revolutionary Shiite ideology that instills absolute loyalty to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and considers Soleimani the military leader who “terrorized” the Middle East!

Hadi Alamri said two years ago that “Khamenei is the first leader not only for the Iranians but for the Islamic nation as well.”
Now, after the American intervention and the arming of the Syrian Kurds, the path which Iran has sought to have a link to the Mediterranean, depends on the success of its militias in controlling the lands occupied by ISIS in Tal Afar in Iraq and Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria. That’s the American role.

Trump during the campaign or after being the president did not forget Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Rouhani said: “Our missiles are for peace and to prevent others from misbehaving!”

But two weeks ago, security reports revealed that Tehran had tried to launch a cruise missile from a small submarine and said the submarine design  wase of the North Korean origin, which was used to sink a South Korean warship in 2010. Iran has tried to launch an underwater missile for the first time but failed, Pentagon officials said. Defense experts have also warned that Iran and North Korea share military expertise. Iran’s latest ballistic missiles have North Korean designs, and that the North Korean ‘Taepodong’ missile appears to be identical with Iran’s ‘Shahab’ missile.

That’s the moderate Iran, while the innocent mask has started to fall off.

This article is also published in Arabic.

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Last Update: Sunday, 28 May 2017 KSA 16:58 - GMT 13:58
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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