Previously I pondered as what Iran could do even if it possessed a nuclear bomb. Of course, it would not do anything even if it’s on brink of political craziness or becomes frightened of the regional and international changes.
Yet Tehran makes mistakes that can be a game changer. While Iran has dedicated all time and resources to gain military prowess, it failed to unify its social constituents. It suffers from an acute weakness that is a source of security concerns.
All international relations theories, diplomatic negotiations theories and winning cards are betraying Iran today and are putting Iran to face political, oil, and economic sanctions. Iran does not have many choices but messing with the regional and energy security. This is particularly true after it lost the capability of selling its oil.
To add salt to wound, other importing countries are trading the Iranian oil with commodities rather than with U.S. dollars. The decision to do this kind of tradeoff is a statement of the weakness of the political capabilities of Iran. All indicators show that Assad’s regime is over and the Iraqi prime minister is on retreat not in favor of Sunni forces but in favor of civil and democratic forces. In Syria, the choice is for the civil and democratic diverse society.
According to some Israeli intelligence information, Assad called the Russian leadership saying that he had a plan and pledged to prevail over the protesters within a couple of months. Assad decided to get rid of the military officers who started complaining of a lack of a solution. He gave them a leave provided that they stick to their houses.
In their place, Assad appointed the thugs ordering them to implement all force at their disposal to wipe out the protesters. Therefore, the coming months are expected to be bloody ones. And yet this will only mark the end of Assad and the beginning of a genuine political settlement.
Tehran, which loses some $80 million a day, is also facing a catastrophic reality caused by the political, oil, and economic sanctions. It also realizes that Assad is on retreat and that Moscow is negotiating with the Syrian opposition and the army.
Iran will only have the worse options and it will not resort to any of these options as its domestic affairs are deteriorating. Various ethnic and national groups within Iran are adopting wait and see strategy. They will decide their course of action once Assad’s grip on power ends. Not surprisingly, Tehran throws all of its power behind Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. It remains to be seen as to what would happen in case al-Maliki falls down and a civic state begins to take root in Syria.
Will Tehran close the Strait of Hormuz? Of course no. Iran does not dare do that in the first place even if Iran has the capability to affect this policy. Notwithstanding statements uttered by leaders of the Iranian revolutionary guard, Iran will unlikely close the strait. It is about time for Iran to realize that the stinging sanctions imposed by the West are a result of its policies rather than an act of war. The West has given Iran many opportunities and Iran failed to seize them. The way the west deals with Iran is the opposite of the way it dealt with Saddam Hussein.
Needless to say that a closure of the Strait of Hormuz will not hurt that Saudi Arabia. Riyadh can easily transport from 20 to 30 percent of its oil away from the strait. United Arab Emirates dealt with the situation by building a 380-kilometer pipeline with a capacity of transporting some 1.5 millions barrels a day out of 2.5 millions barrels that Emirates produces a day.
For this reason Iran adopts a bombastic and grandstanding attitude by threatening Turkey, the American presence in the Gulf, and wiping out Israel from the map. That said, Iran is looking forward to the Ankara meeting as a watershed in the dialogue with the west. The problem, however, will continue as the Iranian-European talks are not expected to lift sanctions on Iran.
Some sources confirm that Assad and his family themselves are under administrative detention and that a battalion of the Republican Guard control the President’s movement and his communication.
The authority is actually in the hand of his brother, Maher. Therefore, some sources confirm that placing high-ranking officers under administrative detention and instating thugs in their place is nothing but the plan for the end.
The international community will not keep silence this time. The Syrian media attempt to show Assad along with his wife playing sports will not deceive the rest of the people of the gravity of the situation. Still, the situation is difficult and the west is waiting from an internal coup in Syria especially after Moscow conducted dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhoods of Syria. Equally important, a national unity government means the exclusiveness of Assad from the political arena.
The writer is a Saudi columnist. The article was published in Arab News on July. 07, 2012