How will the Iranian Revolutionary Guards respond to the Ahwaz attack?

Mystery still surrounds the attack that targeted a military parade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Ahwaz and killed at least 25 people, including 12 soldiers and a child, and injured at least 25 others. ISIS was the first to claim responsibility and an Arab organization that calls for the liberation of Ahwaz also issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, while some observers hinted that the attack might be the work of some parties within the authority. This is in addition to accusations against this or that country.

Meanwhile, Iran’s authorities such as President Hassan Rouhani said “the bully” US and some Gulf states supported by Washington facilitated the attack. Rouhani claimed that a Gulf state provided the funds, weapons and support to the perpetrators.

Even if Iran were to find irrefutable proof of Washington's involvement in this attack, the response will not affect US forces or their interests. The Iranian leadership has abided by the policy of vocal hostility towards Washington, in exchange for the strict commitment to not violate the red lines set by it

Ali Al-Amin

Unknown identities

It can be said that the military operation revealed the first attack of its kind taking place in Iran. It was carried out in a way that reflects the ability of the attackers to carry out an operation of this magnitude publicly. Some observers however do not find the fingerprints of ISIS in this operation, since it was not a suicide bombing. What’s interesting is that Iranian authorities did not disclose the identities of the four attackers who executed the attack and who were subsequently killed during the operation.

The Fars news agency also noted that one of the attackers was not killed on the spot but died at the hospital.

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Iran, which has confirmed through its officials that it will respond to the attack, avoided publicly naming any specific party as responsible for the attack and did not provide any evidence for the involvement of foreign countries. IRNA news agency said that Iran summoned the envoys of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark, and accused their countries of harboring Iranian opposition groups. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also did not name any of the "regional states" he claimed were behind the armed attack.

The Iranian response will probably affect those who were not named. The party that comes up most often on the lips of Iranian officials is Washington, which President Rouhani mentioned without specifically naming any another country, although he did mention that Gulf States backed by the US financed and armed the attackers.

If Iran were to militarily retaliate against Washington, the Iranian official statements would not have been issued in this manner. On the contrary, we would have heard about an explosion targeting a US military convoy, base, or other US interest in the region.

Iran will respond to the “bully” the US only through words. Tehran is aware that the current US administration will not tolerate any Iranian interference with Washington's interests in the Middle East, like the case was during the former administration which tolerated such acts. Repeating an

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The incident which happened after the American sailors entered Iranian territorial waters was meant as a show-off. The Iranian leadership is aware that responding to Washington is what President Donald Trump and his administration, which insist on changing Iran's behavior like no other administration did before, are waiting for.

Iran’s response

Even if Iran were to find irrefutable proof of Washington's involvement in this attack, the response will not affect US forces or their interests. The Iranian leadership has abided by the policy of vocal hostility towards Washington, in exchange for the strict commitment to not violate the red lines set by it. The Iranian aggression is always focused on Arab countries, and this has become clear in recent years. According to the calculations of the Revolutionary Guards, the real “Great Satan” is not the United States.

The ideological tendency of the Iranian project is focused on sinking the Arab region into internal wars and conflicts, or to rush into interfering in them with no regard for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, in exchange for a behavior that shows exaggerated respect for Israeli and American interests, as is the case with Syria and Iraq.

The Iranian response to the "terrorist" attack in Ahwaz will be against those states Tehran did not specifically name. For instance, this attack will provide a justification for further tightening the internal grip and marginalizing the Ahwaz region. Tehran has been marginalizing this region for many years, increasing its people’s sense of oppression, especially since they know that they live where most of Iranian oil wealth is located.

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The Iranian leadership does not want to admit that its policies towards Ahwaz are what make the citizens of this region ready to die in order to kill some Iranian soldiers. It is likely that by not disclosing the identity of the perpetrators of the attack, the Iranian authorities do not want to shed light on the internal reasons of the attack.

Iran is expecting a new round of US sanctions, which will prevent it from exporting oil. Thus, it will try to escalate confrontation in the Arab region, but it knows that what was once permitted to it by the US is no longer permissible today, and that the Quds Forces which targeted Arab countries with its sectarianism and ideology, without touching on the occupation of Jerusalem and its judaization, has drained Iranian economy after it proudly contributed to draining neighboring and surrounding Arab states. Iran has accomplished this task that does not affect the interests of Israel nor Washington, i.e. efficiently contribute to destroying Arab countries and investing in their social divisions.

The Iranian response will be due to the good and "polite" conduct of its officials towards Washington's vital interests, and it will be in a way that Washington cannot consider it as targeting it, i.e. it would be in further tightening the grip inside Iran and using its proxies to carry out attacks on military or security areas in other Gulf states. A military action, if it happens, will most likely be ambiguous as it would be possible to accuse more than one party especially when ISIS is more than ever ready to be a Trojan horse, as revealed by its behavior since its creation.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Ali Al-Amin is a journalist based in Lebanon and is the Editor of news site Janoubia.com.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58
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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