In political commentaries, I prefer to call a spade a spade. As Iran’s provocative actions continue to disrupt the region and the world, it is a must to name things for what they are: Iran’s interference in the Ukraine war by supplying Russia with drones is an Iranian attack on NATO states.
Yes, Iran is now targeting Europe, just like it attacked our region and still does.
The Iranian drones targeting the Abqaiq oil facility in Saudi Arabia in 2019 are the same drones that the Houthis use against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Popular Mobilization Forces, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq use in Iraq, and Hezbollah uses against Israel.
Iran’s drones are not a novelty, but Europe and the United States had only awoken to the fact of their existence when Iran’s drones began striking NATO states.
But the deafening silence of Europe and the US, and especially Washington’s many fallacies regarding the Iranian dossier, allowed Tehran to muster the audacity to attack European states and NATO states.
To illustrate the silence and leniency that the US showed vis-à-vis Iran, suffice it to reflect on two instances.
Recently, in what was most likely a bid to corral votes for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, former President Barack Obama acknowledged that he made a mistake when he did not support the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. But Obama’s mistakes are too many to count, anyway.
For his part, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, who has no idea how foreign policy works judging by his declarations regarding Saudi-US relations, had made some statements in August 2021 that he seems to have forgotten today. At the time, he said, “Washington must deprioritize hostility against Iran, cut down its military presence in the Middle East, and urge Saudi Arabia to come to terms with Hezbollah.”
Today, Washington says that the Russian-Iranian alliance, manifested in Moscow’s use of Tehran’s drones in Ukraine and the deployment of Iranian experts to the country, threatens the international community. We do not understand how it will be possible to confront this alliance without positive and healthy relations with Saudi Arabia, ergo, the states of the region.
Therefore, Iranian drone attacks on NATO countries in Ukraine are not a passing storm but rather a full-fledged attack that proves that silence on Iran’s crimes in the region and Europe has become a real and unprecedented threat.
Iran not only oppresses its people; it also attacks the states of the region, so far destroying four Arab capital cities. Today, its drones are bombing Kyiv, a European capital this time, in a strike to all NATO states.
Targeted sanctions on specific entities or individuals in Iran will no longer do. Instead, it is time to draw up a comprehensive plan to deal with the danger that Iran poses to Europe today, which amounts to explicit political blackmail.
Harsh sanctions on Iran should be reimposed, and a plan B to deal with Tehran is needed, even if this means a military confrontation. In addition, an integrated defense system is required in the region in coordination with all moderate and stable countries and Israel.
As for Iran’s militias in the region, whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon, direct action is needed to confront them. Such action does not necessarily need to be military. It could instead take the form of support for all the forces that oppose those militias and, more importantly, for the peaceful Iranians confronting the regime’s cruel killing machines.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.