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Iran pushes to expand Mideast war zones

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

Are we going to witness new twists in the regional confrontation with Iran? I’m afraid so; we are witnessing political and military escalation, such as the news on a surveillance aircraft which was shot down over Bahraini airspace. According to the Syrian opposition, a similar aircraft was shot down in al-Qusayr in Syria.

If that happens to be true, I mean if Iran has the boldness to direct aircrafts to remote airspaces, effectively violating the norms of political engagement, it’s a sign of a dangerous development. This development must be assessed in relation to other developments, such as the sending of Iranian fighters to Syria, activating espionage cells in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and sending a ship carrying weapons to Yemen.

Internationally isolated

This shows the hostility of Iran’s policy; it seems that Iran has headed for escalation because either it feels that it is internationally isolated – thanks to its nuclear activities – or because it feels that there is a void it can exploit, due to the absence of Americans. President Barack Obama’s policy might be showing U.S. indifference toward the region’s wars; it shows as well that the United States has lost its appetite for wars and confrontations, especially in the Middle East.

I favor the second reason; Iran is not afraid, but it rather feels that this is its opportunity to extend its influence. Iran might think that it has a rare opportunity now to exploit a situation, owing to Obama’s lack of interest in the region, which has never been the case since WWII.

Iran thinks that Obama does not intend to go for a military option no matter how far these conflicts in the region will lead. Under the leadership of the Revolutionary Guard, Iran wants to make inroads into Syria and Iraq while threatening regional oil-producing countries like Bahrain and others.

We are now facing a growing monster called the Iranian regime that will keep on growing, especially that the Revolutionary Guards are now influencing and impacting more vital sectors in the country such as oil, main establishments, intelligence and foreign affairs.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Are these mere speculations resulting from our fear or are they based on ground facts? Gunmen, espionage cells and surveillance aircrafts that are sent to Syria are all signs that Iran is trying to wage new wars and reinforce its influence without taking into consideration international calculations that have always been part of the diplomacy formula in oil-producing countries. Iran’s hostile policy, which is fueled by its nuclear program, has become more pronounced after the failure of threats and economic sanctions imposed by the West. Russia’s support to Iran is now worsening the situation.

We are now facing a growing monster called the Iranian regime that will keep on growing, especially that the Revolutionary Guards are now influencing and impacting more vital sectors in the country such as oil, main establishments, intelligence and foreign affairs. This Iranian monster is pushing the region towards more wars and disputes, which will lead to the expansion of war-zone arenas.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 25, 2013.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the 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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.