Iranian threats against Saudi Arabia
While U.S. President Barack Obama was trying to ease the anger of Gulf leaders, Iran was keen on sending a threatening message
While U.S. President Barack Obama was trying to ease the anger of Gulf leaders, Iran was keen on sending a threatening message to Saudi Arabia through the commander of its ground forces. On Thursday, Obama gathered Gulf leaders at Camp David to assure them that they “do not have to worry about the nuclear deal with Iran.” They replied that he did not take into account the security of their countries.
Tension throughout the region has become a serious problem. It has reached its peak in Syria, Iraq, and more recently in Yemen, where Iran continues to defy U.N. Security Council resolutions, and insists on breaching the naval blockade formed by the Saudi-led coalition to prevent the armament of the rebels.
Iran has sent a ship escorted by its navy, claiming that it was only carrying humanitarian aid. However, it seems to be a new attempt to support the rebels with arms. What made it suspicious is that Iran did not allow the United Nations, located in neighboring Djibouti port, to inspect the ship. In addition, the destination of the ship is the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which is controlled by Houthi rebels known to be allied to Tehran.
Iran seeks to keep the war raging in Yemen by urging its allies to reject reconciliation and supporting them with more arms, as it is doing in Syria. Iran believes that by igniting more wars - after Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain - it will impose itself as the dominant regional forceAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Iran has previously tried to do the same thing. It sent a ship two weeks ago - under the same pretext - but after U.S. warships rushed to inspect it in the Red Sea, the Iranian ship made a u-turn and returned home. This time, the ship was escorted and protected by a number of Iranian warships. The Iranian military threatened to attack Saudi Arabia if coalition forces inspected the ship.
The Iranian bullying embarrassed Obama’s administration, which seems to be desperate for a deal with Tehran on its nuclear program. This despite the fact that the Iranian regime is supposed to need the deal the most, but has yet to demonstrate its good intentions and behavior.
Direct message to the White House
It is clear that Iranian threats against Gulf countries are a direct message to the White House, which is trying to reassure the parties that the concept of reconciliation with Iran is different from its actual interpretation, and that the United States does not have to be engaged in the protection of the Gulf in light of the nuclear agreement.
Unfortunately, the history of the clerically-ruled Iran has been full of tension. It only backs down through the use of force, not through diplomatic reconciliation. A year ago, Iran tried to send what it said was a humanitarian aid ship to Gaza, but when Israeli commandos attacked and inspected it, they discovered arms covered by cement bags. Iran did not dare to do anything except verbal condemnation.
Iran seeks to keep the war raging in Yemen by urging its allies to reject reconciliation and supporting them with more arms, as it is doing in Syria. Iran believes that by igniting more wars - after Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain - it will impose itself as the dominant regional force. For that reason, we are not as positive about the nuclear agreement as Obama envisages us to be, because we are sure that it will only stimulate the evilness of the Iranian regime.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 15, 2015.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former 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.