Iran bids Obama farewell with insults
Iran must not leave its forces and militias loose and continue to threaten the security of the region
The Scorpion and the Frog is an animal fable about a frog that carries a scorpion on its back across a river. The frog is first hesitant to carry the scorpion out of fear of being stung but the scorpion insists it wouldn't. However, the scorpion does indeed sting the frog and when the latter asks it why it did so, the scorpion replies saying it was its natural for it to do so.
Last week, US navy destroyer, the USS Mahan, faced the potential threat of a confrontation with Iranian revolutionary guards' vessels in international waters in the Gulf and it had to fire warning shots. Meanwhile, celebrations were held in Tehran because a year passed since Iran's detention of American sailors and what Tehran calls "humiliating" American sailors.
All this embarrasses President Barack Obama who ends his eight years as president this week. Obama is the only president who carried the Iranian regime on its back since 1979. He cancelled the policy of five former American presidents and negotiated with the Iranians and signed generous agreements with them after lifting economic sanctions and keeping silent over their crimes in Syria. The Iranian regime rewarded him and bid him farewell as he exits the White House by coming near American troops in Gulf waters and insulting them again. This is in addition to insulting campaigns against him through Iranian official media outlets.
In all cases, there are few days before the inauguration of the president-elect. After that, we will observe how the Iranian regime will deal with the new American government. Will it dare intercept its vessels and detain its sailors or open fire at military vessels present in Gulf waters?
Iran must not leave its forces and militias loose and continue to threaten the security of the regionAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Preparations are underway in Washington to hand over power. Everything we've heard so far hints that the end of Obama's presidential term is the end of his policy in the Gulf and that this phase will be followed with a different era in the Middle East. I don't want to rush expectations from Trump's administration but what high-ranking officials said during hearing sessions at the Congress last week indicates that Trump will be different than Obama. This was confirmed by the testimonies of three major nominees for the departments of defense and state and the CIA regarding Iran.
All three men clearly accused Iran of being the source of unrest in the region and said the new administration will confront it instead of allying with it and this does not mean abandoning the nuclear agreement as they respect the signed agreements.
Unleashing the monsters
If they execute what they threaten Iran with, it will be a major shift in American policy in terms of its relations with the Gulf and the balance of power in the Middle East. Obama secretly began building relations with the Iranian regime and trusted it, the scorpion in this case, and carried it on his back betting that it will be a regional partner in peace and a major ally in fighting terrorism. Since Obama's administration deliberately communicated with the Tehran regime covertly for a long period of time, it was easy to make promises and sign deals that were not only bad for the US but for the region and the entire world. No one in the region objects to Washington being open to Iran and reaching an agreement that suspends the latter's nuclear program but Obama's administration made a series of mistakes that unleashed the Iranian regime's monsters which are behind the disasters in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
This was not necessary and it's time for Iran to realize that it can enjoy its economic capabilities and the world can open its doors for it for trade, tourism and exchange of knowledge. However, Iran must not leave its forces and militias loose and continue to threaten the security of the region and the security and interests of the entire world.
This article was first published on January 17, 2017, in Asharq Al-Awsat.
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. He tweets @aalrashed