The simplicity of the argument expressed by Iran’s Supreme Leader expresses his vision of the conflict in the region quite well. Responding to the American sanctions, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei likened the Iranians and the Americans to the famous cartoon Tom and Jerry.
The Americans are Tom, the big foolish cat who spends his time in vain chasing the mouse Jerry but failing at catching him. It’s a correct depiction. This is actually what happening now, and what’s been happening between America and Iran for 40 years. The JCPOA agreement is only one of the games Iran used to escape from the sanctions which Washington imposed on it during the first few years of Obama’s presidency. By signing the agreement without stopping Iran, the mouse escaped from the trap once again.
This chase has been going on for a long time with Iran which succeeded in evading its responsibilities in terms of harming its people and the region and the massive destruction it has inflicted upon us all. The question is, will it be able to escape again this time?Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The chase and Iran's escape
The Supreme Leader views the destruction happening as a game and believes his country’s role is to escape and play tricks. He thinks that this time he will survive Donald Trump’s chase just like he survived every time, although Trump has set a plan that seems well-devised to besiege the Iranian mouse.
OPINION: Americans, Europeans and Iran
This chase has been going on for a long time with Iran which succeeded in evading its responsibilities in terms of harming its people and the region and the massive destruction it has inflicted upon us all. The question is, will it be able to escape again this time?
Conflict is a complicated game and it’s not as simple as a chase as the Supreme Leader put it. Iran invokes religion, culture and history in its battles and plays on the region’s axes and conflicts. It convinces the Iraqis that they are Shiites who are targeted on the sectarian level, the Sunnis that they are targeted in an infidel Christian world, the Arabs that they are threatened by Israel and the East that it’s being looted by the West.
It hires organizations like Hamas, allies with its enemies like al-Qaeda, establishes arms of militias and organizations, like the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthi militia.
It uses opposition groups in their countries regardless of their sect and ethnicity, allies with Russia and blackmails superpowers including China and Europe by threatening it’s capable of swaying terror groups in their countries. Iran is not a small mouse but a large regional state that harnessed all its energy for evil and did not build anything fruitful, not even for its citizens, and did not allow the people in the region to peacefully fulfill their dreams.
Is it game over for Iran?
I think Iran exhausted all its games and has no way to escape except by confronting what’s decisive. It played for a long time and the last of its victims was Obama. It deluded him that it learnt its lesson and promised him of what he wanted to hear so it got all it wanted from him and more, and then betrayed him.
During Iran’s confrontations throughout the years, I have not seen such realization and understanding of the regime like I see today, as not only the Americans realize its truth but also most Arabs and Muslims who were deceived by it for four decades and stood with it after it got them to defend its causes against the West and Israel. The majority now sees it for what it is: Iran is an evil giant in every cause and area. It’s true that it managed to deceive most people most of the time, but I hope its time is up.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech last week is the best of what’s been said as it stripped the Supreme Leader’s regime. The 12 conditions he announced are difficult dictations in exchange of lifting the sanctions. If the Iranian regime implements them, it will not be the regime we know, and if it does not, it will fall apart.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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.