Only Saudi Arabia can stop Iran from dominating region
By : Huda al-Husseini
:: A country that does not take into consideration emotions but rather believes in the death penalty, chooses to play on emotions. A country that pays some of its people to shout “Death to America” on a daily basis, has now its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, objecting on the decision to ban Iranian from travelling to the US and saying that this ban is aimed against Iranian grandmothers.
In this same country, if a grandchild decides to visit his grandmother in Iran, he will be put in prison for trying to overthrow the regime because he has an American citizenship. This country, which wants grandmothers to be able to travel to the US, arrested last week, 110 young men and women for participating in a mixed ceremony.
The Iranian leadership does not hesitate to exploit everything for its own benefit. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi that “the Americans are against the Shiite Popular Mobilization because they want Iraq to lose its core power.”
Then, President Hassan Rouhani tells Abadi that “the liberation of Mosul is a victory for Iran, Iraq and Syria,” (Iran was listed first!).
Iran wants everything that relates to Arab matters. It created the Quds Day to reveal its expanding influence. On that day, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on expanding the “axis of resistance” in the Levant. Nasrallah, who directly gets his orders from the Supreme Leader, threatened that the war between Israel, Lebanon and Syria would attract thousands of fighters from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, although Lebanon can no longer put up with more foreigners.
What is interesting is that all the Iranian media affiliated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have completely deleted this section because they do not want more Iranians to participate in another war, especially after the Iranian military deployment in Syria sparked an internal controversy.
Justifying regional interference
The Iranian regime and Hezbollah are trying to justify their regional interference claiming that it is for supporting Palestinians against Israel, although at the beginning of the Iranian revolution, during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini, they did not hesitate to get weapons from Israel to fight Iraq.
Iran did not talk about the ‘Takfiris’ during the US invasion of Iraq, the hub of al-Qaeda that created the ISIS, because it used to say that it is ready to fund all those fighting the Americans in Iraq. Thus, ever since the war in Syria, Iran has been focusing on foreign fighters who have joined al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Iran, which does not want to be seen as fighting the war in order to protect Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has supported and encouraged to put the Takfiris under the public eye, aiming to include anyone opposed to the Assad regime. On the other hand, little coverage is given to Shiite volunteers who formed militias to support the Assad regime in his battle against the Takfiris, and his most ferocious battle against the Syrian people who just sought change in Syria.
Iran has supported, created and encouraged these “volunteer” militias. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards are participating in the battles inside Syria, and their role is not limited to training and structuring. According to an IRGC officer, Iran has recruited and trained hundreds of battalions to defend the Assad regime.
While the world is sorry about Yemen for the bombing by the coalition, the IRGC and Hezbollah disregarded the Houthis there. In his most recent speech, Nasrallah said: “Yemen is a very strategic and important region, and its importance lies in the Bab al-Mandab Strait.”
The focus is now on Syria, and what was initially a major battle against ISIS, has become a major global focus; Iran, Russia and Turkey are racing against time there.
It is important to note that the international legitimacy enjoyed by the mullahs since the nuclear agreement in 2015 has begun to disintegrate. The US Senate voted last month on imposing new sanctions on Iran for violating the terms of the nuclear agreement, such as using ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist groups. These political moves have always had a major economic impact. That is why Western banks continue to warn companies that may be tempted to invest in Iran. This does not bother the IRGC, and despite the attempts of the US media to convince itself and convince us that reformists are currently ruling Iran, headed by Rouhani and Zarif, the IRGC is the one determining policies and influence in Iran.
Now, after the defeat of ISIS, the Iranian parliament is considering a proposal to spend nearly $500 million to strengthen the security and expand the missile program, which will raise the IRGC budget to $8 billion dollars, in addition to the already approved five-year development plan, which will ask the government to allocate at least 5% of the budget for defense, mainly the development of the multi-dimensional missile systems.
The Arab region had almost become under the control of Iranian, Turkish and Israeli forces. Now, the main obstacle that Iran will face is not the US, but Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It is crucial for Arabs to affirm that they are the owners of the land and it is necessary for Saudi Arabia to carry on what it is already doing. With all due respect for all Arab countries, Saudi Arabia is the only country that can frighten Iran!
An Iranian military expert living outside Iran said “the extra money could probably be spent on the long-awaited missile (Ya Ali), delayed till now due to the lack of funds”. “The parliament’s rush to draft the project to speed the missile program reflects the level of insecurity felt by Tehran from its southern neighbors, with whom the administration of President Donald Trump is cooperating,” he added.
The United States considers the increased activity onthe Iranian missile program s a threat to regional stability.
The chairman of French oil company Total, Patrick Pouyanné, admitted last April that Iran’s unresolved banking challenges were an obstacle to Total’s investment. The reluctance of international banks to provide financing, or facilitate the repeated transactions that are necessary for the daily operations in the country, will push Total to make a special effort and find a “solution on its own.” Pouyanné revealed that Total is testing a new banking mechanism to transfer money from and into Iran in an appropriate way.
According to bankers, this means that a medium-sized French bank may have set up a channel for Total to transfer funds to Iran, without involving US personnel or US dollars, and thus avoided the so-called “United States Association” dealing with banks .
This also means that Total is ready to work with the IRGC, which controls many sectors, most notably the oil sector. It is worth noting that Total decided to move forward because the company will not start receiving revenues before 2021 and it has committed itself to the first gas that will be distributed in the large domestic market in Iran. The first reaction from the radical Kayhan newspaper was that it was the government’s reward for French betrayal.
Rouhani has said recently: “At the time of Ahmadinejad, large portions of the economy were placed under the control of the military and security apparatuses under the pretext of privatization”; he was pointing at the IRGC and describing these entities as an “armed government,” admitting that the private sector could not compete with it. “We have handed over part of the economy controlled by the unarmed government to an armed government,” he said.
The Supreme leader’s followers had launched an attack against Rouhani saying: “We have the right now to consider that when the president says that military institutions should not have anything to do with politics and economy, he is coordinating with the enemy to impose sanctions on the IRGC.”
Domestic political differences
Political differences in Iran are increasing; Rouhani will face marginalization. The Revolutionary Guards are letting Rouhani drown since he has no power. The IRGC is controlling Iran’s economy and politics and is looking to build a 2000-mile corridor to the Mediterranean. The Iranian leadership aspires to restore the Persian Empire, but this corridor has many obstacles as it is surrounded by many Sunni Arabs who are opposed to Iran.
After striking Iraq and Syria, Iran felt that there is an opportunity. Hence, it waged a revolution against Saudi Arabia. The Arab region had almost become under the control of Iranian, Turkish and Israeli forces. Now, the main obstacle that Iran will face is not the US, but Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It is crucial for Arabs to affirm that they are the owners of the land and it is necessary for Saudi Arabia to carry on what it is already doing. With all due respect for all Arab countries, Saudi Arabia is the only country that can frighten Iran!
:: Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.