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Washington Prepares as Iran Warns the Gulf - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kuwait had declared its willingness to confront the hazards of the imminent war on Iran; Iran itself demanded signed agreements from its Gulf neighbors that state that they would not participate or assist in any American war against Iran and had explicitly warned the countries of the Gulf. In this regards, Iran meant Qatar where the American military command center is based and from which the United States runs its operations in Iraq and the Gulf, as the case had been when the US launched its wars on Afghanistan and Iraq from Qatar. As for the United States, it had already mobilized two fleets by the Iranian coast and a French marine fleet had recently entered the coast accompanied by a nuclear submarine though French officials stress that the military visit is routine.

This means that we are facing a real scene of military operations and not an act of propaganda. This is why the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, had warned the Iranian President Ahmadinejad when he visited him in Riyadh to take these threats seriously. This causes us to wonder if the Iranians really cannot understand what is happening near their waters.

Unfortunately, the behavior of the Iranians would indicate that they do not understand what is happening, as shown by the escalation of the issue of nuclear enrichment and the latest statements by President Ahmadinejad, which he delivered in a somewhat odd atmosphere that featured an orchestra of an Iranian concert. There are some wise leaders in the Iranian administration such as former President Hashemi Rafsanjani who had stabilized relations. He had publicly warned his political colleagues not to push issues to the level of confrontation. He felt that the Americans want a war to destroy Iran, and Tehran should not fall into this trap.

The behavior of Ahmadinejad does not seem that much different to that of Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war. He also delivered speeches on every occasion in which he would state that the Americans do not dare wage a war against him because the world would not allow such action and because demonstrations had crowded the streets or because opponents of the American President in Washington declared their rejection of a military solution and other ignorant calculations of American political affairs which led to the fall of Saddam’s regime in only two weeks.

All the military analyses indicate that Washington is capable of waging another large-scale war in the region, despite its involvement in Iraq. We had already heard from General Kimmitt before leaving the Gulf that the United States has not yet used its air force to strike to its full potential because most of the operations in Iraq are on the ground. Certainly, Americans are capable of destroying Iranian power without the need to involve itself in another terrestrial invasion.

The inexplicable question is why the Iranian leadership risks the chance of reaching that stage of confrontation, knowing in advance that it would lose a lot. Iran suffered long enough from isolation, blockade and domestic deficiency to the extent that it now imports oil from abroad. Is it playing the game of brinkmanship in hope of winning better concessions in nuclear and political negotiations, particularly in Iraq?

We do not know but it seems that Iran will lose international support due to its insistence on developing its nuclear capability. This is clear since China and Russia had voted against Iran in the Security Council. This will certainly facilitate a “military solution” from which we will all suffer and especially Iran itself.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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