Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Iranian President’s mistakes | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

The Iranian regime continues to send demagogic political messages to the outside world, although anyone who is aware of its inner dealings must know that “an Iranian carpet merchant is the best at buying and selling behind closed doors and in secret channels.”

The reason why I’m bringing this issue up relates to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s recent statements in commemoration of Iranian Army Day.

In his zealous speech, the Iranian President focused on a set of issues, which he presented to the public as indisputable axioms, whilst in fact they all are based on fundamental mistakes.

The Iranian President’s first mistake was when he described his country’s army as “an army that has never been defeated.”

The truth, as we know from military history, is that there has never been an undefeated army. Even the military forces of the Security Council’s five great superpowers have all suffered past and present defeats in battles and wars, despite joining the nuclear club following World War II.

Ahmadinejad’s second mistake came when he said his country’s army is the most popular in the world. In fact, I do not know how the Iranian President came up with such a result with no research, statistical reports or scientific theories to support it.

As we know, the Iranian army gained no popularity when it entered into a fierce war with Iraq, or when it fuelled a sectarian war in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam, and now it is certainly wining no popularity by supporting the regime in Syria.

We have never seen the Iranian navy approaching the Israeli coast, but we have seen it deployed near the Strait of Hormuz. We have never seen Iranian weaponry in the hands of the Palestinian resistance, but we have seen it in the hands of Afghani fighting factions.

The third mistake in the Iranian President’s speech can be summarized in his style of address, which invoked a sense of superiority, arrogance and intimidation, when he spoke of Iran’s military force and threatened to cut off the hands of whoever dares to target his country.

Ahmadinejad did not mention any possibility of reconciliation with the UAE, with regards to the legal status of the disputable islands. He even added fuel to the fire when he visited said islands on the 11th April 2012, in a most provocative step to the sentiments of the Emirati people, and the Arabs in general.

I do not know whether this is the new Iranian style when it comes to negotiations, a style based on the principle of “terror and intimidation before reaching a settlement”, or whether we are simply facing the traditional theory of persistence, “to demolish the temple on everyone’s head”.

I do not know what cards exactly the Iranian regime is gambling with. Is it gambling on the economic sanctions imposed on it, its international reputation, the deplorable condition of its major ally in Damascus, its poor domestic economic performance, or on the deep disagreements between the Supreme Guide and the President?