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America: Moving the Pawn to Free the Bishop - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Like a game of chess, America moved the pawn to free the bishop in the case of Iran, as Washington decided to scrap plans to build an anti-missile shield in Europe. This immediately suggests that Washington has begun to neutralize Russia with regards to Iran and to build an alliance of international stances against the Iranian nuclear file.

This move, which was announced by US President Barack Obama on Thursday, followed the issuing of a statement from Russia that must be given attention; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week that sanctions on Iran as a result of its nuclear file “are not very effective on the whole, but sometimes you have to embark on sanctions and they can be right.”

Therefore, today, we are facing escalation in our region that could lead to major events. On one hand, Israeli movement, whether in Europe or Moscow, is in full swing to prevent Iran from reaching its nuclear goals and before that there was talk about the ten-hour disappearance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the other hand, we are facing Iran’s supporters in the region who move in the interest of Tehran at the expense of the region and its causes, leaving behind wars and crises for us. So as much as we are facing the possibility that the Palestinian crisis will be settled through the pressure that is being put on Iran, the Gaza front is a likely place for an upcoming war between Hamas and Israel.

There is also the situation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah’s actions might lead to a pre-emptive war instigated by Iran in order to preoccupy Israel, which might make a bad situation worse in Lebanon. On top of all that, [there is] Syrian confusion about the situation of a region where the balance of power is likely to be toppled, as Syria’s power is usually based on [causing] disruption and not on effective participation in any cause. On the other hand there is a new, diplomatic front that has opened up to Damascus i.e. Iraq, which is going to escalate.

Therefore, with one American decision to scrap plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe, our region might have returned to aggravation and anticipation about what might happen to Iran. It is true that America is using its strong cards and is playing a game of interests with Moscow, but there is also the unknown Israeli game as Israel is always acting based on the motive of security.

The tense internal situation in Iran can be added to everything that has been mentioned above about reversing the rules of the game. The internal situation in Iran shows that the division is deeper than it seems and than what is being said. The comments of the Supreme Guide indicate weakness rather than strength and Ahmadinejad’s stataments and those of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards reflect an internal military coup in Iran, signifying a popular division, in the same way that we are seeing a division within the religious elite let alone the political elite.

Finally, America’s decision to abandon its plans to build an anti-missile shield has a number of dimensions; through this decision Obama has actually distanced himself from the foreign policies of former US President George W. Bush, he has saved his country a large sum of money, and has taken an important step towards Moscow thus depriving Tehran of one of its pretexts.

It seems that the next step will be the most important…let’s watch and see.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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