Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

American Withdrawal and the Second Stage | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

In preparation for the American withdrawal from Iraq, activity is in full swing to fill the imminent vacuum in Baghdad.

The Iranians are not the only ones who are preparing for this; the Syrians are also getting ready. A recent report in the New York Times details Syria’s intentions towards Baghdad.

Iran has, in fact, been present in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. As for Syria, it has been one of the disrupters of the Iraqi project however from afar. Nevertheless, what is new today is Damascus’s endeavour to reorganise the Baathist rather than the Sunni elements as is commonly believed, in order to ensure Syrian influence in Iraq.

In his interview with the BBC, the Syrian President stated that his country has influence over Lebanon; an influence that he described as positive. We all know that this is not true. This is the problem with Syria and Iran before it. The intervention of both countries can never be positive. Syria and Iran are two models that are not in accord with the future. Hence, it is from here that the Arab world’s problem arises since the two key political players today are Iran and Syria.

Syria wants the Golan Heights without war and wants to win America over without having to adopt a moderate approach or refrain from interfering in Lebanon or Iraq. At the same time it denounces other Arab countries as traitors because of their relationship with Washington. Meanwhile, President Bashar Assad himself stated in a recent interview that Washington must be a third party to ensure peace with Tel Aviv.

It is for this reason that Damascus, like Iran, is playing the Hamas card, a movement that is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, while it suppresses the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Damascus is also playing the Shia Hezbollah card in Lebanon. It is now weaving the web for the Baath party of Iraq under the “Sunni” umbrella in Baghdad, in the same way that Iran stifles the Sunnis of Iran but allies with Hamas!

Iran, by imposing fait accompli or reaching an agreement with the United States, wants to dominate the Arab world and to resume exporting the Islamic revolution.

All this is taking place in light of what can be mildly described as a decline in Arab action towards Tehran and Damascus and the deteriorating Iraqi situation. This is not to belittle Tehran or Damascus or control over Iraq but rather to impose stability on the region and prevent those who seek to abuse from tampering with Arab countries and disrupting development projects, and to be free from Iranian influence and Syrian tampering.

This is the main problem. America will leave the region and we will find ourselves opening a new chapter that is no better than where we are today. After the devouring of Iraq and Lebanon at the hands of Iran and Syria, the Gulf region will be under the siege of the Islamic revolution and under pressure from Syrian meddling. In this case, we could only welcome the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, which will launch their own branches in many Arab countries under Iranian sponsorship and Syrian support.

It is then that we will see many Khaled Meshaals, Hassan Nasrallahs, Rustum Ghazalis and corps, the names of which will begin with “Jerusalem”, and we do not know where this will all end. Therefore, in light of the American exit and the lack of Arab activity, the region will witness its second stage of downfall; however, this time, it will be in the hands of Tehran and Damascus. As the popular saying goes: with friends like these, who needs enemies?