Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Has Iran hastened the war? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Wars are preceded by talk, and the statements – or the war of words – between Iran and the West and Israel is now wide open. We now see Tehran involving all the regional countries in this war of words, which may quickly develop into a military confrontation, after Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz should there be any international embargo on its oil. The threat to close the Strait of Hormuz is akin to a declaration of war, not just against the Gulf States, but against the entire world, as it represents a threat to the global economy, especially as nearly 40 percent of all sea-borne traded oil passes through the Strait. This does not mean that Iran has hastened the expected war, but rather it has granted this war legitimacy and acceptance in the eyes of the international community. This is because threatening the global economy by targeting oil is more dangerous and hazardous than the targeting of the [twin] towers in New York with regards to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For should this happen, Israel will find itself at the center of an unprecedented international coalition to break the bones of this reckless regime in Iran.

The Iranian statements threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz does not just mean that the Iranian regime is in a corner, but it also exposes the mentality that is in charge of the situation in Tehran; this is a mentality of extortion and threats, and dealing with the Gulf States as if they are hostages being held by Tehran. If the mullahs of Iran are negotiating with the West – whenever Tehran finds itself facing a difficult situation with regards to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] or any other international organization – by threatening to set fire to the Arab Gulf and destroy their vital interests there, then how will Iran deal with our regional countries, particularly the Gulf States, should Tehran become a nuclear power? What I mean to say here, simply speaking, is that all the cards in Iran’s hands are destructive or threatening, particularly with regards to the Gulf, so how will Tehran behave if it becomes a nuclear state?

Some are betting that Iran acquiring nuclear arms will guide the country to become more sensible and rational, however this is nothing more than an over-simplification; for if Iran is exploiting religion, and becoming increasingly unbalanced today, how will it act after it has drunk from the cup of nuclear power? The danger represented by a nuclear Iran, is not just in its lack of rationality, but also in its technical and technological weakness. Iran is no Japan or Europe, who themselves stood helpless before the Chernobyl reactor leak, or the Japanese [Fukushima] reactor leak following the recent tsunami. Indeed, we have seen how Iran was unable to even deal with the [Stuxnet] computer worm, which attacked and incapacitated Iran’s nuclear project earlier this year. Therefore, the fear here is not just from the recklessness of Iranian policy [should it acquire nuclear arms], but also its lack of technical and technological capability!

Therefore, Iran’s fiery rhetoric today may hasten the outbreak of a coming war, whilst Tehran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz will convince the international community of the legitimacy of breaking the bones of the Iranian regime, particularly as Tehran’s hands are interfering in many areas of our region. Indeed Iran is responsible for complicating the entire situation, and threatening the stability of our region as a whole, whether we are talking about the situation in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, or the Gulf. Therefore, the question that must be asked here is: has Tehran hastened this war that has long been talked about?

Anything is possible; however what is strange is the Gulf silence in this regard, whether diplomatically or in the media, particularly as Iran is threatening one of the Gulf’s most important interests, namely oil.