Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran: a series of blows | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Our region has witnessed, and is witnessing, a series of events that show that Tehran is now receiving blow after blow, rather than receiving any kind of deal! Here we see Baghdad and Beirut moving to address the comments issued by the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, who said that Lebanon and Iraq are within the area of Iranian influence, thus forcing Tehran to issue and official denial of Suleimani’s remarks. In spite of the Iranian denials, on more than one level, Iraq issued a statement in angry protest, and Lebanon also rose up against Iran. These two stances, Iraqi and Lebanese, can be considered themselves to be a blow to Tehran.

As for internationally, Tehran has said publicly that the West must acknowledge it has a role to play in the region, especially after it helped America in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the Iranian President himself has already said against the backdrop of negotiations around Iran’s nuclear program. However, Tehran has found itself reeling from the West’s sanctions that have been imposed, and those that will be imposed, whether targeting the oil industry or the central bank. The sanctions have led to the Iranian currency being devalued by half. When Tehran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, and threatened the Gulf States, the international response came quickly, with US President Barack Obama warning the Iranian Supreme Leader, and ignoring [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad, whilst American and European warships moved into the waters of the Arabian Gulf, in a clear display of strength. Despite all this, Tehran stood by idly and simply received another blow in the same week.

As for the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has taught Iran a lesson in politics, and how to operate professionally. The Arabs have agreed, unanimously, on an Arab initiative similar to that proposed for Yemen, primarily Saudi driven, which requires, at the end of the day, the departure from power of one of Tehran’s allies, Bashar al-Assad. The Arab initiative will be under the supervision of the Security Council, and it has received an Arab consensus, even from Iraq, an ally of Tehran, whilst Lebanon did not dare to object, but rather used “fluid” diplomacy and announced that it was distancing itself.

Here it is important to tell the interesting story of what took place at the Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo. During that meeting, the Lebanese Foreign Minister discussed every term of the new Arab initiative towards Syria, and when it came to the vote; the minister declared that he was distancing himself, at which point Prince Saud al-Faisal said to him: “Why waste our time by discussing each item when you are abstaining from voting?” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim intervened by saying “he’s not abstaining your Highness, he’s distancing himself”, to which Prince Saud replied “as well?!”

The initiative itself is another blow to the Iranian regime, again in the same week. This is not to mention of course that Tehran has received another blow in Iraq, where its ally, Nuri al-Maliki, has become a lame duck, like the government of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Thus we are now hearing about a meeting between the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq and Iyad Allawi! This of course is in addition to the case of Iran in Bahrain.

Thus, Iran’s foolishness has caused it to receive blow after blow, rather than receive any sort of deal. We must remember that God does not gloat!