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Iran and Israel: the Escalation Continues - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A popular Arab proverb says, “Although you want to target the elephant, all you are doing is stabbing its shadow.” This is applicable to the escalating media battle between Iran and Israel and it indicates that the region is on the threshold of a new war.

Today, the Iranians and Israelis are issuing statements on precise military details, especially the latter, which signifies the strong likelihood of a military strike against Iran. For example, recently, the former Mossad director told the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ that the worst possible scenario would be if Iran possessed nuclear weapons within a year because the time left for confrontation would become increasingly shorter.

With Israel intensifying its threats on Iran and with the escalation of the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, we find that instead of threatening Israel back, Iran is directing its threats on to the Gulf region and its states. And instead of flexing its military might, Iran is brandishing its allies in the Arab world, particularly Lebanon and Palestine!

Substantiating the threat against the Gulf States, we find the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Mohammad al Jaafari, stating in the Iranian daily ‘Jamejam’ that, “If there were a confrontation between us and an enemy from outside of the region, then the parameters of the confrontation will certainly include oil.” And just like that with utmost candor – even if the attack was by Israel!

What Tehran is subjecting the Gulf States to can only be described as political blackmail. Iran wants the neighboring states to remain silent about its desire to possess nuclear weapons so that it may build a formidable military power that would enable it to impose control over the Arab and regional states – and it wants to achieve all that with the consent of and behind the cover of the Arabs themselves.

And in the event of the international community or Israel attempting to prevent this, Iran’s response is to directly threaten the Gulf States and their security and sources of stability. As such, the gravity of maintaining a neutral position in the face of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons has become the same as taking a stand against the Gulf countries and the Arab world.

All signs indicate Iran’s hostile attitude towards the Arab states – not to mention that it deals with them with a blatant superiority so that the Gulf and Arab countries have become playing cards or hostages to Tehran, and this is what we have repeatedly been warning of.

Even when Iran threatens Israel with retaliating on its territory; it does that through the Iranian Hezbollah in Lebanon and via Hamas – not through Tehran’s long-range missiles that it takes pride in. The Iranian threat to use Hezbollah and Hamas are proof that Iran’s sole reason for investing in these movements was for its own security, contrary to the propaganda that has deceived many in the Arab world that upholds that Iran is keen to support the Palestinian cause and to liberate the Arab territories.

The Iranian statements reveal the truth behind Iran’s view of the Gulf States, in addition to the danger of its agents in our countries, since it has become clear that the battles fought by the movements affiliated to Iran in our countries are not our battles as some have been fooled into believing, but rather battles fought to defend Tehran’s ambitions and accounts.

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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