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Salehi and Abu Jaber's Principle! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I asked a senior source from the Gulf about the Gulf and Iran. I said you attack them and they attack you but the [state] visits have continued to take place, the most recent of which was of course the Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Qatar, the UAE and Oman.

The official smiled and said, “Everything happens according to the principle of Abu Jaber (Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem): they lie to us and we lie to them!” The WikiLeaks documents revealed that the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem described his country’s relationship with Iran as one in which “they lie to us and we lie to them.” This is true; on each of his stops, the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi – who as soon as he reached his position said he hopes to apply the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s “zero problems” theory – said that he discussed the presence of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain. This is a blatant lie, not because he did not discuss this issue but rather the lie is in the aim of his discussion.

The presence of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain has become a reality and the Bahrainis themselves are holding on to it; there is serious consideration as to the idea of the Peninsula Shield forces having a permanent base in Manama. Moreover, Bahrain is not an Iranian protectorate in order for Tehran to negotiate on it; it is a sovereign state and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council so it is Bahrain’s right, in accordance with conventions, to invite the Peninsula Shield forces on to its territories. All Salehi is trying to do is to save face in front of Iran’s allies, because Tehran’s hands are tied everywhere after it received a slap for crossing the line in Bahrain, and was unable to protect its followers.

The other issue, and further emphasis of the “they lie to us and we lie to them” principle, is that when the Gulf states receive Salehi and allow him to talk about Bahrain, they involve Iran without realizing it and the same goes for the Shia in Bahrain. [By allowing Salehi to talk about Bahrain], it implies that the Shia are followers of Iran, under the umbrella of the Iranian regime, rather than the national Bahraini umbrella. This is bad in both the short and long term for Bahrain’s Shia, and also for Iran. Moreover, Salehi’s manoeuvres and his focus on the Bahraini issue also aim to demonstrate that Iranian diplomacy is still in action, in other words it is a PR campaign inside Iran of course and also in order to cover up Iran’s dilemma in Syria. We have the Syrian regime continuing to oppress its citizens, continuing to kill even women, and the tanks turning into security patrols roaming the streets, whilst the Iranian regime remains silent and fails to mention civil rights, and in fact charges those civilians with treason. Some might be surprised by this and ask: if the Iranian regime sympathises with the Syrian regime why doesn’t Salehi pay a visit to support Damascus? There is information that states that Tehran actually made a request to visit [Syria] but Damascus refused, in fear that it might seem like the regime is strengthening itself with Iran against its own people. This is the last thing that the Syrian regime wants right now and this is another indicator of the crisis Iran finds itself in, as even its allies do not want to be seen with it now in public.

Therefore, it seems that the entire region, not only the Gulf, is dealing with Iran according to Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem’s “they lie to us and we lie to them” principle. However it is important for us to remember that lies have a short lifespan!

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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