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What about the US arming Iran? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is difficult to understand the US policy in our region. The Obama administration refuses to arm the Syrian rebels, despite all the crimes being committed by al-Assad, for fear of these weapons falling into the “wrong hands”, yet Washington does not seem to be concerned about arming the Iraqi regime, an ally of Iran, nor does it fear the possibility of these weapons or related military intelligence reaching Tehran!

Washington rejects arming the Syrian rebels on the grounds that it fears such weapons falling into the hands of jihadists or potential terrorists, under the pretext that this would put the security of the entire region at risk, at least according to what the Americans say. However, at the same time, Washington has announced a huge project to arm the current Iraqi regime, which the US is well aware is under the full control of Iran. So why doesn’t America fear these weapons, or related intelligence, falling into the hands of Iran, a state that threatens US interests as a whole in the region, especially with regards to the nuclear weapons issue? The current US administration is aware, or at least we assume so, that Baghdad today is an important arena for the Iranians. Tehran exploits Iraq as one of the most important ports and facades to circumvent the international economic sanctions that have been imposed against it, and there are many US reports to indicate this. Iran also exploits Iraq to support the al-Assad regime in Syria, with money and arms, and even by sending officers and more. So how can America arm the current Iraqi regime, with the most powerful types of advanced weaponry, when it is well known that these weapons can be obtained by the Iranians whenever they want them? Meanwhile, the US is refusing to provide limited amounts of quality weaponry to the Syrian rebels, who are confronting a repressive and brutal regime that has not hesitated to use its air force and heavy weaponry against them. The duplicity is even more pertinent given that the Syrian rebels remained committed to a peaceful revolution for a considerable amount of time, only taking up arms when forced to by the sheer volume of the al-Assad regime’s violence, fueled by Russian and Iranian support!

The perplexities inherent in the US stance do not stop here; Washington is also protesting the French proposal to recognize a provisional government in Syria, under the pretext that such a proposal is hasty and we must wait until the Syrian opposition unites in order to ensure that all Syrian components are represented and that no groups, such as the Alawites or the Syrian Baathists, are excluded. This is a realistic and credible demand, and it would help to guarantee the future of the Syrian state and society, but observers will wonder why Washington is stipulating this demand in Syria, whilst it continues to support the current regime in Iraq? Nouri al-Maliki has persisted with the de-Baathification of Iraq – to the point that this policy extends even to the deceased – and also continues to pursue Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, while at the same time the Iraqi Prime Minister is defending the Baathist regime in Syria! Why does America demand that no party or group should be excluded in Syria, whilst it remains silent about the case of al-Maliki in Iraq? Why is the US refusing to arm the Syrian rebels for fear of these weapons falling into the wrong hands, whilst it is not concerned about American weapons sold to Iraq reaching the Iranian regime?

There are many worthy questions, but will Washington answer us with regards to these contradictions, or does the US administration not care about the extent of its double standards in the region, and what is happening in Syria specifically?

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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