The desire for war in Iran – Al Arabiya

The desire for war in Iran.

Does Iran wish to engage in war in the Gulf? We cannot give a decisive answer although all sorts of war drums are resonating in Tehran, and despite the ongoing preparations and military maneuvers by land, sea and air, the repeated announcements of new weapons and long range missiles and the development of the combat techniques.

But what is certain is that the Iranian leaders wish to try out military power in the Gulf, in light of the convergence of numerous factors pushing in that direction.

When the first Gulf war ended and Al-Khomeini was forced to stop the war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the Iranian authorities launched the largest campaign to develop their military machine on all levels while benefitting from the high oil prices. This allowed Iran to invest massive sums of money in this area, reaching the point of possibly achieving the dream of acquiring nuclear arms. In parallel to this general military mobilization, the Iranian authorities adopted an aggressive foreign policy relying on the principle of foreign conspiracy, injustice and the strategic rights in the Gulf. Such a policy does not only provide a domestic support to eliminate the opposition – as it happened with the Green Movement – but also seeks the legitimization of the acquisition and use of military strength.

As it is revealed by all the experiences throughout history, when a rising regional power enjoys excessive strength backed up by an aggressive policy, foreign war becomes an important option, especially in the absence of a democracy that might contain the fervent figures within the military institution. Iran’s current situation is emulating the scenario seen in Europe on the eve of the first and second world wars, as well as the one that was seen in Iraq prior to the war with Iran.

It is for these reasons that Iran might try out military power in the region, in addition to objective reasons related to the political circumstances prevailing over the Middle East.

For a very long time, the confrontation with Israel allowed Iran to vent out its strength through its allies. Now however, it has become difficult for Tehran to use this outlet, considering that the main concern of Hamas – the ally in the Gaza Strip – is to consecrate the truce with Israel not to engage in war with it, while Hezbollah – the other ally in Lebanon – and despite all the statements and announcements, has become restrained by the presence of UNIFIL in Lebanon and can no longer repeat the July 2006 war with ease. And if we were to take into consideration the Syrian preoccupation on the domestic arena, the immediate front with Israel seems prone to witness calm that will prevent Tehran from heading a major military confrontation.

With the retreat of the commotion over the Iranian nuclear file, the American threats to stage direct interference to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons have also retreated, or at least are no longer on the agenda on the short run.

It is maybe due to these reasons that Iran re-shifted its attention toward the Gulf front which it seemed to have relinquished for some time, especially during the stage that followed the reinstatement of the relations with the Arab Gulf countries upon the end of the war with Iraq.

After it was able to impose its own arrangements in Iraq based on the Shiite parties allied with it, Tehran believed it could repeat the same in the Kingdom of Bahrain that is still politically considered in Iran as being part of it, in light of the presence of Bahrainis who follow the Shiite sect. The attempt to exploit this Bahraini reality was confirmed by the developments seen during the recent crisis, especially in terms of the opposition’s rejection of all the official offers to engage in dialogue and its escalation of the demands which reached the point of requesting the establishment of an Islamic republic in Iranian fashion.

In any case, Tehran placed the Bahraini file on the top of its list of priorities. But regardless of the controversy surrounding its direct interference in Bahrain and the fact that it considered the demands of its Shiite supporters as being those of all the Bahraini citizens and of citizens in other Gulf states, Tehran adopted several concomitant forms of escalation. Indeed, it launched a preemptive attack through the letter it addressed to the United Nations, and in which it warned it will not stand idle vis-à-vis the entry of the Peninsula Shield Force to Bahrain. At the same time, it tried to impose its viewpoint over the affairs of the GCC states through the rejection of this step, and launched an unprecedented political campaign, especially against Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, all the statements and speeches in Iran stressed the necessity of interfering to confront the GCC policy in Bahrain. And while the Iranian diplomacy is merely alluding to interference by use of force, the leaders of the military institution are bluntly announcing they deem it necessary.

(Published in the London-based al-Hayat on April 20)

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One Comment on “The desire for war in Iran – Al Arabiya”

  1. […] in entirety at Joseph Wouk’s site. As Obama  weaken’s our ability to face an enemy Iran is beating war drums and the […]

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