Iran’s Strate­gic poli­cies to­ward Arab worlds

Tehran Times - - ANALYSIS & INTERVIEW - By Sa­jad Abedi

TEHRAN — Iran’s re­la­tions with Arab coun­tries have long been sub­ject to change, ten­sion, cri­sis, even war. Prior to the vic­tory of the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion of Iran, re­la­tions with Arab coun­tries, es­pe­cially their neigh­bors and, in par­tic­u­lar, Iraq, were based on threat in­di­ca­tors. Iran was di­rectly in the US-led West­ern-style camp and was part of the West­ern al­liance sys­tem against the Soviet Union in the divi­sion of the Cold War, while Iraq in the East Camp Was led by the Soviet Union. Iran was at that time a re­gional mis­sion that was coun­ter­bal­anced by the ex­pan­sion of the Soviet Union’s in­flu­ence to the south, in con­trast to Iraq, ad­vo­cat­ing the ex­pan­sion of Soviet in­flu­ence in the re­gion.

For this rea­son, there was a very se­ri­ous re­gional ri­valry be­tween Tehran and Bagh­dad, some­times tense, cri­sis, and even bor­der clashes. This equa­tion con­tin­ued un­til the vic­tory of the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion. With the vic­tory of the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion, the geopol­i­tics of the re­gion have changed, which West­ern strate­gists called it fun­da­men­tal changes. But did the ten­sion and cri­sis in Iran’s re­la­tions with Arab coun­tries end? An­swer: no. The na­ture of the com­pe­ti­tion has changed, and more Arab coun­tries were drawn into the ranks of Iran. The 8-year Iraqi im­posed war and the Arab League’s quest for the regime of Sad­dam Hus­sein, with the ex­cep­tion of the three Arab League coun­tries, was the best sign of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The end of the im­posed war, as well as the col­lapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, also failed to change the equa­tion in Iran’s re­la­tions with Arab coun­tries. Since then, due to the lack of a bal­ance of power in the Arab world with na­tion­al­ist ten­den­cies, the ri­valry be­tween Iran and Arab coun­tries has shifted from com­pe­ti­tion based on mem­ber­ship in world power camps to com­pet­ing for re­gional af­fairs and re­li­gious af­fairs.

Iran con­tin­ued to ex­pand its spir­i­tual in­flu­ence in the re­gion with the strat­egy of fight­ing Zion­ism, and pow­er­ful Arab states such as Saudi Ara­bia used all their ef­forts to fight Iran’s in­flu­ence to main­tain their re­gional sta­tus. The oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq by the United States in 2003 not only did not end this sit­u­a­tion but al­lowed Iran, on the one hand, to bring the el­e­ment of ge­o­graph­i­cal in­te­gra­tion with the Eastern Mediter­ranean to the his­tor­i­cal Pales­tinian bor­ders and, on the other hand, Iran’s main chal­lenger Which led Saudi Ara­bia to es­tab­lish re­gional and trans-re­gional unions to counter the ex­pan­sion of Ira­nian in­flu­ence.

The main ques­tion of such an es­ti­mate whether this sit­u­a­tion is sus­tain­able? An­swer: no. The next and im­por­tant ques­tion, if this sit­u­a­tion is vi­able, what is the right so­lu­tion? This es­ti­mate at­tempts to an­swer this key ques­tion.

1. The num­ber of mem­ber states of the Arab League is 22, with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 240 mil­lion. The ge­og­ra­phy of the Arab world ex­tends from south­west Asia to North Africa. About half of the Arab coun­tries are in Asia and the other half on the African con­ti­nent. But about 70% of the to­tal Arab pop­u­la­tion lives in coun­tries that are on the African con­ti­nent.

2. The Arab world is not po­lit­i­cally whole and the di­ver­sity of regimes and po­lit­i­cal ten­den­cies, as well as their in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, is abun­dantly based on uni­ver­sal ar­ro­gance.

3. The Arab World Com­pre­hen­sive Syl­labus has a very lim­ited func­tion un­der the name of the Arab League, and de­spite its long his­tory (more than half a cen­tury), it has suf­fered from lack of co­he­sion and al­liance. The unity be­tween the Arab coun­tries, with the ex­cep­tion of the Pales­tinian is­sue, has not been sus­tained in any of the re­gional and global af­fairs.

4. About 90 per­cent of the wealth of Arab coun­tries is ac­cu­mu­lated among 10 per­cent of the Arab pop­u­la­tion, and many Arab coun­tries are suf­fer­ing from chronic poverty.

5. Be­fore the US oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq in

2003 and be­fore the Arab Spring wave, since

2010, four Arab coun­tries had a high po­lit­i­cal weight, ranked re­spec­tively Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Ara­bia. The oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq in

2003 and the Arab Spring in 2010 de­stroyed the strength of the Arab world, and Egypt, Iraq and Syria, re­spec­tively, left the re­gional in­flu­ence, and Saudi Ara­bia alone has not been hit by the cri­sis.

6. The de­vel­op­ments in the Arab world were due to the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing el­e­ment of the threat to Iran. But it di­vided re­gional com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Iran and Saudi Ara­bia. As a re­sult of ten­sion and cri­sis in the re­la­tions be­tween Tehran and Riyadh, the ten­sions be­tween the two un­tapped forces of the re­gion were summed up.

7. The Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran ex­panded its re­gional scope by ex­pand­ing the scope of re­gional in­flu­ence as a re­sult of a vac­uum of power fol­low­ing the in­va­sion of Iraq and the Arab Spring phe­nom­e­non. On the one hand, there was a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in Syria and aroused Is­raeli sen­si­tiv­ity, and on the other hand, in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, Ye­men, in the tra­di­tional Saudi realm, through the spir­i­tual sup­port of the Houthis, and trig­gered Riyadh’s se­cu­rity sus­cep­ti­bil­ity. As a re­sult, two re­gional pow­ers, Is­rael and Saudi Ara­bia, turned to a rel­a­tively frag­ile united Al­liance to counter re­gional in­flu­ence in Iran.

8. In ad­di­tion to the con­ser­va­tive Arab regimes, na­tion­al­ist regimes like Egypt and Al­ge­ria, as well as the po­lit­i­cal elites of the Arab world, see the wide­spread wave of re­gional in­flu­ence in Iran.

So­lu­tions for re­duc­ing re­gional ten­sions

In three lev­els, the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran can or­ga­nize its re­la­tions with the Arab world on the ba­sis of dé­tente:

First level as­sum­ing the Mid­dle East to be a small replica of the uni­verse, the divi­sion of cir­cles and do­mains of in­flu­ence among the great pow­ers is an in­evitable ne­ces­sity. Iran and Saudi Ara­bia, as the two great re­gional pow­ers, must reach agree­ment on the divi­sion of the do­mains of in­flu­ence. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran. Oth­er­wise, the com­bined power of Saudi Ara­bia and Is­rael in the re­gion, con­sid­er­ing the global stature of th­ese two pow­ers, makes it dif­fi­cult and costly to con­tinue the cur­rent re­gional ri­valry in Iran. Iran should avoid the col­lapse of Saudi Ara­bia on the lap of Is­rael and the com­bi­na­tion of their power.

The un­writ­ten agree­ment be­tween Iran and Saudi Ara­bia over the res­o­lu­tion of the Le­banese pres­i­den­tial cri­sis over the past few months is a good ex­am­ple of con­tin­u­ing the re­gional un­der­stand­ing and re­mov­ing the cir­cles of in­flu­ence from Is­rael’s ac­cess. Riyadh’s at­tempt to cre­ate a pseudo-NATO or­ga­ni­za­tion in the Mid­dle East through the mo­bi­liza­tion of 17 Arab and Is­lamic coun­tries that took place in the re­cent trip of Don­ald Trump to Riyadh and the con­clu­sion of un­prece­dented $ 110 bil­lion worth of weapons con­tracts meant noth­ing but the Saudi cam­paign to cre­ate a re­gional front for coun­ter­ing Iran. Sec­ond level Ex­tend­ing Iran’s pub­lic diplo­macy by re­duc­ing travel reg­u­la­tions for Arab ci­ti­zens in the form of tourism is vi­tal. This has pos­i­tive re­sults in Iraqi na­tion­als de­spite the psy­cho­log­i­cal roots of the im­posed war. Now, ac­cord­ing to Tehran’s cur­rent sta­tis­tics, the med­i­cal treat­ment cen­ter for Iraqi ci­ti­zens has be­come, and Iran will soon sur­pass Turkey. The spread of Arab na­tion­als to Iran and the cre­ation of re­li­gious and re­li­gious blend­ing, as well as the ob­ser­va­tion of Iran’s progress, on the one hand, dis­rupt Iran’s face in the re­gion, and, on the other hand, pre­vent mod­er­ate Arab regimes from en­ter­ing Iran’s re­gional ri­vals Arde­bil. . The eco­nomic ben­e­fits of ex­pand­ing the travel busi­ness of Arab ci­ti­zens to Iran are very nu­mer­ous in their place.

Third level Iran’s re­la­tions with the for­mal in­sti­tu­tions of the Arab world, es­pe­cially the Arab League, which is head­quar­tered in Egypt, should be ex­panded. Al­though it was men­tioned above, the Arab League has a very low ef­fi­ciency, but it is note­wor­thy that the ci­ti­zens of the Arab coun­tries, in terms of eth­nic in­tol­er­ance, have sim­i­lar in­sti­tu­tions The Arab League sup­ports it and con­sid­ers it the ba­sis of the Arab Ummah.

The un­writ­ten agree­ment be­tween Iran and Saudi Ara­bia over the res­o­lu­tion of the Le­banese pres­i­den­tial cri­sis over the past few months is a good ex­am­ple of con­tin­u­ing the re­gional un­der­stand­ing and re­mov­ing the cir­cles of in­flu­ence from Is­rael’s ac­cess.

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