IRNA – Being a region full of complexities, the Middle East has been facing a string of crises. The rise of Daesh in Iraq and Syria followed by the Qatar blockade, fueling sectarian tensions, the invasion of Yemen, the flood of US arms to the Middle East and the recent Lebanese crisis are only a few instances in which Saudi Arabia’s involvement is discernible.
Apparently, Saudi Arabia is now facing the consequences of its insanity and the conspiracies it has been fomenting in the Middle East as the crisis has spilled over to its own territory, with the incarceration of some princes of Al Saud.
On a daily basis, Iran is being wrongly accused by Riyadh of committing various crimes, from being responsible for Saad Hariri’s resignation and the Houthi’s missile attacks on Saudi Arabia to impacting a variety of groups in the Middle East. Based on these claims, two assumptions can be made:
1) Iran is an influential country in the Middle East, with the ability to penetrate and influence the region. Given the veracity of this assumption, these question can be raised: (a) If Iran is an influential player in the region, why do other states, including Saudi Arabia, refrain from having minimum cooperation with Tehran? (b) Why does Riyadh refuse to hold talks with Iran?
Saudi authorities have rejected the proposed scheme by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, which offers “dialogue among five Arab countries plus Iran.”
2) Iran is not an influential country. If Iran is not an influential regional player, the question is: Why do some players threaten and pressure Tehran?
Iran has repeatedly been unjustly blamed by some states in order to distract public opinion from the truth.
The reality is that Iran does not have an influential role in the creation of crises in the region and does not seek to become engaged in such activities. The country, however, plays an influential role in resolving regional crises and does so because those crises have been triggered to harm Tehran’s allies.
Without its petrodollars, Saudi Arabia would be nothing but an unreliable and disloyal ally for the West. The miracle made by the Arab state’s petrodollars, however, has convinced some Western nations to pursue Riyadh’s agenda to blame Iran. In reality, the Saudi government has set up a dictatorship in which citizens have never ever seen a ballot box. Confining Iran, a powerful country in the Middle East, would lead to the creation of a power void, which would consequently be filled with the ideology of Wahhabism.
Money and ideology are two key and stimulating elements in the Middle East.
Moneywise, during the time Iran was under the pressure of the so-called “crippling [Western] sanctions” and economic depression, it was claimed that the country was in the backdrop of all crises and is dealing a blow to the Middle East. Now that some of the sanctions have been removed, the same accusations are still being leveled at Iran. It appears as if the mere act of repeating the same set of complaints, and not presenting proof, is important to those who keep complaining assertively.
In terms of ideology, all Iran is requesting is merely a chair around the table of Islamic schools of thought, to share its ideas with others. The country’s ideology is different from that which Saudi Arabia has interpreted and promoted in the West during the past decade, in which a rift has developed between Iran and the West over the Middle Eastern state’s nuclear issue.
The proposal of ‘discourse among ideologies’ has been rejected by Saudi Arabia. Contrary to that of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s ideology has neither led to the formation of brutal groups whose sole daily adventure has been butchery, nor has it been accompanied with any kind of fury.
Western countries’ involvement in shaping a destabilized Middle East is not minimal as, in the last four decades, the West has constantly been consulting with the leaders of anti-Iran countries that have been spreading “anti-Iran ideologies”. Hence, “anti-Iran phrases” have precipitated in the West. But the West should stop relishing such outdated and wrong ideas and start to judge Iran fairly.
The September 11 attacks provided the US with a perfect excuse to attack Afghanistan and Iraq.
Over the course of time, however, it became clear that Saudi Arabia had been responsible for those acts of terror. This came as the US remained silent and refrained from blaming the real culprit in the tragic event. For Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it would be a dream to make others see his country as a regional hegemonic power.
As a hipster, perhaps, the new crown prince maintains that creating crises in rival countries is plain sailing, on the one hand, and the proper way to weaken them, on the other hand. Saudi policymakers seek to kill three birds, simultaneously, with one stone: (1) Internally, they intend to quench the greedy appetite for Wahhabi ideology, in which the main goal is to back the government’s ideologically; (2) Regionally, they plan to trap neighboring rival countries; and (3) Internationally, they want to present themselves as a credible state on which transregional powers can rely.
The amalgamation of these goals will lead to a “destabilized Middle East”.
Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s goals are: (1) Creating challenges in the region; (2) Imposing costs on neighbors; (3) Desecrating credible states; (4) Destabilizing stable countries; (5) Pursuing a policy of warmongering, as in Yemen; and (6) Threatening rivals.
Iran is not a suitable rival for Saudi Arabia, to be pitted against the country in the competition for being identified as the ‘successful gullible’. Strategists should pit Israel against Saudi Arabia in this race, as the latter has opted to exchange Iran for Israel, thus creating a real crisis. Using Saudi Arabia as a cheap instrument, Israel succeeded in distracting the international community’s attention by refraining from honoring and carrying out the global obligation arising from the two-state solution, the framework of which is set out in UN resolutions on the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”.
Israel was a marginalized regime among Muslim countries in the Middle East but during Saudi Arabia’s rampage, Tel Aviv managed to build up an alliance with the Arab state. By joining this alliance, Riyadh has preferred to cooperate with an assertive and arrogant state which seeks to establish a territory stretching from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq. Saudi Arabia is, therefore, committing a suicide attack instead of managing the crisis.
*Mehrdad Pahlavani is an Asia analyst.