By Iran Review
By Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh*
Recent developments in the Middle East have led to isolation of Saudi Arabia in the region and made it look like the odd one out. There are three major problems facing the Middle East today and Saudi Arabia is the main factor behind all three problems. The first problem is widespread violation of human rights and fighting against democracy seeking moves. The second problem is extensive support for terrorism, either in the form of financial and arms support, or in the political form. And the third problem is violation of other countries’ borders and foreign intervention in the region. Saudi Arabia is the number one party accused of being behind these three crisis fomenting factors in the Middle East and this country is now under mounting pressure from international community with regard to its crisis brewing measures and policies.
Therefore, the Saudi leaders are trying to make a new enemy, so as to reduce the pressure of accusations on their own country. Subsequently, as a country that has been pursuing Iranophobia during the past 12 years and has been promoting it incessantly, Riyadh has once more resorted to the same hackneyed project under the pretext of recent developments. Saudi Arabia’s goal is to instigate Iran to take a position against this country and in the next step, use its financial and political might to get some member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC] in line for countering Iran. Since Saudi Arabia enjoys necessary tools to influence other Arab countries, it may relatively succeed in this regard in the short term and form a coalition against Iran. However, in reality, Iran must also take countermeasures against Saudi Arabia in order to prevent Al Saud family from going on with its crisis fomenting projection technique.
Iran must take advantage of public diplomacy, because this will evoke reactions against Saudi Arabia with regard to the aforesaid three factors even from European countries. The insecurity created by Saudi Arabia has already found its way into Europe and leaders of Saudi Arabia are to blame for this insecure situation. Killing of the opposition figures in this country, especially the recent execution of top Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr proved total lack of foresight among Saudi officials. When it comes to such measures by Saudi Arabia, Iran must follow a policy of patience and waiting, because in the long term, Saudi Arabia cannot keep alive the self-proclaimed coalition among countries every one of which is already grappling with its own problems. Therefore, Iran should take advantage of the positive international atmosphere that has been surrounding Tehran following the agreement with the P5+1 group of countries over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear case in order to counter the negative regional policy of Saudi Arabia.
This must be the main strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran because everything that Saudi Arabia does in this regard is just a passive and suicidal measure. The overall course of regional developments is against Saudi Arabia and leaders of this country are under tremendous pressure. Foreign powers, including the United States, are first and foremost worried about their regional allies and, in the next step, they have found out that Iran is a reality in the region. Therefore, they cannot pursue the same Iranophobic policy that was once followed by reactionary Arab regime as well as Israel and the United States. Two years ago, in a meeting with the then Saudi King Abdullah, US President Barack Obama said Iran is a new reality in the Middle East developments, advising Saudi Arabia to get along with this reality.
This issue was evident in the latest developments related to the region. The fact that US Secretary of State John Kerry has reacted to unilateral severance of Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic relations with Iran and talked to Iranian foreign minister over phone, and also the attention shown to this issue by diplomatic officials of Western countries, including the European Union and even the Russian Foreign Ministry, which have even indicated their readiness to mediate between the two countries, prove that Saudi Arabia’s coalition with a number of small and insignificant countries to counter Iran cannot be viable. Any coalition that is formed for this purpose cannot be stronger than the past one which was formed on the basis of Iranophobia. That was a coalition, which was formed by Saudi Arabia and Western countries against the Islamic Republic of Iran and had totally turned the international and regional atmosphere against the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, now, the West and the United States, as major trade partners of Saudi Arabia, are well aware that Iran is a regional power that must be reckoned with and they cannot indefinitely get aligned with reactionary regimes against Iran.
Middle East Analyst & Former Representative of Iran’s Parliament