Friday, June 24, 2016

Saudi Arabia in Iran's crosshairs - Dr. Reuven Berko

by Dr. Reuven Berko

Faced with the existential threat Iran poses to the region, the Arabs are realizing that Israel is not the adversary and that resolving the Palestinian problem is a relatively minor issue

The Saudi deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is currently in the United States discussing his country's new economic plan to reduce dependency on oil while improving its technological and military capabilities. In light of the worsening tensions between Iran and Gulf states, chief among them Saudi Arabia, Salman is undoubtedly carrying an urgent message of distress to the U.S. administration.

For years now Iran has waged a policy of destabilization and violence, aimed at taking control of the Saudi Peninsula, instituting Shiite rule over the Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina, dominating the oil market and its transportation routes in the Persian Gulf, expelling the Americans and the Saudis and pushing forward -- toward the rest of the world. In this regard, Iran's relationship with Qatar and Oman is akin to a handler and his agents. While these two countries supposedly represent the same interests as other Sunni states, in reality Qatar is funding the Muslim Brotherhood's efforts to undermine Arab regimes and incite against them at Iran's behest through Al Jazeera. Oman, for its part, is "selling the Arabs out" by mediating American-Iranian meetings on its soil. 

The final objective of Iran's slow but steady advance toward domination of the Persian Gulf -- which began years ago -- is Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the Saudis, Egyptians and other Gulf states, who have gathered together under the Gulf Cooperation Council, feel the Americans have chosen Iranian hegemony -- as an alternative crisis-management option in the region -- over of the "headache inducing" Sunni Arab states that are torn between conflicting interests and Islamist terrorist organizations fighting amongst one another.

Ever since the removal of Saddam Hussein, who served as a type of "anti-virus" to Iranian machinations, Iran has increased its "pyromaniacal" activities throughout the Middle East and even Africa. This activity is characterized by subversion, destruction and blood. The Iranians are igniting the flame in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and are waging a terror campaign in Yemen. They are active in Libya, Egypt and Gaza via Hezbollah (which helped plan attacks on the Suez Canal in 2008), and fund Sunni terrorist organizations like Hamas. Due to Sunni factionalism and foolishness, focusing on Israel as an enemy, the disjointed Arab states failed to deploy against Iran.

In the meantime, the Iranians are concentrating their subversion efforts in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE, inciting sedition among their respective Shiite populations. In January 2016, the Saudis arrested 47 terrorists and hanged their Shiite leader, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. In response, the "Basij" (the ayatollah regime's paramilitary volunteer militia) torched the Saudi embassies in Mashhad and Tehran. This past week, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of the country's leading Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who served as an emissary of Iran. In response to this "crossing of a red line," Iran threatened to launch a regional war. Iranian General Qassem Soleimani warned Bahrain's Sunni regime that its "degradation" of citizens (the majority of whom are Shiites) would ignite a bloody regional conflict. As expected, Hezbollah parroted the Iranian condemnation while Saudi Arabia declared its support for Bahrain's legal measures. 

Faced with the existential threat Iran poses to the region, the Arabs are realizing that Israel is not the adversary and that resolving the Palestinian problem is a relatively minor issue. In the meantime, the U.S. administration is struggling to recognize radical Islam as a driving force behind global terrorism. It also refuses to acknowledge Iran's expansionist and nuclear goals, and its objectives regarding development of ballistic missiles. The dilemma is indeed a difficult one, because the Iranian Shiite "virus" and the "anti-virus" (Sunni Islamic radicalism) are equally dangerous to the world.

Dr. Reuven Berko


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