Recent military build up in the Gulf and the growing confrontation between Iran and US is indicative of another catastrophe in the Arab world. More detrimental to those countries which are bordering Iran and that includes Pakistan. This country has not yet outweighed the burdens of the volatile situation of Afghan war which has drained its economy, risked its security and isolated it from the rest of the world.
Iran has been the part of the “Axis of evil” along with Syria since many decades, labelled as the “area of conflict” in the American strategic policy.
Pahlavi rule dealt with it diplomatically but Islamic revolution of Imam Kamoneni did not go well with the West and brought new external challenges including the fragile peace and harmony in the country. It led to serious rift between moderates and conservatives that suited Washington and other Western powers which were yearning to tear it apart internally.
The war between Iran and Iraq provided reprieve to US, which was supported by many countries in many ways. The eight year long war between the two neighbours did not only demoralize the Muslim world but proved handy to Israel to strengthen its roots in Palestine. Saudis according to political pundits were accused of helping the war financially through third party of Western world.
There was a meagre shift in policy at the time of Barak Obama when he lobbied hard to get Iran back on board with the international community so as to lesser the risk of any more confrontation in future. Obama’s gesture was disliked by the Israel. US along with other six nations entered into a landmark deal on nuclear programme of Iran resulting into lifting of economic sanctions which had virtually crippled the Gulf country by decades of restrictions. Isolation of Iran started to wear down but Saudis got unnerved and the intentions of US became their main worry.
Meanwhile, the way Iran dealt with Israel and Washington, it raised its stature among the Muslim world and its growing influence among youth raised alarm in those few countries that have been at the mercy of Saudis.
Iran is considered only enemy of Israel, and the only country which Tehran has never compromised with.
Trump being close to Israel, however, considers Iran as an intelligent enemy, and he would prefer business to war which has a potential to ruin both economies. Trump’s redeployment of war machinery in the Gulf seems more or less a tough posturing; just make Iran to toe the line of US.
It is not only the Israel that has been suspicious of Iran. Saudi Royals are more worried about its influence and its wider reach in the Arab world. This seems ironical, Iran is considered number one enemy by all three, Israel, America and Saudi Arabia. All three want to confine, cripple and punish it. For Israel, annihilation of Iran means end of Palestine issue which is sustained only by Hamas. It is a Western belief that Hamas is only supported by Iran.
Saudi live under this threat perception that Yemeni Houtis and Muslim Brotherhood (trouble creators in Saudi Peninsula) are aided and armed by Iran which Iran has denied many times in the past. US sanctions on Iran give Saudis a respite and keeps its oil market booming. The Saudi petro dollars go into the US coffers that in return are spend on the demolition of political and economic structures starting from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya and Syria.
Iran is not the only country on US radar; Turkey and Pakistan are also going through rough patch resulting into the cancellation of few projects.
It is a puzzle for many political analysts what Trump really wants from Iran. Iraq policy was open and visible; US openly declared policy of regime change under the pretext of stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein. That left Baghdad decimated.
Afghanistan rejected US appeal to hand over Osama and paid huge price of life and livelihood. Libya’s leader was punished for integrating North African Muslim belt and has been left in tatters. Syria has been destroyed on the mere suspicion of developing nuclear weapons or supporting militant organisations. President Basher ul Asad has remained unchanged but his country has been reduced to shreds. The old Islamic archival cities from Damascus to Babylon have all been demolished and defaced.
Iran, in fact, is a democratic country, where free and fair elections are held on time. Yes, the government is under the control of conservative Ayatollahs, yet, it has a developed system of institutions. Ayatollahs opened its nuclear sites to international atomic energy agency and on the basis of its reports the nuclear agreement with six powers pledging not to develop nuclear armament became a reality. The agreement was soon discarded by Trump, due to which the animosities have taken a new turn since then.
Trump, being business tycoon, might not go as far as waging war against Iran but his security advisor John Bolton and the secretary of state, Mike pompeo is said to be pushing him to another serious confrontation in the Middle East at the behest of Israel. Recently, Mike Pompeo has invited Iran for talks again which is according to analysts “Pompeo has soften his stance after Iran threatened US of taking strong action against its bullying tactics”. Like Ayatollah khamanei said, if US starts war, it has to face defeat because Iran is quite different from Iraq. He said, “This could result in being the mother of all wars”.
Iran has until now played very cool and calculated which in no way has any desire to intensify the complex situation in the middle East at this stage when “deep state” policies are intending to split Muslims into sections and tough sanctions are imposed to break the economy of oil rich countries.