Draining their destinies for an impossible dream
Persian penetration of the Arab world caused a state of prolonged misery for the Iranian people
In the year (2003) the United States of America invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam’s regime. That was a turning point in the history of Middle East, Especially since the matter happened with Iranian complicity in favor of America in its invasion of Iraq. It is noteworthy that the role of some Iraqi opponents, such as Ahmed Chalabi, in bridging the secret relations between Iran and the United States made Iran allow Iraqi opponents on its soil to work in favor of overthrowing the Iraqi regime, in an attempt to benefit from the state of political vacuum that Iraq and the Arab region witnessed after that invasion. Some described this matter as the United States presented a shattered Iraq and opened doors to Iran.
Radwan Al-Sayed confirmed this in his discussions with the American historian of Iranian origin, “Roy Mottahedeh”, saying: “Roy Mottahedeh was aware of the bitterness that ignited in all of us as a result of Iran’s role in the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq (2001-2003)”.
Within the framework of the strategic theory put forward by the Lebanese thinker Jamal Wakim about what he called “Iran’s historical tendency to reach the eastern Mediterranean”; Iran has attempted since that time to assert that it is the major regional power in the region, challenging the major traditional powers therein, which is confirmed by the future document prepared by what is known as the Expediency Council in Iran, in 2005, to transform Iran into a central regional power in South and West Asia region.
A new development appeared in the theory of exporting the revolution that Khomeini raised after his revolution (1979), as Iran worked to support political forces outside Iran, especially the radical forces hostile to the existing regimes in the Arab world, so as to establish Iranian-style governments. It also worked on exporting the “velayat-e faqih” concept in order to combine both religious and sectarian authorities to be combined and to refuse to separate them. From this point, Iran began to penetrate the region through some local forces supporting it, or associated with Iranian institutions, whether by virtue of sectarian affiliation or security connection. It also tried to benefit from the presence of some Shiite social groups in several states of the region in opening the door to Iranian presence. Iran also worked to trade in the religious concept of the Palestinian issue, which has become an essential axis in the Iranian propaganda machine.
As Radwan Al-Sayyed confirmed, since (2005) the relations between Iran and the Arabs have deteriorated as a result of Iran’s use of factors of religion, sect and power, so as to bring about division and fragmentation in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen, linking the rise of the neo-conservative movement in America, its influence on the Middle East and the course of Iranian politics: “Just as the era between 2001 and 2009, which was the era of neoconservatism in American politics. It can be said without much exaggeration that it was the era of Iranian neoconservatism in Iran and its foreign policy”.
Thus, Iran was able, through its influence through the armed groups in Iraq, its support for the Syrian regime and its arm in Lebanon represented by Hezbollah, to gain a view of the eastern Mediterranean, confirming its old dream since the Persian Empire. Iran also entered into close relations with Hamas group that usurped Gaza Strip. Thus, Iran has a cat’s claw through which it can provoke Israel and bargain with it over its national security, if necessary. However, the most dangerous matter is also in Iran’s close relationship with Hamas because in that situation it became a threat to Egyptian national security, with its presence near Sinai and Suez Canal. Iran was also able, through its dubious relations with Houthi group in Yemen, and its unprecedented support for them, to pose a severe threat to freedom of navigation in Bab al-Mandab, the Red Sea gateway to Indian Ocean.
On the other hand, the American researcher of Arab origin, Walid Fares, points out an important and dangerous matter in terms of Iranian ambitions in the region, defining long-term goals of Iran in controlling Shiite-majority areas in the Arab world. The most dangerous of all is its attempt to assume conflict with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to try to achieve the “unified global Islamic legitimacy” declared by Khomeini when he declared the Islamic Republic in (1979).
Iranian officials were not convinced that Khomeini's ambitions to achieve a "unified world" under the authority of velayat-e faqih are a form of madness.
The Iranians realize that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with its Arab and Islamic weight and dimension, is the one that can stand up to Iranian ambitions. As a result of Iran’s inability to confront directly with Saudi Arabia, Iran has resorted to the policy of “war by proxy”, as it opened several fronts in several directions with Kingdom Saudi Arabia, trying to open a front through Iraqi militias allied with Iran, so as to carry out operations against the Kingdom. However, this front was closed after the increased linkage in Saudi-Iraqi relations. As for Iranian front through the gangs of Houthi group as the Kingdom, within the Arab coalition and the support of Yemeni legitimate government, is facing this challenge with all capabilities.
The Iranians are proud of their blatant interference in Arab affairs. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted of the strategy of exporting the revolution to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and even accused the United States of seeking to overthrow six Arab states in order to reduce what he called “Iran’s strategic depth”. On the other hand, this Iranian interference and the principle of exporting the revolution began to anger the Iranian interior, even some enlightened clerics in Iran. One of the Iranian mullahs says: “There is a belief that the money of the Iranian people is being spent in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and even Iraq, while the Iranian regime attributes the misery of the Iranian people to the issue of American embargo”.
- Jamal Wakim, Eurasia, the West, and Hegemony over the Middle East, (Beirut: Dar Abaad, 2016).
- Radwan Al-Sayed, Arabs and the Iranians: Arab-Iranian Relations in the Present Time (Beirut: Arab House for Science Publishers, 2014).
- Rashid Ahmed Al-Hunaiti, Principle of Exporting the Iranian Revolution and its Impact on the Stability of the Arab Gulf States, MA in Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Middle East University (2013).
- Carnegie Endowment, Sectarian Dilemmas in Iranian Foreign Policy, Asharq Al-Awsat Journal, 30 November 2016).
- Walid Fares, Scenarios of Iran’s War on the Arabs, Independent Arabia, 30 November 2021.