Iran penetrated some Arab countries by soft power
With a careful and deep historical look, the reader realizes that the beginning of communication between Yemen and Persia was since the first Abyssinian occupation of Yemen in the year (335 AD), and the second one in the year (525 AD), as it was one of the Persians’ contact with Yemen, when the political communication between Yemen and Persia was through the Yemeni king (Saif bin Dhi Yazan Al-Himyari) sought the Persian emperor’s help to expel the Abyssinians from his country, also communication increased after the advent of Islam when the Islamic doctrine abolished distances and borders, generating mutual communication, exchange, and cooperation between the two sides (at that time).
In modern times, the historical factor is one of the factors of foreign policy formulation, developing a country’s political behavior towards another country or a particular neighboring region; In the Iranian-Persian case, it is no exaggeration to say that history has the strongest effect. If that history is not solely responsible for the nature of Iran’s conduct towards its Arab Neighboring States in particular, and the rest of the Arab States in general, it is clear today that the historical memory of Iranian decision makers and politicians is behind Iranian behavior seeking control of the Arab region. That is why they refuse to accept the fact that the Arab Neighbor is equivalent to them in the region. Furthermore, the Iranian politicians still have a sense of preference and make them do their best to export their revolution to the region countries. After the Iranian Revolution success in (1979), Khomeini formed the Republic’s regime on the principle of “ Al-Wali Al-Faqih” Ruler by the Islamic Jurist; Some of revolution leaders, headed by Al-Wali Al-Faqih, believed that the Iranian model could be applied successfully in the entire region, that the responsibility of transferring this revolution to the rest of the region countries lies with Iran, which is known as the principle of “exporting the revolution.” Which was the result of that public declaration of working on the principle of exporting the revolution, accompanying riots in the region countries, then Iran and Iraq entered into an eight-year fierce war, exhausting both countries, after which Iran tasted the bitterness of suffocating isolation, then the Iranian leaders realized that the principle of exporting the revolution in public brings problems to Iran, so Iran abandoned this principle in order to open a new page in its relations with neighboring countries, but rather it replaced it with soft power. So, it is difficult for Iran to give up its desire to be a regional power and a major player in the region and the soft power means here to find a hidden hands for Iran in the Arab countries, through which it exports the ideas of its miserable revolution.
In fact, since the establishment of the Republic of Al-Wali Al-Faqih, the relationship between Yemen and Iran has been undergoing through turns and shifts, sometimes it reaches to the point of crisis, and maybe there is a glimmer of hope for improvement and development, due to direct interference in the internal affairs of Yemen, through its relations with the Houthi movement in northern Yemen in Saada governorate, its logistical support and the armed separatist movement in southern Yemen, which has strategic dimensions to the pattern of those relations, that it has also repercussions on Yemeni national security and the security of the Arab Gulf region.
Iranian tendencies in the third millennium of the twenty-first century witnessed large-scale movements in various external circles, within the framework of Iran’s perception of its regional role, or its trans-regional role at times, these movements were linked to direct interference in the internal affairs of some countries in the Arab region, including Yemen in a way that goes beyond what is usually understood with regard to serving Iranian national interests, as there are basic, fixed and far-reaching goals for Iran, added to this there are interim goals connected to political, economic, social and intellectual developments.
On top of the main goals is the imposition of Persian hegemony on the Arab region, especially Yemen and the Arab Gulf states, so the image of hegemony is represented through a sectarian religious image, pro-Iranian dissemination, supporting its affiliated groups in the region, and stirring up sectarianism and political unrest in those countries, so, nothing is better than religious cover that gives Iran an opportunity to realize its desire, by leading human groups outside its borders that threaten stability, be a successful pressure card in its hand that it uses whenever it wants, so Iran has maintained its relationship with nearing sects to it in various countries of the region, so one of these sects is Zaydi in Yemen, actually, through them Iran has been able to establish influence in Yemen, using soft power, which was represented by missionary activity in the manner of the Mullahs in Yemen since the eighties, through attracting Yemeni students to study in universities and seminaries in Iran, Damascus and Beirut since the eighties and nineties AD, furthermore it can be said:The Iranian movement in Yemen was very active in the nineties by virtue of the openness that accompanied with the Yemeni unity establishment in May (1990), allowing political pluralism, parties formation, lack of censorship on tracking books and references that carry the ideology of the Al-Wali Al-Faqih, added to this Iran adopted Hussein al-Houthi, The Houthi movement founder, or what has come to be known today as “Ansar Allah“, so that movement would be the Iranian-Persian arm in Yemen and the destroyer of its capabilities and achievements.
After 1990, Iranian activity in Yemen increased in clarity and support.
- Jihad Ahmed, Yemeni-Iranian Relations and its Impact on Arabian Gulf Security, East Future for Studies and Research, February 7 (2014).
- Hazem Al-Janabi, “The Iranian Strategy Towards the Arab Countries” Al-Manara Magazine (Academia Arabia), vol18, p2(2012).
- Dina Abdo, General Trends of Iran’s Regional Interests in the Arab Region, Syria and Yemen 2011-2016 – A Comparative Study, Arab Democratic Center.
- Radwan Al-Sayed, Arabs and Iranians: Arab-Iranian Relations in the Present Time (Beirut: Arab House for Science Publishers, 2014).
- Samuel Ramani, Iranian Post-Conflict Vision in Yemen, Carnegie Foundation, December 11 (2019).
- Wasfi Muhammad Aqil and another: “Iranian political penetration of Arab neighboring countries, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, a case study..” Humanities and Social Sciences Studies Journal, University of Jordan, Amman, p. 45 (2018).