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Salem Alketbi

Responsibility for the chronic tension in the Gulf

الاحد - 10 يناير 2021

Sun - 10 Jan 2021

The world is currently witnessing the escalation of military tension in the Gulf region, provoked by the Iranian mullahs’ regime’s strong threats on the first anniversary of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the IRGC’s Al Quds Force.

Tensions have risen sharply, especially in light of the prospect that incumbent US President Donald Trump could launch a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities before January 20, the date set for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

The mullahs are a key player in unleashing tensions in the region, not only because of the suicidal and militaristic tendencies that dominate their practices. The mullahs’ regime also plays brinkmanship politics in dealing with any issue and problem it faces.

Needless to say, the regional security environment as well as international peace and security are disrupted by this policy. Threats, the mullahs make plenty of them, whether it be to neighboring countries and the possibility of targeting American interests in those countries, or by playing the card of sectarian militias financed and armed by them in many Arab countries. These militias engage in proxy wars for the mullahs, whose expansionist objectives are no secret to objective observers.

For some, the mullahs’ growing threats today are the result of a real desire to avenge the death of General Soleimani. Others see it as a symptom of a deep fear and anxiety about a surprise military strike that would abort their nuclear program, or at least disrupt it for decades to come. A third group sees threats as simply messages intended to dissuade the United States from making a surprise military decision.

As a careful observer of Iranian politics myself, I share the second view. Haunting fear plagues mullah leaders in the final days of President Trump’s term, because since Soleimani’s assassination, they have been banking on a structural change in the US attitude if a Democrat wins the presidential election.

This was the case, and President Biden won, taking a position that still raises many questions about the return to a nuclear agreement and the reversal of Trump’s decision to withdraw. The mullahs have only two weeks or more to prove their case. It does not make sense to venture into this period and lose the fruits of their silence over the past year since the general’s killing.

Since 1979, the mullahs’ regime has created an atmosphere of instability and insecurity in the Gulf region. Today, this climate is intolerable. There is every indication that we are dealing with a suicidal regime that is neither a development project nor a strategic vision to put its country back into the framework of a regional system that guarantees a strategic environment conducive to progress and growth. All it proposes are nuclear weapons and missile programs that it provides to sectarian militias it funds with revenues from Iran’s oil and gas exports.

There is no sign of an end to this project based on expansionist objectives in defiance of the principles and charter of the UN, in violation of the sovereignty of neighboring states and in interference in their affairs.

The specificity of the Gulf region, with its vast energy stocks of international interest, requires the establishment of a comprehensive strategy to maintain security, protect waterways and deter militias and militarized organizations from threatening maritime traffic in the Gulf every now and then.

While there is a near international consensus on the need for this measure, conflicts of interest among major powers pose the greatest obstacle to finding common ground on which to base everyone’s interests. As a result, the Gulf region has become hostage to the chaos and unrest caused by the Iranian mullahs’ regime.

This inevitably affects the interests of the countries and people of the region. The global collective, with its various powers, must confront this phenomenon through cooperation, coordination of efforts and joint action to force this regime to comply with international laws and treaties, especially regarding nuclear non-proliferation.

It must prevent the mullahs from pursuing their expansionist plans by taking advantage of the international divisions and disagreements among the major powers on how to deal with this regime. No region of the world can live under chronic military tension.

The international silence on the practices of a regime sabotaging the security of an entire region in pursuit of its expansionist dreams, dreams that promise to throw tens of millions of young Iranians into despair after failed attempts to get rid of this oppressive regime, raises many questions.

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