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A detailed view: Iranian spectre of Arabs

18 February 2010 [15:00] - TODAY.AZ
The desire of Saudi Arabia (Washington’s most reliable ally among Arab countries in the Middle East) - is to build its first nuclear power plant for peaceful purposes gives a reason to expect future changes in the region. An interesting fact is that even the nuclear state in the region, Israel, has not expressed a protest against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, transforming into a “symbol” of the Islamic world. And even many Jewish experts reacted with indifference to it, confidently stating that the nuclear program of Riyadh is not a threat to Israel. According to the analyst on nuclear policy at the Institute of National Security of Israel, Ephraim Askulai, this project of the Saudis does not jeopardize the security of Israelis.

Naturally, a project backed by the U.S. against Iran’s nuclear activities can never be a source of threat to Israel. The Sunni Arab states and Israel have one source of threat – Iran’s nuclear program. Construction of a nuclear power station in Saudi Arabia and calm attitude of Israel towards this is not surprising. In May, after visits to Egypt and Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to the region and his country stands ready to  cooperate with the Arab world to solve this problem. However, the proposal of the Jewish prime minister was welcomed with protest at that time. Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Amre Moussa even made an official statement, saying that not Iran, but Israel is a threat to the Arab world. Why did the question of Iran’s nuclear program become the topic of discussions, while no one protests against Israel’s nuclear program?,” said Moussa.

The Secretary General has sent an appeal to President Barack Obama, stating the need to discuss Israel’s nuclear program rather than Iran’s, and that many Arab states are not concerned by the development of Iranian nuclear program. However after in August 2009  Saudi Arabia decided to build a nuclear power plant, Amre Moussa accused   Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries. These accusations were followed by grounded facts.

If to turn to the recent past, it is possible to see that after Iraq fell under the influence of Iran, Jordan officials stated appearance of “Shiite crescent” in the Middle East in person of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. The threat of “Shiite crescent” became more urgent because of the Mehdi Army, which fought in Iraq against U.S. forces and the international coalition. In this regard, the U.S. was forced to hold three round talks with Iran, which gave a positive result.

The armed clash between local Shiites and government forces that happened in Yemen in 2008 forced the Sunni Arab countries to more seriously think of the threat of the appearance of “Shiite crescent”. A year after these events, a stronger confrontation occurred in Yemen. At this time, “defender” of Sunnis, Saudi Arabia, provided armed support to the Yemeni army in taming the Shiite rebels. It was impossible to allow “second Iraq” to appear in the south of the country. Losing Yemen, Saudi Arabia might not only lose the access to the Gulf of Aden, but face even greater expansion of the “Shiite crescent.

Naturally, the Saudi officials denied armed support to the Yemeni army. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh also denied this fact. A month after the events, the President of Yemen made an interesting statement in an interview with the Qatar television Al Jazeera. “In Yemen events [clashes between Shiite rebels and the army] there was a hand of the Iranians and supporters of Mugtad Sadr. I do not accuse the government of Iran, but we have documents proving financial support to Shiite rebels in amount of $100,000 by Mugtad Sadr and some of the forces of Iran,” said  the President of Yemen. All the recent events talk about the coming political changes in the region. At this time, the Arab countries will try to minimize Iranian influence in the Middle East.

And in addition to Palestine and Lebanon, a polygon for the battle of the giants of the region will most likely be Yemen. In fact, the Iranian threat to the Arab countries did not emerge in recent years. This threat became urgent after the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, which extended to neighboring Muslim countries as well. Iranian Islamic Revolution was accepted amongst Muslims literally - as the beginning of regeneration. An interesting fact is that after the Islamic Revolution, many Sunnis in Turkey declared leader of the evolution Ayatollah Khomeini as their imam. The main reason that Arab countries fear Tehran is linked with the view that Iran’s nuclear program is directed not only against the United States and Israel, but also against the Sunni Arab states.

Rufiz Hafizoglu
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