By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
09 June 2015
Never has United States been so involved in every Mideast crisis. Whether by choice or design, America got its hand busy in every country, fight and issue. Since the end of the Cold War, more nations were tempted or taken into its camp. Egypt was first, then Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. This should have been good news for peaceful coexistence. Following the same path and allying with, now, the one and only superpower, is supposed to bring unity and the end to proxy wars. But, alas, it didn’t happen. In fact the infighting among US allies and friends went from bad to worse.
Take Iraq for example. After the US invasion on false accusations of owning weapons of mass destruction, the country was totally under US hegemony.
This should have been good for its neighbors — Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — since Saddam was a constant threat. However, the opposite was the case.
Under US watch, Iraq became an almost failed nation. American supported leaders delivered the country to Iran, which has lots of interests to gain and accounts to settle with its former archenemy. The Farsi nation used and abused religion to divide and rule. The sectarian Shiite government of ex-prime minister, Nouri Al Malki, ignited hate and mistrust among its population. Al-Qaeda used the plight of the Sunnis as its best recruiting tool. Even among the Shiites, Arab religious scholars were overtaken by Farsi counterparts. Iraqi Karbala and Najaf were overshadowed by Iranian Qom and Mashhad. Khomeini and Khamaeni pictures abounded the streets of these cities, while the fatwas of Arab Ayatollahs were overruled by those coming from the Farsi school of thought.
This inner fight led to the creation of a friendly environment for extremists on all sides. Daesh (the so-called IS) is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and both are sponsored by Iran. On the other side, you get Hezbollah leading the Shiite extremists in the region — Asaeb Alhaq, Kataaeb Ibn Alabbas, Ansarallah, etc. In such wars, Iran always wins since it owns major players. Iraqi and Syrian leaders are fully in its pockets, and Sunni-Shiite militias are under its wing.
In Syria, America just let it happen. Iran wouldn’t dare to get so close to Israeli borders without a green light from Uncle Sam. The raging wars are endangering other allies as well — Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations.
It is less understandable that America is so much interested in Yemen. Since the enforced unification between North and South Yemen, America became more involved. Iran too. The Houthi movement was established in 2004. Even though, America supported Saleh’s government, it maintained lines of communication with his archenemies. After the adversaries became allies, America kept its cooperation with them in its desperate wars against Al-Qaeda. It turned a blind eye to Iran’s heavy political, financial and military support of the new Yemeni alliance regardless of the danger they pose to its Gulf partners.
The Mideast creative chaos is what US intentionally created, with the infamous strategy of President George W. Bush and the neoconservatives led by his Deputy, Dick Cheney; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Since Iran is the manager of this mess, the first big question mark is how much of a collaboration the US has with Iran? The second question is about what America benefits from such chaos? The third is what are the future arrangements for the region, and what managerial roles were given to Iran and Israel?
I am not sure that America knows what it is doing. They may feel that the region needs a new sheriff, besides Israel. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey wouldn’t play such role as envisioned, so who else? Iran, of course! Never mind it is not Sunni, the Farsi nation is eager, willing and able to serve, with much energy, force and will.
America, then, could take its attention somewhere else — South Asia for example — once rest assured that the region is fully under control. This scenario looks attractive, from the standpoint of naive academic planners. But, alas, something is wrong with this picture. Iran is not ruled by pragmatic, logical leadership, but by ultra-fundamentalists obsessed with historical ambitions of grand Farsi Empire. More than even Saddam, they won’t stop at drawn lines or honor signed agreements. They would turn against America at any moment their interests diverge. They did it before and will do it again. By then, US best allies in the region would be lost. Terrorism and its Grand Master are in control. And the Great Satan is haunted by its worst enemies.
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi