Political Observation - Dimensions of the Tensions Surrounding the Iranian File

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Dimensions of the Tensions Surrounding the Iranian File

The oil tanker Mercer Street operated by Zodiac Maritime, a group owned by an "Israeli" businessperson, was attacked at the end of July 2021 off the coast of Oman, in what has become known as the “shadow war” between Iran and "Israel". Two crew members, a Romanian and a Briton were killed in the attack. The BBC reported that the ship had sailed to a safe location under US naval escort.

Iran, for her part, denied involvement in the attack, deeming it a fabrication and a “conspiracy against Iran”, after her official papers had claimed responsibility for the attack and celebrated it as conservative President Ebrahim Raisi took office.

"Israel" threatened to respond “appropriately” and to refer the issue to the UN; meanwhile, European and US intelligence sources pointed the finger at Tehran and deemed her the prime suspect. "Israeli" prime minister Naftali Bennet announced that "Israel" was mobilising the international community to call Iran to account. These statements were seconded by "Israeli" leaks alluding to joint "Israeli"-British preparations to stage a counterattack against an Iranian target in retribution for the British victim. Romania and America then joined the coordination to discipline Iran and make her pay the price for what she had perpetrated.

In fact, despite the powerful statements and threats, the measures undertaken and the request made to Russia to monitor navigation in the Gulf reveals that the event had been concocted prior to the start of the US-Iranian negotiations on the nuclear file and in the midst of the tussle between Netanyahu and Naftali Bennet over how to deal with Iran, in order to exert pressure on the conservative wing in Iran and twist its arm to accept the upshots of the ongoing negotiations with the US and the ”international community”, and in order to give Bennet the chance to outdo his rivals and smash Netanyahu’s monopoly over the “loudest voice” on the Iranian threats, in addition to neutralising the domestic American conservative voices calling for dealing decisively with Iran.

Although the timing of the attack on the oil tanker Mercer Street coincided with the UN conference on “Maritime Safety”, which America harnessed against China and the events in the South China Sea, and which she has also been harnessing for the security of the Gulf region and maritime navigation, a host of objective elements, however, necessitate stimulating political interactants and intensifying the confrontation with Iran and her surrogates, especially Hezbollah which is still hampering endeavours to form the Lebanese government in order to secure an influential seat in the cabinet, in addition to intimidating the Houthis and warning the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces affiliated to Iran against thwarting the forthcoming elections al-Kadhimi intends to hold in light of his recent understandings with Biden, the withdrawal of US forces, and America’s intention to grant al-Kadhimi an achievement enabling him to regulate the Iraqi political process within the framework of rectifying the standpoints of the Iranian conservative movement, which considers dwarfing Iran’s functions, clipping her wings, retrenching her gains in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, and bringing her back to her original functional square in the region, a grievance they are attempting to reverse through the troublemaking instigated by its sectarian surrogates, pursuing its policies of rivalry and jostling with Iran’s conventional opponents in the region, namely, Saudi, Turkey, and "Israel", and through attempting to acquire the function of an affiliated state, with the rank of a strategic partner and major sponsor of US interests in the Middle East. This vision was expressed by former Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki in a letter to former US ambassador to Baghdad Zalmay Khalil Zadeh through the defunct Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in which he wrote: “What do the Americans want from us? We supported the liberation of Iraq from Saddam; we supported the Iraqi Interim Governing Council and the presidential elections, and we supported this new situation that the Americans have imposed on Iraq. There is nothing the Americans have done that we have not supported. So, tell your friend what more do they want from us?” Talabani conveyed the message to Zalmay Khalil Zadeh who replied to Talabani with, “We want stability and security in Iraq,” which means stability and security in the context of the regional solution, and the integration of "Israel" into the region, something which the decision-makers in America and the world agree upon.

In this regard, it would be imperative to note that the US initiative for the Middle East and the Islamic world clashes with the interests and the Aqeedah of the people of the region, and undermines, in some of its aspects, the fundamentals upon which the functional regimes are built, especially those which derive their legitimacy and popular bases from nationalistic resources, such as Turkey, religious resources, such as Saudi, and nationalistic and sectarian resources, such as Iran.

This is why Turkey broke free from affiliation and Iran exceeded her functional mandate in some issues. Turkey’s breakaway from affiliation and Iran’s transgression of her functional boundaries were dictated by the need to preserve the achievements of the leaders, parties and political elites, and to protect their political future, especially in the presence of an intense domestic and regional tussle to gain the trump cards which would increase the value of the regime in the market of securing Western interests in the region.

It would also be imperative to indicate that the US does not give weight to affiliated states and the collaborators such as Iran, Saudi, the Emirates and the Afghan government, which the US has recently compelled in losing its conflict with the Taliban, due to her renewed need to invest in Islam and undermine the stability of the regions neighbouring China and the Russian southern border pockets. Likewise, America does not give weight to her allies, including the Jewish leaders in "Israel", when she designs her international policies; this is why she turned a blind eye to Hamas’s missile attacks on "Israel" and colluded to thwart Netanyahu’s efforts to get re-elected.

Therefore, initiating a military strike against Iran in the context of downsizing her and scaling down the level of her threat to "Israel" in order to encourage the government of Naftali Bennet to adhere to the course of American policy, is not likely but it cannot be ruled out, as there is no consolation for the collaborators. This was the fate of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Zein El-Abideen Ben Ali, and Ali Abdullah Saleh. However, America’s penchant for the military option against Iran, or otherwise, depends chiefly on the extent of erosion in the extremist political mood and rightwing mentality in "Israel" and on the compliance of the "Israeli" public opinion with the peace process and regional integration through the gate of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, which will contain the Palestinian “resistance” groups. It also depends on the response of the conservative Iranian movement to the American demands in respect of Iran’s surrogates and their troublemaking in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

As for the "Israeli" side, it seems that the government of Bennet is so far responsive to the American test. The spokesperson of the "Israeli" army announced on 6 August 2021 that his country had “no interest in escalating the situation and going to war”. By escorting and protecting the Mercer Street oil tanker owned by an "Israeli" tycoon, America wanted to corroborate "Israel’s” need for American protection and the necessity to comply with her policies.

As for Iran and the rest of the countries of the region, they are complying with the American dictates, adapting to the new situation after the arrival of Biden who is proceeding according to the principle of “sustainable policy” instead of the policy of concluding deals and relying on the collaborators, and proceeding very cautiously to secure their continuance in power in exchange for their services.

Hence, the Ummah continues to pay from her faculties and at the expense of her revival the invoice of affiliation according to which the rulers of the region are proceeding in service of their American master, even if this led to destroying the resources, causing death and mortgaging the future of the region and its masses to her enemies. Needless to say, the region would not achieve a real liberation unless the conditions generated by the Kuffar in the Muslims lands were rectified, and unless the Aqeedah of the Ummah is placed exclusively as the foundation of revival and the relationship with other countries. Otherwise, the region will continue to be subjected to Western influence and the Muslims will continue to pay the price.

6 Muharram 1443h
14 August 2021