The message that came out from the US-Arab-Islamic summit was to isolate, tame and weaken Iran to combat terrorism in the Middle East. If the purpose of the summit was to send a clear message and signal to Isis and other reactionary militant groups, then the wrong message has been send to the wrong side. One wonders how Iran’s isolation and weak position can help eliminate Isis.
The big question is: if the aim and goal of this summit was to create unity among the Muslim-majority countries to target the reactionary Isis and other militant groups, why were Iran, Iraq and Syria excluded? The answer is simple. This summit and the Islamic Military Alliance were aimed at Iran and its proxies – Hezbollah, Houthis and the Assad regime. The fact is that Iran itself is fighting against Isis.
Isis is targeting Iran’s interests and its allies. This policy to isolate and target Iran will only intensify the proxy war and this could lead to a direct military confrontation between Iran and the Saudi-led alliance. The prospects of peace, stability and an end to the bloody civil wars in the Middle East are not promising.
The Middle East will continue to bleed. The political, sectarian and religious divide will widen as all hopes of rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia are dashed. No end to the dirty civil and proxy wars in Yemen and Syria appears to be in sight. Millions of people will continue to live a miserable life in the refugee camps. A whole generation of Syrian, Yemeni, Libyans and Iraqis will grow up in an atmosphere of fear, destruction and civil war. The strategic and national interests of the different powers reign supreme. So who cares about the people?
Stalin once remarked that the first casualties in a war have always been a tragedy while rest are just statistics. That is exactly what is happening in the Middle East. The Saudis made it clear that they will continue their offensive in Yemen to crush the Houthis and to install a handpicked puppet regime. This can only happen if the Saudi-led coalition wipes out Houthi rebels. This seems difficult, if not impossible, at this stage. This means that the armed conflict will drag on. The bombings will continue along with the suffering of the civilian population.
On the other hand, Iran is determined to help the Houthi rebels continue their rebellion. The same applies to the situation in Syria, where the Americans, Saudis and their allies wanted to see Assad dead. But Iran, Russia and, to some extent, China want to keep him alive to safeguard their interests. It matters little how long this bloody conflict goes on and how many innocent people become victims to this madness and conflict of interests.
President Trump never hides his dislike for Iran. He has openly opposed the nuclear deal with Iran. He wants to roll it back. He expresses his love for the state of Israel. President Trump backtracked from the longstanding US position of the two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. He gave a free hand to Israel to occupy more Palestinian land to build new Jewish settlements. Apart from other issues, he exploited anti-Muslim sentiments among a section of the American population to win the presidency. And yet, he received a red-carpet welcome in Saudi Arabia. Why? Because he choose to side with Saudi Arabia against Iran.
President Trump came with a clear aim to make sure that every government, movement and group threatening US and Israeli interests in the Middle East is targeted. Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime and Houthis pose this threat. So it is not surprising that he singled out Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organisations; both groups are fighting against Zionist policies of occupation and expansionism.
Hezbollah poses a military and political challenge to the mighty Israeli war machine. One of the most modern war machines in the world failed to defeat Hezbollah in the last military conflict. Israel and the US strongly believe that without isolating and taming Iran, it will be possible for them to defeat Hezbollah. Both Israel and the US were hoping that a change of regime in Syria would logistically and strategically weaken the guerrilla outfit. Everyone expected that the Assad regime will not last long. But the regime succeeded to survive because of the wrong and flawed policies of US imperialism. The Americans used the most reactionary forces in the region to oust a secular regime: Isis was created and managed to gain control in large areas.
And now, the same powers that facilitated the rise of Isis in the region are telling us that they will defeat Isis and will bring peace and stability in the region. US imperialism is responsible for the spread of terrorism and extremism in the region. The policies of the US to establish its hegemony and complete domination in the region played a destabilising role. The US intervention, its continued support to the repressive regimes, the Israeli occupation and proxy wars created the conditions in which the reactionary forces flourished. The US used these reactionary forces to destabilise the anti-Israeli regimes in the Middle East.
The battle to dominate the region and to increase influence so as to protect interests will intensify between the big powers and their regional allies. The people will pay the ultimate price of this dirty power play.
Article first appeared in thenews.com.pk on 03-June-2017.