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Iran's political bluff   

Arab News - 21 April, 2012
Author: Ali Buluwi

In political psychology, one can notice the strength and weak points in a country by shedding lights on its complex relations with other states. Some countries give an impression that they are strong but only on paper. Iran, for instance, mimics the lion’s roar while in reality it is weak from inside.

The irony is that Tehran uses bombastic language when it describes the United States as the “Great Satan” and depicts the Gulf countries as instigators of sedition. Iran lives in self-denial and as if it is an angel free of defects and flaws. Psychologically, those suffering from superiority complex believe they can set a good example for others to copy.

They believe that they are infallible while others are errant. Interestingly, Iranian President Ahmadinejad boasts that his country is invincible. Needless to say that this sick mentality prevailed once in Israel.

Grandstanding and flexing muscles are nothing but an indication of internal weaknesses and shows the superiority complex from which the Iranian leadership suffers. Iranians still live in history that reflect their dealing with the future. The paradox is that Iran has yet to find a way to enable it to coexist peacefully with its Arab neighbors and the world on the one hand and cope with the illusion of being powerful on the other hand. This indeed accounts for its endless efforts to push the panic button and try to intimidate other Gulf countries.

We have seen Iran flexing muscles in the Gulf when it carried out military drills using missiles or when the country flaunts the nuclear issue. Additionally, Iran interferes in the internal affairs of others. This policy is in contrast with other nations', who only flex their muscles when it serves the interests of its people and when it serves humanity in general.

Statements coming from Iranian leaders indicate a crisis and internal contradiction. The Iranian constitution reinforces aspects of contradiction and excludes non-Persian citizens such as the Arabs, Kurds and others. Additionally, Iranian statements reflect a state of political schizophrenia. Sometimes, the minister of foreign affairs says that his country is interested in cultivating neighborly relations with other states. Yet, other officials from the national security make remarks that undermine the statement of the minister! It is as if the state has no clear policy or as if it has been hijacked by the mob logic.

In anything, Ahmadinejad’s visit to the three occupied Emirati islands reveals the political bankruptcy of Iran. By doing so, he reminds us of an wounded lion that tries to prove he is still capable of hurting others. Iran wanted to announce the failure of the possibility of launching a diplomatic American-Iranian dialogue in Ankara. It also wanted to blackmail the Gulf countries and send a message that the missile umbrella would not intimidate Tehran. The president’s visit to the Emirati islands reflects the lack of political wisdom on his part.

That said, the real question is not external but rather internal. Evidently, Tehran fears the internal factor and therefore does what it can to avert it. Iran lives in a crisis that needs its immediate attention. To avoid an inevitable internal failure, Iran has been looking to deflect the public attention to the tense external environment hoping that it will work. The external confrontation can, Iranian leaders hope, justify the delay in reforms, help the government in abusing the human rights of minorities, and also help it justify the banning of external media from showing what is happening in Al-Ahwaz. Over the last week, the Iranian authorities resorted to violence to prevent demonstrations and protests in Ahwaz fearing it could spread all over. What Iran is doing in this region contradicts with the minimum values accepted in the Islamic world.

Iran’s strategic analysis stems from an ideological perspective of the world scenario. It believes that the United States is losing its clout and this offers Iran an opportunity to dictate its terms to others. Following this approach, Iran interferes in the internal affairs of other states and wastes its resources on supporting Al-Houthi, Hezbollah and Assad’s regime. Iran thinks erroneously that it could blackmail the United States especially when President Obama is constrained and cannot make decisions to punish Iran. Iran’s leaders think that Obama is looking for diplomatic settlements and victories that can guarantee his re-election.

That said, we have to take practical steps. The Gulf countries should allocate some funds to help the Arabs in Ahwaz and Baluchistan. This support should not be aimed at creating secessionist movements or to instigate them, but to help them get their rights and also help them build an Iranian state that is in peace with its citizens.

It is worth mentioning that Iran is linked to an extensive network of intelligence, money laundering, drugs and weapons. Iran supports the insurgents in Somalia, Houthis in Yemen, some Sudanese factions, the Syrian government, factions in Lebanon and the Al-Qaeda. Don’t we have the same right as the Iranians do, to defend our Arab nation and defend our interests? Don’t we have the right to prevent Iran from interfering in our internal affairs? Don’t we have the right to do what it takes to liberate our Arab occupied islands. To do all that, we need to drive home to the Iranian people of different ethnic and sectarian background that Arab Gulf states do not like interference in others’ internal affairs but Iran has been doing that and it is time to adopt a tit-for-tat strategy. In brief, Iran has been subordinating ethics to its immediate and narrow interests and has adopted a double-standard policy.

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