An Initiative to Deepen the Social Rift |
Al Hayat - 27 August, 2012
Author: Abdullah Iskandar
Iran has not been able to achieve any breakthrough in its favor in negotiations over the nuclear issue. And it has not been able to contain the negative repercussions of international sanctions on its internal situation. It also failed to form a pole at the recent Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit conference. And it has not been able to provide any reassurances regarding its true intentions in its neighborhood, especially in the Gulf.
The only thing it constantly boasts of is the fact that it is developing weapons, missiles and nuclear enrichment, which only exacerbates the various forms of failure in its international and regional relations. These days Tehran is wagering on its hosting of the Non-Aligned Summit in order to break its diplomatic isolation. It has started leaking that it was in the process of putting forward initiatives, especially with regard to the Syrian crisis. And between what its Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is saying and what its military and intelligence leaders, in the army or the Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran), are declaring, it is oscillating between, on the one hand, calling for dialogue between Syrian parties (?) and, on the other, exerting every effort in order to support the Syrian regime.
Iran’s strategy, as officials in Tehran keep repeating, is based on what it calls supporting the “Axis of Resistance” in the face of Israel and the West. Yet on the occasion of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which was originally formed to protect the peoples of its member-states from the repercussions of the Cold War between the two international poles at the time, Iran’s support has turned into a rift between the peoples of the “axis” it claims to defend.
Indeed, when it invites dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to the summit while at the same time inviting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, it widens the gap between the two Palestinian sides and complicates efforts to reach reconciliation between them, which reflects as misfortune for the Palestinian people and their cause, which Iran says it supports.
And when it puts forward an initiative for dialogue in Syria, regardless of its political ability to sponsor this kind of complex dialogue, it does this within the framework of its absolute support for the regime, which represents a strategic interest for it, as it says, making such an initiative stillborn from the onset. This in itself favors the tremendous social rift suffered by Syria.
Most likely Tehran realizes that its initiative bears such significance, and is putting it forward in order to deepen the social rift in its regional neighborhood, which represents the easy way to preserve its influence.
Indeed, Iran, which has failed to breach state institutions in the region, even in Lebanon where its military arm (Hezbollah) wields broad control, no longer has any other choice in order to maintain its strategy of expansion but to resort to the social rift in those countries and to wager on deepening it. Such a wager takes on a profiteering nature, as in the case of Palestine, as well as a confessional sectarian nature, as is the case in Syria and in other places.
This in itself dooms its purported initiative on the Syrian crisis to failure in advance. Indeed, when it speaks of dialogue that would in advance exclude that part of the opposition which is demanding to change the regime and its leaders, because the latter consider such opposition to be that of mere “subversive armed groups” acting under orders from abroad. It will thus have no participants left for such dialogue but the regime’s pawns, who were appointed members of the opposition when the protest movement erupted.
And when the Iranian regime fails to hold political dialogue with the members of its own opposition, who have sought to bring it to evolve peacefully, placing them under house arrest after having prosecuted and incarcerated them, it will not be able to sponsor dialogue in Syria, where the number of victims of the regime’s violence has reached about 25 thousand killed, in addition to the tens of thousands who have been incarcerated and the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced.
In other words, the level of violence reached by the Syrian crisis has made it very difficult to accept dialogue with a regime it would be more appropriate to take to court.
On the eve of the Non-Aligned Summit which is supposed to witness the launching of Tehran’s initiative, Iranian delegations flock to Damascus in order to organize political and logistical support – and perhaps human resources as well – for the regime, which is delving further and further into a barbaric military solution that does away with any peaceful initiative.