Iran’s strategy: Our Existence outside Our Borders Is an Internal Iranian Issue

Dr. Omer Abdulsattar
Advisor of New Iraq Center
Iran took advantage of the ongoing chaos in the region to exert enormous influence throughout the Middle East. This influence may last for several years unless the international military preparations in Syria break Iran’s superiority.
Iran proved during the last 40 years its ability to accompany with sectarian militias and the integration of theses militias in the armies and security forces of four Arab capitals.
The past 15 years gave Iran so many opportunities to expand its regional, political, and economic influence and to enhance its national security within the imagined borders of its neighboring countries, according to their strategy: our presence outside our borders is an internal Iranian issue.
Iran has benefited from the war against al-Qaeda and ISIS, and then has extended its dominance across Baghdad and Damascus to the Mediterranean. It is now preparing for a regional dominance, possibly over Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, perhaps with another version of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.
Trump’s possible withdraw from Syria, the increasing threat language between the international conflict parties in Syria after Doma’s chemical attack, whose objectives are still unclear, and the continuation of creative chaos will give Iran another chance, if it can survive.Especially since Macron has said that, these preparations will not affect one of Assad’s allies.
This requires Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in particular, to face the challenges of Iran’s survival this time with the prospect of having another ISIS, and the vision of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs) in Iraq becoming a revolutionary guard.
This is possible if Al-Abbadi failed to structure the PMFs, which represents a threat to regional security in general, and the Gulf, Turkish and Jordanian in particular.
After Iran took control over the Sunni Arab provinces and disputed areas, it is now deploying its militias on the borders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as a matter of fact.
Iran took control over the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, in addition tothe borders of Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It may go further toinvade Jordan, and cease the role of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Iran does not miss any opportunity to show its strength in front of its Arab and Turk rivals. It does so by creating chaos and taking advantage of the conflicts among Turkey, the Gulf countries and Jordan.
Iran helps Hamas and Islamic Jihad to obstruct the peace process that it sees as an American agenda to isolate Iran.
Iran’s Middle East policy was not limited to empowering the Shiites in the region and investing the opposition cause for its favor. Iran took advantage of the international need for security in the region to pass its expansionist agenda.
The international community must put an end to Iran’s role in destabilizing the region, but the aid Iran gave to the US while invading Iraq and Afghanistan enabled it to re-nominate itself as a regional police officer.
The emergence of cross-border armed religious factors after the attacks of September 11, 2001 has reduced the priority of confronting Iran, andhas increased the priority of confronting the threat of jihadist terrorism.
Iran has succeeded in avoiding direct confrontation with the US. It got support from its regional arms and minority alliance, and it was able to extend its influence over the region.
If Trump does not exit from the nuclear deal, and the sanctions on Iran have not been eased, Iran will further strengthen its influence in the Middle East and look directly at Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which will be its closest target.
Iran was successful in rooting Assad’s rule in Syria, and used Astana axis as a pressure in Syria. Jordan has become a closer target that will represent the fifth capital under the control of Iran.
The decision of relocating the US embassy and the threat of PMFs, Hezbollah, and the Iranian militia linked to the Quds Force are two sides of the same currency of Jordan’s challenges.
The brutal competition for influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia may worsen tensions in the region, especially as the threats of this war have crossed the border into Saudi cities.
While Iran (rival to the Saudi kingdom) is allied with Russia, Riyadh believes that it will confront Russia in case of any Russian military presence in Iran that presents a threat to its national security and vital interests.
The Saudi openness to Iraq meant to compete with Iran’s influence and did not mean to end Iran’s role in Iraq. It came too late after Iran took full control over Iraq and it became difficult to get out of Iraq unless Saudi Arabia uses the same exact military and political tools as of Iran’s.
The challenges facing Turkey from the PMFs are no less than the challenges facing Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The relationship between Ankara and Washington is strained, and there is a fierce competition between Ankara and Tehran in the region. Iran continued to expand further and deeper at the expense of Turkey in the region, and more particularly in Iraq and Syria.
We can say that the failure of the referendum in Kurdistan and the end of ISIS in Iraq has left Turkey and the region in its weakest since the Gulf War in 1991. At the time, Iran got a great push forward.
Although Iran has succeeded in one way or another in its own strategic goals, however, it has gained the enmity of people of the region.
Iran’s biggest strategic mistake is its dependence on Russia in some times and on America at other times to strengthen its tactical gains. It is therefore subject to be let down, especially in having a possible US-Russian deal that could isolate Iran and condemn it for sponsoring international terrorism.
But America’s uncertain policies with Iran, the possibility of Trump’s withdrawal from the region, and current preparations in Syria to disarm Bashar Assad from the chemical weapons may give Iran more space to expand further, and repeat Britain’s policy with Hitler again before World War II.
The concern is growing as we listen to Mohammed bin Salman, who is constantly pushing the West to modify the nuclear deal and prevent Iran from repeating Hitler’s experience in the Middle East to prevent a third world war.
This may mean that the region is facing Iran‘s influence for the next period of time. If this possibility comes true, the PMFs (the new Iraqi Revolutionary Guard) will have new battles against Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia during the next four years.
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