Iranian-GCC Reconciliation: Determinants of success and failure

https://rasanah-iiis.org/english/?p=83

ByMohammed Alsulami

Post revolution Iran began to intervene in Arab internal affairs since the first year of popular revolution victory that was hijacked by the mullahs.
At the beginning, Iran used the hard power during Iraqi war that extended from 1980 to 1988 failing to achieve its objectives. As result, Khomeini was obliged to sign a treaty to bring the war an end after his rejection of it in 1984, saying, “I am swallowing a cup of poison”, with the signing of this treatment. The war completely exhausted Iran economically, politically and militarily. , Iran needed to get out of the crisis by ”soft power” cultural diplomatic technique laying on civilizational commonalities in the second term of President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 1993-1997, and in the stage of former President Mohammad Khatami, 1997 to 2005.
This stage witnessed the most dangerous stage of the Iranian incursion in the Arab inside. Therefore, it invested the systematic openness stage on the Arab and Islamic world to plant its cells and to stay put in these countries. To put these cells Iran hid behind the diplomatic open face callings for the dialogue of civilizations and the exhibitions of Iranian products that roamed throughout Arab and Gulf capitals.
In this stage, Iran also has concentrated on establishing and activating the so-called cultural centres ran by security officials affiliated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that were not linked to the Ministry of Education, Foreign Affairs nor to Iranian diplomatic missions in those countries but linked directly to the Supreme Leader’s office.
These centres have worked hard to intensify activities and events as a camouflage cover for the objectives of recruitment polarization and ideologicalization.
This stage also witnessed some Iranian cooperation with the United States and some Western countries aiming to to facilitate the process of Afghanistan invasion in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. ; Mohammad Abtahi, vice president of Khatami has spoken frankly on this issue saying, “Kabul and Baghdad would not be fallen without Iran.”
At the end of the stage, there is also major trick for the Arab street that is thirsty for victories through Iran’s arm in Lebanon, Hezbollah, and so-called “war of July 2006”. The war exhausted and destroyed Lebanon bringing no gains for Lebanon but for the Iranian. This took place in front of large groups of Arabs who went clapping for Iran before the revelation of the truth with the beginning of the so-called “Arab spring.” By the stage of political turmoil in the Arab region since 2011, Iran used the hard power policy, once again, even via Proxy Wars. , And to rely on armed Shiite militias in the Arab region, the sectarian speech, playing on Shiite injustice, as well as moving some of its dormant cells and large intelligence activities through the Iranian spy cells in the region. , The Arab Gulf states witnessed the dismantling many cells of these spy networks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Yemen.
Iran also proceeded to support the Houthi movement in Yemen by weapons, money, and men at some point before the start of Operation Decisive Storm. Iran also stepped up activities in Bahrain and Kuwait during this stage.

Arab Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia sensed the seriousness of Iranian interference and attempting to surround the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, the process of trimming the nails of Iran in the region started in Yemen, and moving now to oblige Iran retreat and reduce its existence in Iraq and Levant.
The Arab austere and serious move led the Iranian regime to a strategy might be called “bending to storm,” and to absorb the Arab and Gulf enthusiasm to blockade Iran’s existence in the region. Tehran outcome with minimal losses this was during the talk about sending Iranian Intelligence Minister to a Gulf State, and asking it to play the role of mediator among most of Arab Gulf states. , The purpose was to overcome conflicts between the two sides and to open a new page in the inter-relationships. Yet, despite the fact that this Gulf State itself damaged from the Iranian interference, and we do not know if this state responded to Iran’s demand or rejected it.
There is no doubt that everyone wants a good relationship between the states of Arab Gulf’s banks, and peaceful coexistence between Iran and the geographical surrounding, Arab world in particular, the need now is not for media campaigns, soft political speeches and opalescent diplomacy, but to wait for Iranian serious steps to gain confidence which is historically shaky, and to change the sectarian and provocative behaviour pursued by Tehran in different ways, since 1979.
President Hassan Rawhani working to repeat the ”Khatami” experience, and his success was possible, but the conditions of the region and the exposure of the Iranian targets prevented that, however, he remained playing in media on the convergence cylinder and the fighting against terrorism and so on.
As said, ”the believer do not be bitten twice from the same hole”, therefore everyone saturated of promises “Which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger” while waiting for real steps to prove the seriousness of Iran, and actually turned to a normal country would like to improve relations with the world and the region, also abandoned the expansionist projects, inciting sectarian conflicts and supporting terrorism.
Khomeini considered Saudi Arabia as the first enemy of Iran, saying before his death, “if we give up Jerusalem, passed the dispute with the United States and reconciled with Saddam, we would not do the same with Saudi Arabia,” Is Iran really changed after softening its tone of hostility toward Israel, and abandoned the slogans of “Great Satan” ?. More importantly, Iran actually abandoned the literatures of Khomeini, his hostile legacy, and intentions toward Bahrain, and the attempts of just seeking to reconciliation as it did with Saddam, then to retaliate with Western help in a special sectarian technique.
Current Iran should prove the change of its former conduct in deeds not in words. Personally, I often doubt if this policy forms oxygen supply for the Iranian regime to survive; but I hope I am wrong.

Mohammed Alsulami
Mohammed Alsulami
Head of Rasanah: International Institute for Iranian Studies