The GCC and Iran- Between Blindness and Hallucination
30 November 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
The American Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in an interview with The
Atlantic magazine blamed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of not opposing
Iran regionally. He said ''We see Iran everywhere, but we do not see a Gulf
presence''. Contrary to his observation, there are many articles in the
American press which state the opposite; Carol Giacomo wrote in the New York
Times that ''there is a Saudi obsession which imagines the presence of Iran
in all the events of the region''. Are the Gulf states afflicted with
blindness and do not see the danger of Iran, or do they suffer from
hallucinations of an Iran syndrome?
The reality is a bit of both; the Gulf states are in a state of multi-front
confrontation with Iran as they have been funding the opposition for the last
4 years in Syria. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are fighting its
biggest war against followers of Iran who forcefully seized power and took
members of the government hostage. Apart from this, there are other regions
of tension including Libya. At the time that the American Secretary of
Defence Ashton Carter casts blame, he also sees Iran present in every
troubled corner explicitly through its proxies. This includes Hezbollah, a
large Shi'ite organization that lives completely off Iranian funds and
weapons, the Sunni Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the extremist Shi'ite
religious opposition in Bahrain. The Ansar Allah group which the Iranians
founded along the lines of Hezbollah in northern Yemen on the borders of
Saudi Arabia is also an Iranian proxy in addition to many Iraqi organisations
that work for Iran such as Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and Hezbollah Iraq.
Iran has always been active in stirring up trouble in the region and has
whetted its appetite since the beginning of negotiations on the nuclear deal
with the west. It thinks that the west no longer wants to confront it apart
from its recent past.
However, contrary to what Carter's statement suggested, the tension does not
require raising the degree of confrontation with Iran. Certainly, managing
the crisis with Iran today is not easy at all and requires a bit of firmness
and a lot of wisdom.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers
of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He
is currently based in Dubai.