Sunni Gulf States critical of Iran deal
The Sunni states in the Persian Gulf are extremely critical of the Iran nuclear sellout. But less because of the nuclear issue than because of the release of sanctions and the lack of restrictions on Iran's terror support
. You know, the things Obama-Kerry decided were 'less important
.' This is from the first link and it's from Jonathan Spyer.
“Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states can only welcome the nuclear deal,
which in itself is supposed to close the gates of evil that Iran had
opened in the region. However, the real concern is that the deal will
open other gates of evil, gates which Iran mastered knocking at for
years even while Western sanctions were still in place.”
From this perspective a particularly notable and dismaying aspect of
the deal is its removal of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and
its Quds Force commander, Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani, from the list of
those subject to sanctions by the West.
The ending of sanctions on the IRGC, and more broadly the likely
imminent freeing of up to $150 billion in frozen revenue, will enable
Iran to massively increase its aid to its long list of regional clients
and proxies. Iran today is heavily engaged in at least five conflict
arenas in the region.
In Syria, beleaguered dictator and Iranian client Assad remains in
control in the west and south largely because of Iranian support and
assistance – up to $1b. per month, according to some estimates. For as
long as Assad remains, the war remains, allowing such monstrous entities
as Islamic State and al-Qaida to flourish.
In Iraq, the Iranian-supported Shi’ite militias of the Hashd
al-Shaabi are playing the key role in defending Baghdad from the advance
of Islamic State. These militias are trained and financed by the
Revolutionary Guards and organized by Soleimani and his Iraqi right-hand
man, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, also thought to be an IRGC member.
In Yemen, the Iranians are offering arms and support to the Ansar
Allah, or Houthi rebels, who are engaged in a bloody insurgency against
the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Among the Palestinians, Tehran operates Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a
client/proxy organization, and is in the process of rebuilding
relations with the Izzadin Kassam, the powerful military wing of Hamas.
All this costs money. In a pattern familiar to the experience of
totalitarian regimes under sanctions in the past, Iran has preferred to
safeguard monies for use in service of its regional ambitions, while
allowing its population – other than those connected to the regime – to
suffer the consequent shortages.
Still, in recent months, things weren’t going so well. Assad has been
losing ground to the Sunni rebels. Hezbollah has been hemorrhaging men
in Syria. The Shi’ite militias were holding Islamic State in Iraq but
not advancing. Saudi intervention was holding back further advances by
the Houthis in Yemen. Hamas was looking poverty-stricken and beleaguered
in its Gaza redoubt.
The sanctions, plus these many commitments, were bringing the Iranian
regime close to an economic crisis that would have confronted the
regime with the hard choice of lessening its regional interference or
facing the consequences.
No longer. The deal over the nuclear program is set to enable Tehran
to shore up its investments, providing more money and guns to all its
friends across the Middle East, who will as a result grow stronger,
bolder and more ambitious. This, from the point of view of the main
powers in the Sunni Arab world, is the key fallout (so to speak) from
the deal concluded in Vienna. IRGC “outreach” to Shi’ite minorities in
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and to the Shi’ite majority in Bahrain, is also
likely to increase as a result of the windfall.
Similarly, in Lebanon the West is supporting and equipping the Lebanese
Armed Forces, without understanding that the Lebanese state is largely a
shell, within which Hezbollah is the living and directing force. In
Syria, the US is pursuing a half-hearted campaign against Islamic State,
while leaving the rest of the country to its internal dynamics.
What could go wrong?
Labels: Hezbullah, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Lebanon, P 5+1, Persian Gulf, Qassem Suleimani, Saudi Arabia, Shiites v. Sunnis, Sunni, terrorism