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Sunday, July 19, 2015

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.
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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.
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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?

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