Iraq… a corridor of Iran to the Mediterranean Sea

Iraq… a corridor of Iran to the Mediterranean Sea

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On 12 of the current June , Iran has sent a new message to the United States through the « adoption » the success of the Syrian regular forces and allied militias in the access to the border with Iraq, as commander of the «Quds force» in «Revolutionary Guards» Qassem Soleimani appeared alongside armed elements belonging to the Afghan “Liwa Fatemiyoun” in a site to be assumed that it is located in the north of Tanf crossing point in the Syrian desert on the border with Iraq “south of Anbar,” after days of a similar appearance to the side of Iraqi «popular crowd» after arriving also to the borders of Syria “between Nineveh and Hasaka “. It is worth to be noted that his photographed appearance on both sides of the border aims to send a message to Americans who do not hide their intention to address the growing influence of groups linked to Iran in Iraq and Syria.

In the context of that letter, the Iranian agency of “Tasnim” published, a photograph to show the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qassem Soleimani, accompanied by members of the Shiite militias, Afghani “Liwa Fatemiyoun” , in the Syrian desert. And the agency said, close to the “Revolutionary Guards”, that the Afghani militia of “Fatemiyoun” is accompanying the forces of Syrian army in the Syrian desert battles. And the agency pointed out that the commander of the “Quds Force” in the “Revolutionary Guard,” Qassem Soleimani accompanied the progress of the reserve militia from the Syrian Desert to the border with Iraq. The agency added that the militia created by the Revolutionary Guards launched its operations to support “the Syrian army and the forces of resistance to move to the Iraqi-Syrian border.” According to the agency’s report, “the militia and its allies in the resistance and the Syrian army have succeeded two days ago in reaching the Iraqi-Syrian border, smashing the American lines that the US was trying to impose them through raids.” The agency published photographs showing Soleimani, classified in the US black list, praying with the Afghan elements.

Observers wonder how can the Americans who are heavily present in this side to overlook about such progress. This appearance comes after days of a similar appearance to the side of Iraqi «popular crowd» after arriving also to the borders of Syria between Nineveh and Hasaka.

The photographs of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, published, send a group of focused messages «To Whom It May Concern», especially the Americans, Arab and regional powers, first and foremost, of course, the main adversary to Iran, Saudi Arabia. The emergence of Soleimani is the beginning of a symbolic military victory of Iran posed by the arrival of its forces and organizations affiliated to it to the Syrian – Iraqi border alongside with the great rise of its allies from the Iraqi militias «popular crowd» approaching to the seizure of the city of Mosul noting that some of it also exceeded the Syrian – Iraqi border, prompting a warning from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, demanding it to stop.

Soleimani chose for his movement to accompany the organization of «Fatimides» of Afghani Shiites and it is also another symbolic announcement of the expansion of the «empire» of Iran, starting from the areas of its influence inside Afghanistan debilitated by conflicts, and using them in its wars of an immense human power include of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, through Iraq, Syria who are marginalized and smashed by bombing, death, arrests and mass displacement, leading to Lebanon, where its strong ally «Hezbollah» extends its military dominance on the street and sheds its big shadow on the presidency and the institutions of parliament and the government.

Iran is overlooking two seas, the first, the Caspian, or the so-called Sea of the Caspian from the south, and shared by Russia from the northwest and Kazakhstan from the north and east, as this sea is bordered byTurkmenistan from the east and Azerbaijan from the west, and other countries took advantage from it as a strategic passage for them and for its resources to Turkey and southern Europe. Iran is the major actor in this region, and its importance may be increased in future because it enjoys with unique features , the most important of it are the immense wealth and geographical location, which already makes it the best corridor and the less cost of oil and gas of the Caspian Sea to the rest of the world, especially as it equipped itself well with facilities for the oil industry on the South Sea Beach, It owns a pipeline network that is the wider in the Middle East, and can be easily extended to any neighboring country. But many of these opportunities are faced with more constraints against Iran, which the United States is working to isolate it politically, economically and even militarily by using the soft power, not only in the Middle East, but also in Central Asia. There is an international and regional equations are working in favor of isolating or at least curtail the role of Iran in the territory of the Caspian Sea, and on the other hand, there is an Iranian-Russian-Chinese awareness of the importance of joint cooperation to prevent the United States from the domination of this region; therefore the Caspian Sea resources and the difference on the water division pose the future challenges to Iran.

The second Aligns Gulf Arab states and is characterized by narrow corridors to reach the Arabian Sea, which opens sea routes to Pakistan, India and Indonesia, on the one hand, and to Saudi Arabia and Africa on the other. Moreover, the emergence of several elements since the Iranian revolution I 1979 that pushed Gulf- Iranian relations towards more jarring and obsessing, and with the accumulation of such incidents and the interaction between the two sides, the gap is widened. Those elements are cultural and religious ones in addition of political or security factors, and also due to factors caused by the foreign parties.
The most prominent causes of divergence between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council:
1. Sectarian differences between the Sunni sect, which is embraced by the majority of the peoples of the Arab Gulf states, and Shiite doctrine adopted by Iran.

2. The presence of US troops in the Gulf region since the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, a presence has been increased and Iran has been looking at it with fear and wariness.

3. Iranian strictness over the issue of the UAE islands to the point of refusing to cooperate with the tripartite committee formed by the Gulf Cooperation Council to mediate between Tehran and Abu Dhabi.

4. Iran’s support in 2001, the Venezuelan candidate for the secretariat of OPEC against the Saudi most likely candidate.
And Iran’s repeated criticism of the closing statements issued by the tops of the GCC countries to contain the data to condemn it because of its insistence on the occupation of the three UAE islands.

5. To conduct huge naval maneuvers, sometimes in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.
6-proxy war raging between Iran and Saudi Arabia in several Arab countries, most notably Syria and Yemen.

Iranian corridor towards the Mediterranean opens a wide range and cheap of the Iranian movement of oil, gas and goods to Europe and the countries of North Africa, and this is one of the reasons to consider what has been done a major strategic achievement for Tehran, on economic, military and political levels. Therefore a desert stretching from central Syria to the Iraqi border constitute a strategic importance to Tehran where it is through it , its forces in Syria can be supplied with arms and elements if necessary . Iran puts its weight in the battle of the Syrian Desert, where Iran sent the commander of al-Quds forces, foreign arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani to oversee the process there. According to military experts and strategists that the desert is the cornerstone of the project of the Iranian security belt, which starts from Iraq and Syria, and passes up to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea and therefore it is necessary to control it according to the Iranian vision.

It is noted that prayers of Soleimani in the border, associated with the «Brand» of «Fatimids» did not come in vain, it carries an important ideological and tactical idea he also wants to deliver it, through restoring the symbolism of the Fatimid caliphate, which opened Egypt in 969 (358 AH) and founded the city of Cairo, and its influence was spread from Morocco to Persia. Parallel to the scene of Soleimani, it was quoted by media «close to the Syrian regime» for Igor Matviev, head of the commercial and economic attaché at the Russian embassy in Damascus saying that Moscow is going to use the Syrian border as »corridor» with Iraq and other countries, a statement reveals, as it is clear, that Iran opens the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Iranian Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies