The Iranian-American relationship is witnessing great strife in the midst of a war of words that is feared to turn into a real war. Experts believe that the Arab region will have dire consequences in the event of any war between Tehran and Washington. The verbal threats on Twitter between US President Trump and the Iranian government have put Arab environment in a state of anticipation and caution, especially after the Iranian response that if the battle was taken place it would be the “mother of battles” and warns Washington from “playing with fire.”
Experts in international relations believe that the scenario of the war is certain that there are factors that may play in favor of the outbreak. Including the announcement of Trump the withdrawal of US forces from north-east Syria and the severe internal pressure on him, as well as successive investigations concerning the corruption of the Israeli Prime Minister, which ended in early Israeli elections in April. War may be a factor to vent from these pressures, experts say. But they add that all parties do not want a full-scale war because everyone understands the cost of it pointing out that the United States may turn a blind eye to a limited war; for example, Israel would destroy Iranian or pro-Iranian forces in Syria or Lebanon. They assert that Iran will be cautious in its actions at first, and that it will not use its threats to close the Strait of Hormuz – as a first step at least – unless it is attacked, because it knows that such action will be used as a card to escalate against it.
They believe that any possible war between Iran and the United States would have serious consequences for the Arab world. Stressing that if this war took place, a big rift would emerge within the Arab countries, so that there would be three different political camps.
The first camp, according to experts, includes the Gulf States, most notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which will be in the American ditch, and will inevitably; stand by the United States in the war. Even if Israel participated, that would not change its position. Israeli planes will fly through Arab airspace, including Jordan, to bomb Iran, experts said. They believe that for Qatar, despite the wide divergence of political position between it and Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE, it has no other option, especially that it embraces a major US base in the Arab region. Jordan may also be a special participant under strong US and Gulf pressure.
The second camp will include countries that reject this war against Iran and refuse to stand by Israel. The most prominent of these are Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. For Palestine, this may be particularly understandable under Israeli intervention, but other countries will witness pro-Iranian military moves, particularly in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
The third camp: It will be composed of several countries that will try to distance themselves from this problem, so that they will avoid making any statements and will not adopt any positions and the most prominent of these countries are Morocco and Tunisia.
* International political analysis of the next war
They see that the mutual verbal escalation between Washington and Tehran reflects very worrying trends in US policy towards Iran, where the idea of regime change has been established in Washington. They see that this policy may drag the war to the region in the end. Such a war would be a humanitarian and political disaster of global dimensions. In this context, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger expressed his opinion on regional and international developments by saying: “The Third World War is on the door and Iran will be the start of that war.” Kissinger added that “The drums of war are already ringing in the Middle East, and only the deaf are those who do not hear them.”
The American politician and researcher Richard Haas stopped in front of the scene of the Middle East region during the New Year, in an interview with an American channel, saying that “it is the basic laws in the Middle East to get things worse before it gets worse.” Haas said also in an interview with MSNBC Channel “”I think we’ll see that .I bet that if a serious war breaks out in 2019, it will not be with South Korea or even the South China Sea. We can not predict what Mr. Putin will do in Ukraine, but I bet on Iran, whether it comes after a confrontation with Israel, or something Saudi Arabia does, aimed at diverting attention as a killer for the Journalist and its emergence as a necessary partner against Iran or may be it comes from Iran itself because of the pressure it feels because of the sanctions. Haas, director of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department said “In my view, there will be a war, even if I am wrong and nothing happens, I think that over the next two years, we have to imagine the return of terrorism. Syria will never return to where it was . We see increased fighting there. Sooner or later, the possibility of other countries resorting to nuclear weapons such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey , not to be ruled out . “The current Middle East scene is seen by Haas as follows:” All directions are in a bad situation right now, we are looking at a world where borders do not mean anything . There are no serious negotiations , countries start to collapse from inside. “He said at the end of his speech that” what happens there (in the Middle East) will not remain there, it is not Las Vegas. The problems in the Middle East have the potential to spread to all parts of the world. ”
From the point of view of experts of international relations, the potential war will be devastating. The goal is not a ground invasion of Iran. It will change the status quo and, in their view, the United States will bet that destruction will bring about a change in the existing regime. “Washington has sent several verbal messages that the American move will be bigger than some would imagine. Which shows the magnitude of the expected destruction, especially given the size of the bombs used by the US government in Afghanistan, which amounted to several tons of a single bomb. They believe that Iran will spare no effort to use all its weapons, which it has said more than once. “Iran is aware that this battle will be the last of the battles in the region and will try to strike with all its efforts. The fields will be open to Iranian missiles, such as American bases, Arab capitals as well as Israel.” “Iran will try to move its arms in the Arab region to attack its opponents, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and it is not ruled out absolutely that Hezbollah and the Syrian government will be active in activating the southern front of Israel.”
The question that arises in this context, which preoccupied the centers of thought and international research, will the US withdrawal from Syria be followed by the withdrawal from Iraq?
After the visit of US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania to the US military base west of Anbar province in Iraq on December 26, 2018, there were reports talking about the number of US bases in the world, including Iraq. A report of one of the famous American sites Saturday 29 December revealed , the presence of more than 10 US military bases of many tasks in Iraq, which vary among the 800 bases around the world controlled by America on world affairs and with regard to Iraq, the bases were distributed in the north and west and central Iraq. The report mentions an agreement between the Kurds and the United States in 2014, establishing the last 5 bases in northern Iraq under the full control of the Americans which are distributed as follows: two bases in the city of Halabja, Sulaimaniya province near the border with Iran, a base in the areas of Atrush and Harir , Sinjar base , AltunKupri base that belongs to Kirkuk province disputed with Baghdad as well as that the base of Kirkuk “Range” is a model camp for military rehabilitation and training in addition that the United States has also established a large base for its forces at the Qayara military airport south of Mosul. As for the center of Iraq, the United States took from the air base of Balad in the province of Salah al-Din as HQ for it , for the F-16, as well as another base in Camp of Taji north of Baghdad to train Iraqi forces . Even in the capital Baghdad, there is a US base within the borders of the international airport which is called Victory Base (al-Naser base ), used for intelligence, investigations, control and command. Finally, western Iraq, where the United States has taken two major military bases in Anbar province, the first was visited by Trump “Ain al-Assad” and the second is “Habbaniyah” in the district of al-Baghdadi, they are important bases to secure Israel being on the borders of Jordan and Syria, it is remarkable that among all these American bases deployed in the world, Trump has not visited other western Iraq, as if giving a clear message that this base is a starting point and preparations for operations in the near future as well as these bases are more likely to be increased which denies any intention to withdraw from Iraq. Despite the multiple US military bases in Iraq, the Trump administration will not maintain a large military force in Iraq, but will retain a few but strong, quality and active in Iraq.
Trump announced his intention to withdraw his forces from Syria and his sudden and secret visit to his base in Ain al-Asad, west of Ramadi, and his assertion that this base may be used in any attacks against the organization of the Islamic State , ISIS , all reflect the features of the US plan in the new year and its stations Washington is not willing to fight ISIS in Syria or Iraq, but rather to prepare for any possible confrontation with Iran at the incitement of Israel and wants to prepare its bases whether in Iraq or in the Gulf region, especially in Qatar (Al-Aydid), Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait .
Kurdistan Region of Iraq
In addition to the military bases in Iraq, there is the camp “Hariri” and “Batas” which is under the control of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the party is now in an enviable situation under the pressure of the US and Iran, if the party bow to Iranian pressure, thus losing US support and the support of Israel and the West, and if the party stood with Washington, Tehran will support the Kurdish forces opposed to it to weaken him, in this context , Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies has obtained the information which is very important that there is a request to Massoud Barzani that this camp poses a major threat to the Kurdistan region and a solution should be found .
Is Tehran succeeding in closing this camp, or is Washington succeeding in maintaining it ? The importance of this camp to the American side and the Iranian fears of it, that it includes special forces, aircraft and an airport, the closest American camp west of the Iranian border. Therefore, this camp is so much concerned about Tehran, so it is possible to be used to wage war against it , this camp is under the command of Washington.
The question arises in this context: Is the region really going to war?
The calm in Yemen and the withdrawal from Syria and soon from Afghanistan, is the process of concentrating efforts towards one destination … Prepare to ignite fire in a wider area because it is an American-Israeli necessity, related to the American insider and a long-term strategy to weaken the Russian presence in the Middle East by striking its ally Iran “axis of evil.” Some see that the withdrawals of US forces from Iran’s neighbors are a sign of weakness and decline, while at Feryl Center , they see a recalculation and an indication of the new plan.
The United States is moving its troops away from open fields , easy-to-catch , which do not have a full air cover, and small groups can hunt down US soldiers with medium weapons. They also close down small military bases that are not fully equipped, and join them to large bases with full protection. There is no doubt that the war in Syria caused the decline of US control over the Middle East with the entry of the main Russian player, and the Iranian infiltration which reached Bab al-Mandeb … This is something that hardliners of Washington and the Tel Aviv rulers can not accept it and keep silent about, so we do not see that the superpower surrendered, but moved to a new stage of gradual escalation by all means.
To encircle Iran from the four sides
The news from the eastern neighbor of Iran is not good . The Taliban movement met with the Kabul government and met US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad under the auspices of a “Gulf.” The talk focused on the exit of US troops from Afghanistan. What is happening is the gathering of thousands of fighters from the movement near the Iranian border and the establishment of camps in Helmand and Farah. It is enough to know that the Afghan government controls only 55% of the land at the end of 2018, compared to 73% in 2015! The rest of the territory is controlled by al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and ISIS .
The danger is not only from the Taliban, which the center of Feryl which estimated the number of its fighters with 75 thousand ….. The coming danger is from ISIS also ! Many wonder where are tens of thousands of terrorists who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq? Are they “evaporated”? The Férill Center estimates that between 7 and 10,000 of them have spread in eastern and western Afghanistan.
It is not a word of the moment. The speech was made by the spokesman of the organization of ISIS Abu Muhammad al-Adanani on January 26, 2015, when he called the “Islamic Caliphate State” in that region the name of “Khorasan” and includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran and announced their loyalty to “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “…. ISIS. is a strongly existed in the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan and is growing rapidly with joining of terrorists from various countries, including neighboring Pakistan.
The “popular” movement and demonstrations in Iran must be expanded to coincide with armed movements from within and outside Iran, where the organizations we have identified will choose the areas with the weakest security coverage, particularly in the northeast. In northwestern Iran, military action is taking place among the Kurds , while the popular movement will be supported by the Gulf states in Ahwaz and others. It is recognized that Hezbollah is among the group of targets, the Israeli threats and the escalation of southern Lebanon between the responses, but Israel’s calculations are limited to reaching the goal and it is aimed at the escalation of the media only, because it is incapable of defeating Hezbollah alone.
The withdrawal of the US military from Syria and its abandonment of the “younger” client “Qasad ” , in favor of the big client in Ankara, is a clear movement, with the aim of keeping away from the Russians and using Turkish influence in the countries of northern Iran and southern Russia, the Caspian states.
The survival of Mohammed bin Salman will not be free, and therefore he has to support the Arab NATO against Iran, and move militarily and set fire to it. Economic sanctions, withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, internal unrest and armed movement, besieging Iran from all sides, waiting for the right opportunity to attack. This is the title of the next stage and what we see from our reading of the events … Does Iran have a counter plan? Certainly. Can it protect itself ? Yes . Let us watch and see what 2019 will give us
On the other hand, Iran empowered and authorized the Palestinian Islamic Jihad delegation visiting Tehran to engage the Iraqi Shiite militias, under al-Quds command and Hezbollah , to the joint terrorist operations command in the Gaza Strip, according to reports from intelligence and military sources reported by the Israeli intelligence site (Debka Files) and it was decided to move forward to activate the expanded operations room only in the event of a large-scale Palestinian-Israeli war on the Gaza Strip that it serves as a supportive second front. The Palestinian Jihad delegation, who is running talks with senior Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini , is headed by General Commander Ziad Rashid Nakhalah and director of the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Hindi.
Their decisions prompted Israeli Military Intelligence chief (AMAN) , Major General Tamir Hayman, to warn on Monday, December 31, that Iran had acquired the capacity to launch attacks on Israel from inside Iraqi territory.
Nakhala referred to the Iran backed terrorist movement’s expanded capacity in an interview with the Iranian state TV. He said : Iran and Hezbullah are no longer bound by red lines. “There are no longer any red lines between Iran and Hezbollah,” Henceforth, there are no limits to the scope and depth of cooperation between Islamic Jihad, Iran and Hezbollah.
The Palestinian Jihad leader went on to boast of the improved precision of the groups ‘s new rockets , 5030 of which were fired against Israel, during a massive barrage of Jihad and Hamas fired from the Gaza Strip on November 12 and 13, referring to the “Ashkelon” rockets , capable of carrying warheads of an estimated between (200-500) kg, and with a range of up to 10 kilometers. The Israeli military sources (DEBAKA files) identified this weapon as an “improved Grad fitted with a target –marking system.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told his Palestinian visitors that the two-day barrage of fire last November and subsequent clashes had proved that the IDF was no longer able to withstand the blows of the Palestinian resistance, adding that during the past two wars, The Zionist regime called for a truce after 22 days of confrontation, on one occasion, and after another eight days, but in the recent confrontations, Israel demanded a cease-fire after only 48 hours. The Palestinian delegation also met with National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani and held secret conferences with senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The US administration is currently concerned about the rapid development of Iran’s ballistic missile program and Iran’s announcement of its intention to launch a range of these missiles into space carrying spy satellites, prompting Pompeo to issue a strong warning to the Iranian leadership to back down from the move on which he said that it violates the decisions of the Security Council. Iran, having succeeded in developing the ballistic missile industry of different dimensions and sizes, and effectively canceled the effect of American and Israeli air superiority , Iran has moved to develop its maritime military industries, from submarine manufacturing to the construction of highly efficient naval destroyers, which has enabled it to destabilize the dominance of US aircraft carriers in the Gulf, the Indian Ocean and Bab al-Mandab in one form or another. The Iranian maritime challenge comes by Admiral Turj Hosny, assistant commander of the Iranian Navy when he announced his country’s intention, and according to instructions from the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to send destroyer, “Sahand” helicopter carrier in addition of other destroyers to the west of Atlantic in response to the US sending an aircraft carrier to the Gulf . The destroyer ,Sahand , is a local industry that it is difficult to be detected by radars, equipped with surface-to-air missiles, and other anti-aircraft, equipped to fight any potential electronic war , and thus Iran became the fourth navy force made the move after the Soviet Union, China, and the Russian Federation (sent bombers carrying nuclear bombs to Venezuela a month ago). US military command takes threats of Iran seriously noting when the Iranian Supreme Leader, General Qassem Soleimani, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if a total US embargo was imposed on its oil exports, President Trump’s administration declined from these threats under the pretext of ” To give eight countries exemptions, and allow them to continue to import Iranian oil, ironically that the rate of oil exports to India, China, Turkey and Europe are still as they were and not affected. We do not know the details of the task to be borne by Pompio to the Gulf and the Arab states (Egypt and Jordan), what roles will be distributed to these eight countries, and whether the visit of his colleague John Bolton, national security adviser to Tel Aviv, which began today, is a complement for this tour, and reflect the exchange of roles between them, noting the inclusion of Israel to the Pompeo’s tour may be embarrassing for the eight Arab countries that will include it, and Israel will appear as a member of the developed Arab NATO, especially since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi revealed in his controversial interview with the : US CBS “Israeli aircrafts cooperate with its Egyptian counterparts and bombed the positions of” ISIS “in Sinai.
The question arises in this context : what are the roles to be played by the countries of the region in case of war?
It will not be a party “in it, it will have limited role during the battles to address the missiles that may pass through the airspace … The evidence of the Patriot systems that were delivered hastily to Turkey … And the approval of America on the Russian S-400 missiles to Turkey, Turkey will act as it acted with the US invasion of Iraq in March In 2003, it will announce that it will not provide any logistical assistance to America, knowing that “America will not need, as did not need during the invasion of Iraq, the presence of Turkey in the east of the Euphrates, will be to gather forces of ISIS and the opening of safe corridors to go to Iran and Afghanistan, to complete the last page of Project of creative chaos, and start a project of the division of the region, Iraq will be immune from operations of ISIS. US forces will be in direct confrontation with the Iraqi militias, which will be divided between the factions in Iraq, and factions in Syria, if Russia allowed , and factions in Iran, if necessary.
It will take the task of neutralizing Hezbollah in Lebanon with a preemptive strike. If it develops, and the balance in favor of Israe then Hezbollah will be eradicated or the matter will be only to keep Hezbullah in its bases and prevent it from providing any support to Iran or disturbing the assault forces that will carry out its missions in Iran on Land , Sea “or” air “. “This war is perceived by an Israeli general as a potential threat from Iraq as Iranian influence grows. Iran could use its growing influence in Iraq and turn it into a springboard and base for an attack against Israel,” Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Monday. Israel sees the spread of Tehran’s influence in the region which poses a growing threat and has carried out scores of air strikes in civil war –torn Syria against suspected military deployments and arms deliveries by Iranian forces supporting Damascus .
Iraq, which does not share borders with Israel, is technically its enemy but was last an open threat in the 1991 Gulf War. Since the US-led invasion in 2003, in which Saddam Hussein president , a Sunni Muslim , was overthrown, Israel has been concerned about Shiite majority in Iraq, who tend toward Iran. Iraq is now under the growing influence of the Qods Force (covert Iranian foreign operations unit), the head of Israeli intelligence, Major General Tamir Hayman, told a conference in Tel Aviv.
Hayman said that the Iranians may see in Iraq with the decision of US President Donad Trump to withdraw his forces from the region, a suitable arena for entrenchment and fortification, as they did in Syria, and use it – Iraq – as a platform to build up the force that could also threaten the State of Israel. Prime Minister of Iraq on Sunday said , that security officials from Baghdad have met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, and hinted at the role of a greater Iraqi in the fight against the militias of the organization ISIS , while the withdrawal of US troops. Citing Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources ,, reported by Reuters in August, that Iran Has moved short-range ballistic missiles to its Shiite allies in Iraq, and Baghdad has denied the findings. The following week , Israel has indicated that it may attack such sites in Iraq, asserting that its current focus is on Syria as part of a large-scale and effective campaign. Hayman predicted that the year of 2019 would bring “a significant change” in Syria, where Assad would have managed to defeat the rebels “We are closely watching this growing Iranian presence as stability returns to Syria under the Russian umbrella. Israel has also been monitoring Iranian behavior since the withdrawal of the Trump from the nuclear agreement with Iran, which was concluded In May 2015, and then re-imposed US sanctions, that the deal placed restrictions on bomb-making projects, although Iran denied the existence of such designs, and both Trump and Israel see these restrictions are insufficient . Hayman added : “We assess that Iran will strive to stay within the deal and will do everything in order to find ways of circumventing the American sanctions” . It may be helped by the growing role of the Popular crowd in Iraq and its power largely demonstrated by its control over state institutions to become an economic, political and military power capable of producing weapons.
In the event of a war between the United States of America , its allies, and Iran and its allies in the geography stretching from Afghanistan to North Africa, the Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies see that this war will drag Iraq into its quagmire. Iraq is , as it is known, under Iranian influence, and with this influence Iraq will turn into an Iranian missile base against targets of the United States and its allies, and this matter ,if it is happened , the area, Iraq and the region would be in the face of disaster. Therefore, it must be avoided by all possible means to prevent its occurrence. Therefore, it requires the Iraqi leadership to deal with the state of conflict between Washington and Tehran wisely, and strongly also to avoid this disastrous scene. Because if the war between Washington and Tehran takes place, Iraq will be its theater.
International Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies