Mar 1, 2007

Unsettling Iran

The pending conflict between Iran and US has been making headlines, even more than before, in the past few weeks. Aircraft carriers moving into the Gulf, troop surges, hundreds of Iranians arrested in Iraq and the nuclear standoff had everyone speculating an imminent, inevitable US strike against Iran. Other say, an Israeli strike more likely. But of course everyone knows it isn't that easy, even for the Bush administration.

It has surfaced that US, along with Arab Sunni states afraid of Iranian influence, is supporting separatist movements to destabilize the Iranian regime. A large portion of Iran isn't Persian, there are Arabs in the south-west, Baluchis in the south-east, Kurds in west and Azeris in the north-west, these ethnic groups make up more than 40 percent of the population in Iran, only the Azeris are Shia. None of these are adequately represented in the government and are treated as second class citizens (apart from Azeris again). In the past two years the number of attacks on Iranian security have increased.

So far the situation isn't that worrying for Iran but if the attacks increase and the US, along with Sunni states, decide to push this, it could be disastrous for Iran. Arabs are also becoming more vocal in demanding more rights for Arab-Sunni minority in Iran.

2 comments:

eatbees said...

"It has surfaced that US, along with Arab Sunni states afraid of Iranian influence, is supporting separatist movements to destabilize the Iranian regime. ... In the past two years the number of attacks on Iranian security have increased."

Doesn't this mean the US is supporting terrorism, or at least, the type of activity it calls terrorism in other places (e.g. Hezbollah)? In Seymour Hersh's latest article in The New Yorker, he goes so far as to accuse the Saudis and Lebanese of funding groups allied with Al Qaeda, with U.S. blessing, to counter Iranian influence in the region.

I'm curious how people in your part of the world look at this battle of hegemons that is shaping up in your back yard. Is it necessary to take sides, or is there a way to escape that painful fate?

Abdurahman said...

In my view US never ceased supporting violent groups as long as it served its goals. The groups staging the attacks now in Iran have existed for a while - and some with a legitimate case - but were weak and penniless. With support from US, Iran will have a bigger problem to deal with. So far the groups staging these attacks are ethnic groups like Baluch and Arabs, they're only attacking Iranian military but there are reports that US is considering unleashing the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a much violent group.

The Arab public has been engulfed by the sectarian divide, most Arab Sunnis didn't know much about Shia and weren't particularly hostile to it but now, due to what's happening in Iraq, most Sunni Arabs are furious and angry of Shia and of course Iran.

Being in Qatar, a country with an American army command center and sharing a gas field with Iran, it makes the prospect of another US war, this time against Iran a very scary prospect indeed. However, it seems no one is really alarmed, at least not yet.