Iran has summoned the United Arab Emirates’ chargé d’affaires in Tehran to protest that the UAE allowed the US to use its Al-Dhafra base in UAE to launch the Global Hawk surveillance drone (worth some $130 million) that was downed on the 20thof June by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) air defence missile system. The Iranian message was clear: this is not a diplomatic gesture and complaint but a straight warning that any country hosting a US military base which allows a hostile military action against Iran will be considered under attack, along with the US base it is accommodating.
Iran is informing Arab countries that any US attack starting from any neighbouring or Middle Eastern country will be considered an act of war by the country itself, in the words of a high ranking IRGC officer. The IRGC – recently designated a terrorist organisation by the US State Department – is the force in charge of protecting the Strait of Hormuz, and is coordinating on a varying scale with the regular Army intending to stand against the US in case of war.
The Pentagon recently announced that it is sending a squadron of US F-15E Strike Eagles to the region, in response to the attack on two oil tankers earlier this month in the Gulf of Oman. In response to the non-downing of the P-8 on June 20, Trump announced the imposition of what he called “significant additional sanctions” against the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei and pre-announced that the Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif will also be included, closing the path to diplomacy between the US and Iran.
Moreover, the US claim it has conducted a cyber-attack on Iranian weapon systems on Thursday, an act of cyber-warfare that apparently disabled the Iranian computer systems that control its missile launchers.
The IRGC source said the tension “is far from being over, on the contrary, it might just be starting. Trump is increasing the sanctions and we shall increase the tensions. Let us see where all this will lead the US. One thing is certain: if we don’t export our oil, no country will.”
The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei told the political and military leaders, during a private meeting, that “the enemy and our friends, even those among our allies with soft trembling hearts (afraid of the US), should know that we are not seekers of war but that Iran has no fear to go to the battlefield. People should know that we and our allies are strong and we have many surprises to hit our enemies with. In Lebanon 2006, a small group (Hezbollah) was victorious over a much larger entity because Israel ignored the capability of the resistance. The US seems to be ignorant of our military capabilities- but, it seems that, like us, Trump doesn’t want the war. Nevertheless, if war takes place, for every hit Iran receives, we shall launch ten hits in retaliation”.
The Middle East is sitting on some kind of a barrel of gunpowder, with fire encroaching from all sides. It is a matter of time before the fire is extinguished or it provokes a significant conflagration.
The US is trying to bring Iran to its knees but has so far succeeded only in uniting its various political parties and people under one cause, significantly when the US drone was downed. Iran showed it doesn’t fear the US, is not trying to avoid a military confrontation if one is necessary, and treats the US threat like that from any other country, notwithstanding the USA’s superpower status. By challenging the US military and its spy drone, Iran boosted the unity of its population and armed forces. Before the latest severe sanctions imposed by the USA, Iranian society complained about the billions Iran was investing in allies (Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen) around the Middle East. Iranians were grumbling about the leadership’s decision to move large sums away from the country at a time when Iran was under sanctions. However, recent tensions have confirmed the benefit to Iran of its network of alliances around the Middle East. Faced with Trump’s threats of war, Iranians are glad not to be isolated. The US President is aware of Iran’s allies and the fact that any future conflict will expand outside Iranian territory and involve Iran’s many partners.
In the case of Syria, the US offered the country to Iran on a golden platter. Iran’s success in supporting the Syrian government against the Jihadists encouraged by the US (ISIS and AQ) has created an unprecedented and robust bond with President Bashar al-Assad and the local population.
Moreover, for 40 years Iran has managed to support, finance, train and consolidate a unique ally in Lebanon that emerged following the US supported Israeli invasion in 1982. Hezbollah has become one of the strongest irregular-organised armies in the Middle East.
Iran can count on these allies and will keep supporting them because the tension is only beginning. If sanctions are not lifted or the signatories don’t find a way out, Iran will make sure that any US attack on Iran will drag the entire Middle East into war. Such a war can only result from miscalculation since both sides are trying to avoid it.
Indeed, Iran decided not to down a US P-8 Poseidon spy plane with 38 personnel onboard on the same morning of the 20thof June because its leadership didn’t want to corner Trump and leave him no choice but war. It looks like Tehran would like to allow Trump the opportunity to be first in opening fire against Iran so that it can retaliate proportionally. Iran is showing no fear of the US menace, an indication that this crisis will not end any time soon.
Trump seems unaware of the price his predecessors paid for confronting Iran. It is justifiable to be confused. However, history does repeat itself. Trump is walking the path of US President Jimmy Carter, who failed to be re-elected following his confrontation with Iran.
The Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has reminded Iranian officials of what Imam Khomeini said during the US-Iran crisis in the 80s. He said: “The behaviour of the US can be compared to the story of a lion in Persian stories. Carter most probably didn’t know about this story. Although it pains me to compare Carter to a lion, the story fits him perfectly. When a Lion faces his enemy, it roars and breaks wind to scare his enemy. The lion ends by shaking his tail, hoping for a mediator. Today the US is mimicking the lion’s behaviour: the shouting and the threats (roaring) don’t scare us, and the US’s continual announcement of new sanctions is to us just like the lion breaking wind”.
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