Iran’s relations with Arab countries have long been subject to change, tension, crisis, even war. Prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran’s relations with the Arab countries, especially its neighbors, Iraq in particular, were based on threat indicators. Iran was in the US-led Western-style camp and was part of the Western alliance system against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, while Iraq was in the East Camp led by the Soviets.
Iran was at that time at the center of a regional mission that was counterbalanced by the expansion of the Soviet Union’s influence to the south, in contrast to Iraq. For this reason, there was a very serious regional rivalry between Tehran and Baghdad, sometimes tense, and even border clashes. This equation continued until the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
With the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the geopolitics of the region changed, fundamentally in the view of Western strategists. But the tension in Iran’s relations with Arab countries did not end. The nature of the competition changed, and more Arab countries were drawn into Iran’s ranks. The eight-year Iraqi-imposed war on Iran and the Arab League’s quest for the removal of Saddam Hussein were the starkest signs of this competition….[more]