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The concerns of the West regarding Iran

Rayhan Ahmed Tapader

Rayhan Ahmed Tapader

Thu, 22 Feb 24

Another important waterway for transporting energy and goods through the Middle East is the Bab El Mandeb Strait of the Red Sea. Yemen's Houthis have gained massive support and popularity among the Muslim world by attacking Israeli and Western-owned commercial ships there. The United States and the United Kingdom are now conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran. The Houthis are not backing down. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, along with the capital Sanaa, have risen in protest against these attacks. The united people have expressed solidarity with Palestine. Houthi leaders have stated that if Israeli killings in Gaza do not cease, they will continue their attacks unabated in the Red Sea. No amount of force will deter them. In Syria, fighters from the Revolutionary Guards have joined hands with members of Iran's proxy Hezbollah in support of Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. Many undercover agents of the Revolutionary Guards have been deployed throughout the Middle East.

Iran could potentially target active American military, diplomatic, and civilian personnel in these countries. Experts believe that Iran may also have sleeper cells in Europe and Latin America. Those who receive green signals from Tehran may orchestrate violent attacks in a theatrical manner as soon as they detect a cue. Iran could also engage in cyber-attacks, considered one of the primary threats to the United States' cyber space. Allegations of Iran's involvement in malware attacks have been made by Western countries in various parts of the world. If the American military enters Iran, they will have to face guerrilla warfare tactics. Iran's main goal is to repel the American military from the Middle East.

In achieving this goal, Tehran may consider 2024 as a pivotal time. Since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, anti-American sentiment in the Middle East has been intensifying, leading to increased support for Iran. Pro-Iranian political parties are gaining traction within Iraq's coalition government. Those who have already put pressure on Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani to decide to withdraw US troops from the country. It was also previously reported that the Biden administration was considering withdrawing troops from Iraq. Although later denied, there is anticipation for a response from the Biden administration amidst escalating tensions in the Middle East, particularly following the recent attack in Jordan by Iran-backed armed forces on a U.S. facility on January 28. Three American military personnel were killed in the attack. It is known that several options for retaliatory actions have been proposed to the President of the United States. Among them, he has considered one arrangement in particular aimed at preventing escalation and avoiding attacks on American positions in the region.

Incidents of repeated attacks on Tower 22 near the Syrian and Iraqi border have occurred in Jordan. While Iran has denied involvement in the drone attacks, it is claimed that the Islamic Resistance, a Shiite militia supported by Iraq, has carried out the attacks. Such attacks represent a gamble for the country, as any form of association with such incidents can pose risks to Iran. Despite appearing strong, the country is actually fragile. Especially with the upcoming elections on March 1st, it is crucial to consider the people of the country. The nation is grappling with economic difficulties, and there is also significant public outcry against the government's treatment to women.

Currently, the country has become embroiled in a cycle of foreign events similar to Israel, ISIS Jihadists, and Pakistan. By allowing American killings, the country may only further complicate its own situation. On Christmas Day, a missile attack was launched at the military base of Iran in northern Damascus, Syria. This resulted in the death of Sayyed Reza Moussavi, who was the right-hand man of General Qasem Soleimani. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, was assassinated by the United States in January 2020. Nine days after the fourth anniversary of Soleimani's death, two ISIS bombs exploded in the central cemetery in Kerman, Iran, where he is buried. Soleimani was an iconic commander for the country, who had defeated ISIS in Iraq. Despite his death, ISIS was able to carry out an attack, killing 91 people alongside the destruction of his memorial. It seems that the country lacked any power to stop the attack. It was perceived that Iran's leaders and military were unable to provide protection to their officials, personnel abroad, or citizens within the country. There was a need for a demonstration of their power.
On January 15th, the Revolutionary Guards allegedly launched missiles towards an Israeli intelligence cell in Iraqi Kurdistan. During this incident, they killed a billionaire businessman along with members of his family, other non-American individuals, and a Dutch child under the age of one. Just 24 hours later, Balochistan in Pakistan was targeted. The Iranian government announced through state media that they launched missile and drone attacks on a camp belonging to the separatist group Jaish ul-Adl in Balochistan.

For over a decade, the group has been waging war against the security forces in Iran's southeastern region. In fact, even in this attack, two children were killed. However, such provocative incidents often backfire. In response to the breach of sovereignty, Pakistan's military launches attacks within the internal boundaries of Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan region. Pakistan claims that the killings were of terrorists. However, local media reports indicate that at least three women and four children were killed, all of whom were non-Iranians. On January 20th, Iranian intelligence command held a meeting in southern Damascus to discuss regional affairs. Before they could conclude their discussion, Israeli missiles struck a three-story building. This resulted in the deaths of three members of Iran's intelligence forces, including the head, deputy, and a member of the Revolutionary Guards. International observers believe that Israel and Palestine residents are embroiled in conflict, with Iran playing a destabilizing role. While openly supporting Hamas, Hezbollah, and Yemen's Houthi rebels, Iran has distanced itself from the formal campaigns of these groups.

Despite Iran's public support for these factions, the Iranian general public has shown little enthusiasm for official government support of Hamas. Apart from that, no major rallies have been observed since October 7th. Following the controversial presidential election in 2009 and the government's crackdown, a significant portion of voters distanced themselves from the government. Since September 2022, the general public has become increasingly outraged by the brutal crackdown on women, life, and freedom. The authoritarian regime, with an upcoming election on the horizon, has ensured the reins of power remain firmly in the hands of hardliners by disqualifying thousands of qualified candidates, including former President Hassan Rohani, from the theoretical council.

Due to American sanctions, ongoing mismanagement, and corruption, Iran's economy is spiraling into instability. Officially, inflation stands at 40%, but in reality, it's even higher. Unemployment and job market conditions have worsened, leading to increased public discontent. In 2022, their currency hit an all-time low, depreciating by 10% in just last month. Unlike Gaza or Lebanon, my life is in Iran. Iran currently survives by such talk. On one hand, it claims friendship with Pakistan, while on the other, it threatens further attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan by revealing Israel's intelligence network. Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi has declared that Israel will not be let off without a response to the attacks. Tehran-backed Houthis are destroying international ships in the Red Sea, disrupting 12% of global trade. On the other hand, Hezbollah is engaged in daily conflicts with Israel.

However, Iran's leadership has fallen into the trap of a misdeed. If they prioritize the independence of their allied groups and refrain themselves from direct campaigns, they will be perceived as toothless tigers in the region. If the Revolutionary Guards attempt another missile launch, they face the risk of retaliation. They could even be defeated, potentially by Pakistan or Israel. Consequently, armed groups in Syria and Iraq have emerged as independent Iranian proxies, serving as channels for conveying messages. Iranian leaders are seeking to convey a message through these groups that the country remains resilient, despite facing challenges. Although the Iranian authorities officially deny involvement in attacks, they maintain a tough stance.

The United States is contemplating its own response. However, the final word may come from Iranians themselves, whose main concern is their country. During the controversial presidential election aftermath in 2009, they cried out, "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran. However, whether it will escalate into full-scale war or remain limited skirmishes, it's not yet clear which path the United States will take. Nevertheless, whatever the nature of the conflict, the aftermath is what's most crucial. Undoubtedly, it could result in the deaths of countless innocent people. As a nation, the fear of destroying Iran could exacerbate tensions in the Middle East and the Muslim world for generations to come. It may result in catastrophic humanitarian crises and refugee influxes. Ultimately, America's aggression could backfire, further destabilizing Iran, a consequence that Washington has already witnessed in many countries. It's not yet time to determine how much impact the domestic political calculus in the United States will have on military withdrawal. Especially when both Republicans and Democrats prioritize supporting Israel, the consensus among politicians is likely to be intense when it comes to taking aggressive actions against Iran.

The drone attack in Jordan resulting in the deaths of three American soldiers has escalated tensions between the United States and Iran. American politicians are now calling for a decisive strike against Iran in response. In this situation, if President Biden decides to directly attack Iran, it could escalate into a global conflict involving regional powers and superpowers. If Iran and the United States were to directly engage in conflict, it would have significant repercussions for the busiest naval routes in the world. Certainly, the outcome would not be favorable for the world.

Author: Researcher and columnist.

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