FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Iran the Most Stable Country in Region?

by

In the turbulent 35 years since the Islamic Republic of Iran emerged overnight following revolution in that country, the balance of power in Middle East has shifted. For much of that time Iran has been hampered by internal power struggles, the imposition of sanctions, and from ostracization due to its links with terrorism. Today, however, Iran is emerging as a model of stability given that several of its neighbors have fallen into utter turmoil. Some of them are still suffering the back-swell from the Arab Spring, while others are under severe threat from violent extremists such as ISIS. Finally, observers see a distinct possibility that Iran may move towards meaningful rapprochement with its former enemies in the west.

In the past the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (comprising, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), plus Iraq and Egypt would have able to form a counter-weight to Iranian influence in the region. For differing reasons they are no longer able to do so. The PGCC on its own is simply not strong enough to challenge Iranian power. Moreover, it is vulnerable to the revolutionary sympathies laid bare by the Arab Spring and to violent attacks emanating from Sunni extremists. Egypt’s economy is in a very poor state and due to divisions within society, the government is too preoccupied with internal matters to balance Iranian ambitions. Iraq and Iran are well on their way to forming an alliance, thus burying past enmity.

The primary threat to stability at the moment is conflict between various Sunni groups rather than struggles between Sunnis and Shia or between Islamic states and the west. These recent conflicts have been exacerbated by the emergence of several failed states, and by the reluctance of external forces, especially western powers, to engage in the region. The USA and Britain were badly hurt by their failure to subdue Iraq and Afghanistan, while Turkey is not keen to throw its weight against IS either on behalf of its western or Arab allies.
This leaves a loose coalition of Shiite forces including Iran, the Iraqi and Syrian armies, Hizballah, and the Kurdish Peshmarga to act as the main ground force to counter IS.

There is a real danger that a power vacuum could emerge in the region. The USA has decided to concentrate its foreign policy efforts in East Asia, and reduce its direct involvement in the Middle East. Naturally in doing so it has severely weakened its ability to manage crises in the region or to dedicate military ground forces to the task of pegging back extremism and terrorism. This in turn has left its allies in the region vulnerable to destabilization. They have not yet produced a common strategy capable of restoring stability and peace.

One possible way out of this dangerous impasse could then see western countries courting Iran as an ally in the battle against Islamic extremists such as IS by offering to lift sanctions against Iran. This would also enable Europe to out-maneuver Russia should that country go ahead and cut oil and gas supplies to Western Europe. Such an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations would draw Iran into direct cooperation with the west and pave the way for a joint push to restore stability in the region and the broader Muslim World. It would also, ironically, cement Iran’s reputation as the most stable country in the region.

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is a strategic analyst and has earned a Ph D in International Relations.Dr Saremi is a regular contributor to World Tribune.com,Freepressers.com and Defense&Foreign Affairs. At Times Dr Saremi has been an interview partner for Voice of America, German ARD/NDR and Russia Today.

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is an Iranian strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany.Dr.Saremi is a regular contributor for World Tribun.com,Freepressers.com and Defense & Foreign Affairs. At times he has been a commentator for the German TV, ARD/NDR.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
Paul J. Ramsey
What Trump’s Travel Ban Reveals About His Long-Term Educational Policy
Norman Pollack
Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago
Michael Brenner
The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play?
Sam Gordon
Falling Rate of Profit, What about Some Alienation?
Jack Random
Sidetracked: Trump Diaries, Week 8
Julian Vigo
The Limits of Citizenship
James Graham
French Elections: a Guide for the Perplexed
Jeff Mackler
The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart
Lee Ballinger
Chuck Berry: “Up in the Morning and Off to School!”
Binoy Kampmark
Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession
Nyla Ali Khan
Cultural Syncretism in Kashmir
Chad Nelson
The Politics of Animal Liberation: I Can’t Quit You Gary Francione
Weekend Edition
March 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Reynolds
Israel and the A-Word
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail