FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Iran the Most Stable Country in Region?

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.

More articles by:

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.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail