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.

March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes