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Iran’s Bells and Whistles
Port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Iran’s Bells and Whistles

Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, November 28

The missile fired by the Houthi militias at an oil tanker docked outside the Port of Jeddah had no military value, but rather an informational one. It was done purely for propaganda. The event took place on the direct orders of Iran, and the weapons used in the attack were likely shipped directly from Tehran. But the goal was to divert attention away from the exceptional success made by Saudi Arabia at the recent G20 summit, which gave the kingdom a significant economic boost while tightening its relationship with the European Union and the United States. The mullahs see and understand the kingdom’s growing role both in the Gulf region and on the global arena. They worry about this development. In response, they seek to destabilize the region with whatever means they have at their disposal, including through their proxies in Lebanon and in Yemen. Iran has no choice but to negotiate with the West and sign a new nuclear agreement that would lift the economic blockade reimposed upon it by the Trump Administration. Otherwise, it will most surely face political and economic collapse. Therefore, it can be said that the tanker attack was in fact a message aimed at the new American president, Joe Biden, as well as at the Europeans, reminding them that Iran is still harmful. However, what the mullahs are failing to take into account is the fact that the countries of the region are much stronger today than they were when President Obama signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The normalization of ties with Israel changed the political equation and created a new united regional front against Iran. No matter how much Iran tries to bully its neighbors, it is in a very weak position, both economically and militarily. Furthermore, the world has grown tired of Iran’s support of armed militias in the Middle East, and has placed many of these groups, including Hizbullah, on the terror watch list. The fanfare that Iran’s militias create — whether in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon or Iraq — is nothing more than bells and whistles. It will not strengthen Iran’s negotiation power or enable it to evade international sanctions. Obama’s vision for the Middle East proved to be disastrous. Thankfully, geopolitical changes that took place in the region over the course of the past four years ensured that Iran doesn’t have the upper hand even as Biden steps into office. – Muhammad Al-Sheikh (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

 

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