Iranians mark Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran on May 31, placing the flags of nations seen to be hostile on the sidewalk for passers-by to walk on, something viewed in the region as a sign of disrespect. (AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s Quest for Regional Domination

Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, June 2

Since the launch of the coup d’état against the shah in 1979, the mullahs have not stopped their political campaign for a single day. Their first war was directed against the Iranian people themselves, who were killed and displaced en masse by the Islamist revolutionaries. Anyone suspected of belonging to the former regime was arrested, tortured or killed. After the mullahs finished the internal occupation of Iran, they turned to occupying Iraq and meddling in Baghdad’s internal affairs. The Tehran-Baghdad axis was particularly important to the mullahs for several reasons. First, Iraq was – and still is – viewed as the cradle of the Shi’ism. It therefore carries monumental importance in eyes of the mullahs. Second, the mullahs still carry the dream of reviving ancient Persia by reoccupying Mesopotamia and avenging their defeat at the humiliating battle of Qadisiyah, which broke that empire. Third, access to Iraq provided the mullahs with huge financial benefits, mostly thanks to oil resources. These three reasons provided great impetus to extend farther and farther into the region. However, from the very beginning stages of the revolution, one country had stood steadfastly against Iran’s expansionist ambitions: Saudi Arabia. This positioned Tehran and Riyadh at opposite ends of the political spectrum. In response to Saudi Arabia’s defense of Iraq, Tehran increased its efforts to destabilize the Arab Gulf. The first attempts began in 1984, when Iran violated Saudi airspace and territorial waters. Of course, these actions resulted in a Saudi downing of an Iranian airplane that had entered Saudi airspace, and a Saudi threat to bomb the Iranian port of Bushehr if Tehran did not remove its vessels from Saudi waters. In 1986, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced the seizure of a huge amount of highly-explosive C-4 powder in Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bags that were sent by a group of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca. The Iranian plan, which luckily was foiled, was to carry out a massive attack in Mecca and kill thousands of innocent pilgrims. In 1987, an Iranian cell launched an attack in Mecca and assaulted hundreds of civilians making their way to the Holy Mosque…. The Iranian terrorists used swords, knives and machetes to cause death and harm to others. The Saudi security authorities were able to stop them after long clashes. Iran also used Hizbullah against Riyadh. The Lebanese terror group carried out several attacks in Saudi Arabia, such as the bombing of al-Juaima 1987 and the bombing of al-Jubail in 1988. In 1989, Hizbullah blew up the tunnels in Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage. From 2009 until today, Iran has carried out additional schemes through its multiple subcontractors, chief among them the Houthi militias, which have attacked the Saudi border and fired 200 rockets against Saudi cities. Some of these rockets hit Mecca and its holy sites. This long track record of violence and aggression leaves little doubt about Iran’s intentions. The mullahs might try to placate the West, but their objective remains consistent: to weaken and destroy anyone and anything standing in their way of achieving regional domination. – Muhammad al-Saed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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