Failures in Gulf state foreign policies are happening daily. Support for the overthrow of President Morsi Egypt was followed by the removal of Qatar and Turkey from their lead role in the resolution of the Syrian conflict. Now we have Washington making the distinctly false claim that the deal with Tehran over its nuclear programme has been concluded out of concern for the security of Iran’s neighbours in the Gulf.
We were hoping to bless this agreement and congratulate ourselves on a deal that could lead to the end of conflict in the Gulf, which is a very tense area. We were also hoping to celebrate the liberation of our Muslim neighbour from unjust Western sanctions. We would have had all of these hopes if the country in question wasn’t Iran; sadly, we in the Gulf can only remember the hostility that exists between the Sunni us and the Shia them.
Since the Iran-Iraq war, Tehran’s hostile attitude towards Kuwait has resulted in constant threats to its security, including, it is alleged, Iranian spies in the emirate, plotting to bomb oil installations in order to destabilise the area. Fears of sectarian strife have created reservations about the nuclear deal.
We in the Gulf blame our governments, which acted as if they were surprised by the agreement. They did not act to mitigate its impact before it happened. If our governments had been more united then the P5+1 countries would not have gone ahead to strike an agreement with our opponent across the water.
It was clear from the beginning that the conflicts around the Middle East would become sectarian in nature and that the ambitions of Iran, Syria and Iraq would not be thwarted. There was an opportunity to find some kind of balance with the emergence of a strong government in Egypt. Together with the government in Turkey, this would have made a very positive contribution to debate in harmony with the conservative regimes in the Gulf. Such a combination could have created balance in the region and forced the West and America to deal with the Middle East in accordance with international standards and prevent them from falling into Iran’s arms. What has happened?
We in the Gulf all died a little on the day that we allowed, and encouraged, the death of democracy in Egypt and replaced it with a brutal military regime. Thousands of innocent Egyptians have been killed and the people will remember that their blood was spilled due to the moral and financial support of some Gulf countries.
We then objected to the role that Turkey was trying to play in the region and we made sure to neutralise it in the Syrian conflict. We thought that we were serving the Syrian cause by doing that. We should not overlook that some of our allies have contributed to the sabotage of the image of the revolution there.
All of these events encouraged America to look for ways to minimise its differences with Iran on nuclear issues and find ways to resolve them directly. The cost of all of these actions was the security and stability of the small Gulf States, which in the eyes of America do not deserve to exist. The US has exemplified the old saying that in politics principles are not carved in stone, but interests are.
Was it a coincidence that on the day that the Iran nuclear deal was announced, stocks rose on the Tel Aviv stock exchange in an unprecedented way? This was to be expected, for didn’t Iran pose a terror threat to Israel? Did it not raise the slogan, “Death to America and Israel”? The Islamic revolution has discarded its own slogans and bonded with Israel’s allies. All of this has been done in order to divide the Middle East between East and West. We can only turn to the Almighty to protect us from what lies ahead.
This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Qabas newspaper, 26 November, 2013
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.