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Does Iran control four Arab capitals?

Young girls walk in front of a mural showing the Iranian national flag in the centre of the capital Tehran, on April 23, 2019 [ATTA KENARE / AFP via Getty Images]
Young girls walk in front of a mural showing the Iranian national flag in the centre of the capital Tehran, on April 23, 2019 [ATTA KENARE / AFP via Getty Images]

An Iranian cleric once uttered in a reckless statement that Iran controls four Arab capitals, namely: Beirut, Damascus, Sanaa and Baghdad. Many anti-Iran parties held debates on this statement, considering it a reality, and began to warn the world about Iran’s emerging power and future hegemony over the Arab region. I even heard one famous Islamic writer extending an entire political and doctrinal approach on the cleric’s statement.

I wondered about the kind of information on which this mullah based his statement, indicating his political ignorance. I started further examining the political condition of each of the four capitals, seeking to find a suitable ground for the statement of the mullah.

I have been aware for decades that the Arab countries are infiltrated by the US, the British, and the Zionists, as no one has ever tried to loosen these powers’ grip on the region. The collapsed Soviet Union tried to infiltrate the Arab world and compete with the US. However, these attempts were unsuccessful even in countries that adopted the socialist approach, such as Egypt, Algeria and Syria. Thus, the US managed to maintain its dominance over the Arabs, and continued to expand its influence until the present day.

Perhaps, it was not possible to debunk the mullah’s statements at the time, because Iran’s Arab enemies had already controlled the Arab public opinion and strongly adhered to the statement of the delusional sheikh. Thus, refuting the mullah’s statements during that period, was deemed to be considered an act of blasphemy. However, the present stage can pave the way for proceeding with a different dialectic.

In Lebanon, for instance, it is easy for anyone who is willing to delve further into the matter, to see that Beirut is still dominated by the US. It is true that the pro-Iranian Hezbollah have a strong presence in Lebanon, however, the movement does not control Beirut and has no influence on the Lebanese government’s will. In other words, Hezbollah cannot dictate the government’s actions in accordance with its preferences or the Iranian agenda, and the proof is that the US prevented Lebanon from accepting Iran’s offer to arm the Lebanese military forces.

The most prominent evidence of the US’ hegemony over Lebanon is the case of Amer Al-Fakhoury, who was released from a Lebanese prison due to pressures exerted by the US on the Lebanese political decision makers and judiciary. The US did not hesitate to send a helicopter to Awkar, Beirut (the location of the US embassy’s headquarters) to transport Al-Fakhoury to the US. As such, Trump thanked Lebanon for cooperating to release the most prominent Lebanese spy of the Zionist entity, who brutally tortured Lebanese detainees in Khiam Detention Centre, and killed some of them under torture. This is not to mention the US’ interference in Lebanese economic affairs.

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If Hezbollah has a role in running Lebanese politics, its influence is primarily limited to preventing Lebanon from sliding toward the Zionist entity, as some fallen Arab regimes have done, as well as defending Lebanon in the face of Zionist aspirations. Hezbollah would also remain as a guard to Lebanon against the attacks of others, yet we do not expect it to achieve beyond its capabilities.

As for Iraq, the issue is no longer a secret, after the reported US military and intelligence activities in the media. The Iraqi land is like a stage for the US, as they establish military bases, deploy their soldiers and reposition their military forces. In addition, the US president often visited his country’s forces in Iraq without informing the Iraqi president, and the US warplanes and helicopters flew over the Iraqi Republican Palace and assassinated Iraqis and non-Iraqis on Iraqi land, while the Iraqi officials remained polite and did not protest. It was only during this period that the media started talking about US air traffic over Baghdad and the entire Iraqi airspace. The US is occupying Iraq and dominating Iraqi land.

There are organisations in Iraq that are allied with Iran and are receiving military support from it, but they do not run and direct the country. These organisations are now trying to attack the US, especially with missile power. In contrast, the Iraqi government is not committed to the same intentions, meaning that Iran does not control Baghdad, but rather the US.

For many people, it is permissible for the US, yet not for other countries, especially that the US component has become part of their psychological structure, and they have become impatient about its absence.

As for Syria, the US remains there, controlling the Syrian oil wells and roaming the eastern region, with their aircraft flying in Syrian airspace with comfort and reassurance. The presence of some Iranian and Russian forces in Syria has not yet affected the US’ insistence on remaining in Syria, while Sanaa is busy defending its purebred Arabian horses.

Translated from Arabi21, 2 April 2020

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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