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Iran faces a hostile coalition

August 3, 2021 at 9:50 am

Supporters of Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi cheer at the Imam Reza shrine in the city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran, on 22 June 2021. [MOHSEN ESMAEILZADEH/ISNA NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images]

It seems that Israel is being successful in creating an international strategy to punish Iran for targeting one of its oil tankers. It’s done so by obtaining recognition from several influential countries that the attack was premeditated. This means that the occupation state has the right to respond to what is accepted as a deliberate attack on the ship.

Israel has allied itself with the US and Britain for joint retaliatory action against Iran. International news reports claim that both countries have agreed on Israel responding to the attack.

The target for the response has probably been determined already. It looks as if the three allies have agreed that the target should be significant enough to make an attack painful for Iran, but not serious enough to open the door to a large-scale war. Israel might, for example, destroy a launch platform for Iranian drones.

Meanwhile, Iran is preparing to deploy its regional proxies, especially Hezbollah. This is because Israel is striking Iranian sites in Syria that are linked to Hezbollah and is preventing the supply of oil and weapons to the group. The Lebanese militia has been at the centre of the tanker war that has been going on for months, and is best placed to threaten Israel with painful retaliatory strikes.

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Iran is looking for international support to deter US involvement. I think it will turn to Russia for this, as Moscow rejects blatant interference in the Gulf and is looking for solutions to the tit-for-tat tanker attacks by Iran and Israel.

It is known that Iran’s president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, is not liked by the West; he was, after all, on America’s “terrorist” list. It is also known that the Arab Gulf states consider him to be a hardliner, so he is rejected by Iran’s neighbours. However, he has been elected to serve as president and other countries must deal with him if they want to deal with Iran. Personal likes and dislikes should not determine national interests.

The Gulf is on the verge of an explosion, and Israel has taken advantage of this to build an alliance with the US and Britain against Iran. A British citizen was killed in the latest attack, so the UK can demand compensation or be a partner in a suitable response.

The situation is heating up. The Arab Gulf states must now choose what suits them and their interests.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 2 August 2021

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