City of Brass

City of Brass


Saudi Arabia’s Iran Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(This is a guest post by my friend and Islamsphere scion Ali Eteraz)

I woke up this morning and found a comprehensive Middle East peace plan being offered by Saudi Arabia in the pages of the Washington Post.

Putting aside whether or not the proposed Arab peace initiative of 2002 is viable or progressive, I couldn’t help but notice the four bullet points that conclude the article. Says the article:

Obama ought to pursue a comprehensive policy that deals with all the hot spots in the Middle East. He should:

Call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shebaa Farms in Lebanon. This would remove the issue of “national liberation” from the arsenal of Hezbollah’s propaganda and mitigate Syrian and Iranian interference in Lebanon.

Work with the U.N. Security Council for a resolution guaranteeing Iraq’s territorial integrity. This would dampen Iraqi politicians’ ambitions for dismembering Iraq and force them to negotiate for national reconciliation, putting their interests as Iraqis before their interests as Arabs, Kurds, Shiites or Sunnis. It would also stop any ambitions — economic or territorial — that Iraq’s neighbors may be considering.

Encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace. This would engage Syria and diminish Iranian obstructionism. It would also force Palestinian groups based in Syria to follow the Syrian example.

Declare America’s intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella and other incentives for countries that sign up and a sanctions regime for those that don’t. This would remove the issue of double standards that the Iranian government uses to raise support among its people for its nuclear policy. It would also resolve the security concerns with which Israel’s leaders justify their possession of nuclear weapons.

Notice something?

Each one contains either a direct or indirect reference to Iran. It is only the second bullet where Iran is not named but even there the “ambitions” of “Iraq’s neighbors” can only refer to one country.

Number three is interesting because Iran is redefined as the country engaged in “obstructionism.” Four, however, is crucial, because it directly criticizes Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

There has been a debate raging among academics whether it makes sense to understand the middle east in terms of this Saudi-Iranian competition. Vali Nasr, from the Naval Academy, who wrote the book on Shia revival and conflicts within Islam, has argued for this kind of evaluation. Hamid Dabashi, from Columbia university, believes that promoting conflicts within Islam is simply made up. I don’t think my views particularly matter in this debate but if I had to pick I would say that neither is correct since given the autocratic and oligarchic nature of Saudi Arabia and Iran, respectively, there is no way of knowing what is really happening.

Ali Eteraz is a writer and columnist for The Huffington Post and for The Guardian magazine.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Post-Ramadan reflections
Welcome back, readers :) My apologies for being so AWOL from blogging. This past Ramadan I had genuinely been able to ramp up my iba

posted 9:48:39am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Tweeting the Qur'an #ttQuran
My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on, and even at

posted 1:04:00pm Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

The Criterion: reading the Qur'an is the foundation of ibadat in Ramadan
Ramadan is one-third over. Unlike past years, I've not written as much about my observances this year because I've been dedicated to

posted 1:00:20pm Jul. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Nominations now open for the 11th Annual Brass Crescent Awards
The Brass Crescent Awards is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners. Founded in 2004 by myself and Shahed Amanullah, the Brass Crescent Awa

posted 5:18:45am Jun. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Ramadan Kareem from the Democratic Party and President Obama
The official twitter handle of the Democratic Party (@TheDemocrats) just posted this Ramadan Kareem message quoting President Obama: https://twitter.com/TheDemocrats/status/482895697222443008 "Ramadan reminds us of our shared responsibility to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves an

posted 4:00:46pm Jun. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.