Friday, February 3, 2023

Iran Should Steer Clear of Saudi-Qatari Row: Analyst

An Iranian political commentator says Iran should distance itself from the Saudi-Qatari crisis.

Senior political analyst Sadeq Maleki has, in an interview with Farsi IR Diplomacy website, expressed his opinion on the approach Iran should adopt vis-à-vis the Saudi-Qatari crisis. The highlights of his Farsi analytical piece follow:

It would be logical, rational and far-sighted to distance yourself from conflicts and crises in which you are not involved, especially when parties to the crisis are your rivals or enemies.

In the Middle East, a geographical area awash with complexities and ambiguities, every step taken should be well calculated, especially in times of crises. In the crisis involving Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two countries which look at Iran as a stranger, if not an enemy, the best stance that Tehran can take would be “positive neutrality.” Iran has proposed to offer consultations as well as humanitarian and food aid to Doha. This will not only help Iran steer clear of possible dangers associated with the crisis, but will enhance Iran’s prestige and keep grudges from further piling up.

One should bear in mind that the sudden emergence of ISIS was the joint handiwork of Riyadh, Doha and Ankara. Saudi Arabia has been the origin of the ISIS’ Takfiri ideology, Qatar has been its financial sponsor and Turkey has provided logistical support for the terror group.

Tehran needs to stay away from these filthy hands. Ankara has even contributed more to the emergence of ISIS than Saudi Arabia has. Turkish officials have explicitly spoken out against Tehran’s stand on developments in Iraq and Syria.

One should make precise calculations before getting involved in a crisis. It is easy to step into a crisis, but very difficult and costly to get out. We should prudently distance ourselves from the Doha-Riyadh trap.

Iran’s democratic system is a far cry from the ruling establishments in Riyadh and Doha. At a time when the manifestations of democracy in Iran have posed a serious challenge to countries south of the Persian Gulf region, some might think that certain political factions in Iran have misgivings over the trend of democracy and its results, and hence, they tie Iran’s fate to that of the Doha-Riyadh crisis. They seek to create the impression that Iran has turned into a police state after the Tehran terror attacks in a bid to deal a blow to democracy.

Iranian people have experienced difficult days of war and conflict. We should not get them involved in another war and crisis. In making its final choice, neither will Doha be considerate towards us, nor is it an entity worth sacrificing ourselves for. In the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Iran is like a stranger in the middle of a family feud and can be a common victim if Qatar and Saudi Arabia begin the trend of reconciliation. So, we should not be deceived and should not set the stage for our own entrapment. And one more thing; we should not believe and get on board with Turkey. The death and destruction in Iraq and Syria today are the fallout from Ankara’s destructive policies.

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