Riyadh, Doha and Tehran: how the usual pattern changes

Iran, apart from being struck, is utterly bewildered: the Revolutionary Guard’s extreme force, the Ayatollahs’ terrible severity, and not even Khomeini’s spirit from beyond the grave itself, which was also hit by yesterday’s attack… None were capable to prevent the great symbolic attack on Khomeini’s tomb, as well as the contemptuous terrorist attack on its parliament in Tehran.

ISIS extremists dressed as women and with machine guns managed even to climb up to the forth and fifth floors of the parliament building: shouting in Arabic they explained their reasons for the attack in Arab while the screams of fear were in Farsi. We know this because they even filmed a “live” video of the attack, which shows them storming the building and shooting randomly in rooms and corridors while employees desperately tried to escape even handling a child to someone out of a window.

The Sunni attack on Shiite Iran was probably made possible with the help of internal enemies: Iran is only 80 percent Shiite, the rest are Sunnis, Baluchis , Kurds.. all of them hate the regime. ISIS is part of a new game: Iran resolutely supports Assad supplying him with arms and even deploying men from its Revolutionary Guards to fight against his enemies and manages and drives its proxy Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Russia dictates all this with its arms, drones and bombings.

The countries extending its condolences for the attack were of course Russia and later Pakistan, France followed, but the other Western countries were short and few. The UN of course was original in keeping a minute of silence for a country that sponsor terror, shouts death to America and Israel and is still sanctioned for its belligerent purposes all over the Middle East

Iran strives to be a genocidal killer, violates all human rights, is still fighting for its nuclear power, and is one of the main sponsors of terrorism. Some years ago it even had an agreement with Al Qaeda that kept it from attacks, and until today with Hamas although both are Sunni.

The attack fits within the framework of a chaotic prospect: that of a Middle East revolutionized by Trump’s meeting with 25 Arab states where a common war on terrorism has been declared, meaning not only terrorism committed by ISIS, but also the one caused by Iranian imperialism, and by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the great ideological mother in which Qatar spends its billions. It’s not surprising that the Trump administration is planning to add to the list of terrorist organizations, which already includes Hamas and Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

From Iran and also from its Syrians friends an accusation has of course sprung up declaring that the Saudis, Americans, and Israel were behind the attack. Iran here indicates, apart from ISIS, it’s true difficulties, and dangerously points its finger at his historical enemy, i.e. the Sunnis. After this attack, although perpetuated by ISIS, the Sunni and Shiite factions are entering into an even more direct conflict that could even lead to war.

Isis is also in trouble, the last attack on Raqqa proves it, and therefore its impossibility of a counterattack on the ground leads it to search for it in Western capitals, against its ideological enemy, the West, and in Iran, who fights in Syria against its men. Iran will therefore react and use more and more force against ISIS, and so too will its enemies.

The story continues in strong colors. And above all, it will continue on the wider Middle Eastern stage: with the move against Qatar earlier this week, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood, also Iran, all Shiite militias, Hezbollah and also Hamas are getting hit hard, the stream of money could have a tough stop and it would be great, if you think that Qatar just handed over $1 billion to these forces, as well as to Tahrir al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) a few weeks ago due to a kidnapping for ransom.

Now the forces that could create stability, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf countries, and Israel with them for the first time, are much stronger, while Iran loses on all fronts and Isis is in troubles.

If Iran wants to appear strong and get on the track now, it will have to make fire-and-brimstone, kill, punish, and expand… As usual. We can expect this. We will have now a tougher Iran, and therefore hopefully a strong international reaction.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (June 8, 2017)
Translation by Amy K. Rosenthal

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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