Tensions Continue to Rise in Middle East Over Iran’s Alleged Violations

Article published on Nov. 24, 2017
Article published on Nov. 24, 2017

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Iran’s meddling in the country’s affairs has been seen as a means to attack its rival, even if by proxy

Leaders of Arab nations throughout the Middle East are lashing out against Iran and its alleged violations throughout the region. Saudi Arabia is taking the lead in speaking out against Iran, as tensions between Riyadh and Tehran increase. During a meeting of Arab League leaders over the weekend, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke out against the aggressive behavior of the Iranian regime.

“We are required today to confront Iran’s policies in order to preserve our national security,” said al-Jubeir. The leaders met at an emergency meeting in Cairo, which was requested by the Saudis, who had the backing of the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

Throughout the last few months, tensions between the two countries has escalated, even as the situation within Yemen continues to deteriorate. The Houthis, who have received weapons and training from Iran, are unable to effectively deal with the humanitarian aid needed for the Yemen citizens. The internationally recognized Yemen government has been driven out of the country and the results have been painful for the citizens of Yemen.

In the meantime, Iran’s meddling in the country’s affairs has been seen as a means to attack its rival, even if by proxy. The officials who were part of the emergency meeting indicated that the Arab countries were going to inform the U.N. Security Council of Iran’s purported supply of arms to rebels fighting the internationally recognized Yemen government.

Saudi Arabia has also accused Iran of using the Houthis to fire a ballistic missile at Riyadh this month. The Saudi government is also currently housing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned after accusing Tehran and its ally, Hezbollah, of destabilizing not only Lebanon, but other Arab countries as well. This surprise move by the Prime Minister has further fueled tensions in the region.

“I refer explicitly and unequivocally to Iran, which sows sedition, devastation and destruction in any place it settles in, as proven by its interferences in the internal affairs of the Arab countries, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it,” Hariri said, when he announced his resignation on November 4.

Hariri also traveled to Paris at Macron’s invitation, and also to dispel allegations he was being held against his will in Saudi Arabia. He is expected to return to Lebanon for the Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.

The official statement from the Arab League emergency meeting also labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization, which did not go over well in Lebanon, according to Ahmed Abul Gheit, the head of the Arab League. He also noted that the missile fired at Saudi Arabia was made in Iran.

“This is an unacceptable Iranian message. The Iranian threats have gone beyond all limits and are pushing the region toward a dangerous precipice,” said Abul Gheit.

This process of accusations against Iran is not new. Many countries, including Bahrain, have admitted to dealing with the meddling and influence of Iran within their countries. Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of disturbing regional peace and stability by supporting the Houthi militias, working to support Assad in Syria, and violating Lebanese law. Iran is notably the financial support for Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are backing opposite sides in both the war in Yemen and the war in Syria.

Part of the emergency meeting was for the Arab member nations to try to determine potential methods to confront Iran and Hezbollah, who are both being accused of influencing and meddling in the internal affairs of their neighbors.

“By supplying Al Houthis with missiles, Tehran sends a message that all Arab capitals are targets. Iranian threats have exceeded all limits, pushing the region into a dangerous abyss. Arab countries cherish their sovereignty and are able to defend their stability and security, and would never accept to live under fear or intimidation,” said Abul Gheit.

The Saudis have also spoken out about the threat of Iran to their country and neighboring allies.

“Al Houthis fired 80 missiles at my country. Saudi Arabia will not stand idly in the face of such blatant aggression, and will not hesitate to defend its national security and to preserve the security and safety of its people,” said al-Jubeir.

The question now is how this will all play out on the international stage. Iran is still attempting to maintain that they are not part of these various activities throughout the region, even as facts about their involvement and the actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) come to light.

The U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on Saturday that there was a definite need to partner with key allies in the region to address the destabilizing actions of Iran and Hezbollah.

“Both presidents agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah’s and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region,” said a White House statement. U.S. President Trump has been very outspoken on the issues surrounding Iran, and has been working to gain the support of key European allies, who still see the 2015 nuclear agreement as the way forward.