Recent history tells us that whenever the Middle East is faced with any radical threat, a United States-Iran alliance takes shape. Observers may recall the rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, when the former was in search for a solution to the problem of Taleban in Afghanistan not very long ago.
The US, which regards Iran as the greatest threat in the region vis-à-vis Israel, particularly because of its nuclear activities, forged an unexpected alliance with Iran against the Taleban. Recalling that scenario, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently admitted that there were chances of a similar thing taking place today. “So there’s some history here of sharing common interests,” he said.
Interestingly, this was not exclusive to Afghanistan. A similar alliance persisted against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The tradition continued subsequently. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who was brought to power by the United States, was also “approved” by Iran. Al-Maliki’s resignation also took place with Iran as the intermediary.
A similar détente is likely to take place once again in the face of a new, wide-ranging and much greater threat in the form of the self-ascribed Islamic State (IS). The terrorist organization’s unexpected gambits, its conquests in Syria and Iraq and its (not to be underestimated) threats toward Libya and Lebanon suddenly brought the Iran-US duo back on the agenda. There are various possible outcomes of this likely alliance. First, the idea of “Assad fighting radicals” would gain currency and Assad would be favored by the US as “the lesser of the two evils.” Second, the way would be cleared to talks and concessions on Iran’s nuclear program and US sanctions might thus be softened.
On the other hand, Washington apparently wants to use all the help and resources it could get to fight the radicals wreaking havoc in the region. The fast-emerging scenario indicates the possibility of this alliance will soon turn into a reality. Assad is now literally enjoying western protection. Unfortunately, the media appeared to have ignored the fact that around 1,231 civilians were martyred by Assad’s forces in the month of October alone.
A letter from US President Barack Obama exposed by the Wall Street Journal the other day in fact removes all doubts about that alliance. In the letter, the US president has reportedly written to Iran’s religious leader Khamenei that the fight against the IS is in the interest of both countries and requests Iran to reach an agreement on its nuclear program with the UN General Assembly on Nov. 24. This letter was in fact a declaration of the obvious. Progress will be made in the nuclear talks, sanctions will be relaxed somewhat and Assad will be left alone. And the common target now is the IS.
This alliance is not being concealed by officials. An authority on Iranian issues, Emad Kiyaei from Princeton University, said: “It is in the national interest of United States to cooperate with Iran on Islamic State — they have the intelligence, knowhow and people on the ground.”
Kiyaei then went on, “Military coordination or even cooperation is not really an unusual scenario considering that they are fighting the same enemy in three major military theaters — Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mess that is Islamic State.”
The odd scenario is not the alliance, but what it is based on. Let us make it clear:
In terms of Turkish foreign policy, Iran has always been an ally of Turkey. Turkey has always encouraged the strengthening and development of both countries. Turkey is known to be Iran’s greatest supporter in the nuclear negotiations.
However, it is frightening that it is being forged in the name of a war in Muslim countries. The fact that the US knows and applies only one tactic in the Middle East: It regards the use of military force against radicalism as the solution.
The US is always mistaken and this is an issue we have highlighted here many times. The US clearly requires a change of policy in this regard.
However, it is unacceptable for a regional country such as Iran to make the same mistake. Iran is an important regional country. It must use its wide intelligence resources to understand the region and threats to it and to adopt an appropriate policy of education. As we have stated many times before, since radicalism is an ideological problem, and since that ideology is entirely based on the misinterpretation of Islam, the response to it must also be an ideological one. That means the propagation of accurate information that can change these people and save the region from the scourge of radicalism. That is only possible through education, not by helping America decide where to target with its powerful weaponry and by pointing Muslims as targets for its missiles.
That education is especially necessary for Iran, which is suffocating under its own dark way of thinking. Iran can be saved and attain prosperity, not by becoming a war tool in the hands of the western nations, but by adopting this policy of education both internally and externally.
If the US and Iran wish to be in an alliance, it must be built on love, not self-interest. The US should abandon its strategy of using brute force and turn to education, while Iran must rid itself of the alarming, repressive and aggressive ways of life shaped in particular by the Iranian secret state. Muslims killing Muslims has always ended in tragedy. So long as that mentality persists, even worse tragedies are inevitable. Iran must change, and its alliances must always be founded on peace.