By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
October 19, 2010
THE recent visit of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to Saudi Arabia was a step in the right direction. It was aimed at strengthening coordination between the two nations through an in-depth discussion of ways to stabilize the region. It was a clear manifestation of the high level of awareness of the responsibility bestowed upon Al-Assad in line with the expectations of the neighboring states amidst the political tension in the region. Tension escalated in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine after the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon. This visit signaled the beginning of unofficial activities meant to cause division in the small country.
Nobody can rule out the possibility that the negative repercussions of Ahmadinejad’s position will affect the Arab nations, especially since the message from Hezbollah heartland states the root is now based in Iran – along the Mediterranean Sea. It was the beginning of Tehran’s announcement of the real motive behind the visit. At the time, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying, “The children of South Lebanon will determine the future of the region. The great victory is at the doorstep but resistance is the only way to achieve this victory.” This is tantamount to creating a new launch pad for the Iranian political activities to wreak havoc in Lebanon.
What kind of future does the defeated Ahmadinejad want to build for the region? Which victory was he referring to, considering he is still grappling with the international sanctions and internal conflicts? Without a doubt, Ahmadinejad’s message has reached the intended recipients in the West and East. He declared direct contact between the mercenaries and Tehran no longer requires Damascus to act as mediator. They don’t need the Syrians between the origin and the branch anymore. It is now glaring that Hezbollah is no longer a card in the hands of Syria. Ahmadinejad’s message will most likely usher in a different era between two allies — Syria and Iran, especially when Syria begins to feel the dangerous consequences of changing the rules of the game played by Iran, as well as the effects of this change on the entire region and the possible losses once Iran reaches the end.
The latest incident in Lebanon exposed disparities between the roles played by Iran and Syria. They are no longer partners as they were in the past, since Hezbollah has taken the place of Syria and has begun to play its roles. The incident clearly showed the new Iranian direction towards aborting the roles of Syria in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, but this will not be the end of the road. On the contrary, Syria has an option to join forces with the Arabs, provided it plays a role in line with the policy of rejecting strategic changes in any Arab nation, because whoever walks towards the changes will suffer the negative repercussions.
Amid the recent Iranian activities, the Arab nations, led by Saudi Arabia, have started paving the way for Damascus to embrace the international community and come out of its shell. The effort has been fruitful as reflected in the regional and international indices, which show the openness of the US and Europe to Syria, even though this may be limited, it is still a clear indication that the Arabs do not want to leave Damascus to be an easy prey for Tehran.
Saudi Arabia has created a suitable environment for Arabs to embrace Syria and rescue it from the claws of Iran. The Syrian-Saudi summit is a new phenomenon; thereby, changing the entire equation and strengthening the Arab alliance. This will remove some seeds of discord that Iran has planted among Arabs and put everything back to their normal position. These seeds will not bear any fruit in Lebanon, Iraq or Palestine, especially since Iran has revealed its true colors and its attempt to dodge the international sanctions, which had been strangling the country.
The Riyadh summit has put everything in the right perspective to prevent Iran from escalating tension in the region, considering the information on the Israeli military moves against Lebanon and possibly Syria. The world powers have been preventing the region from falling into the Iranian pitfall, in addition to strengthening the Arab roles in Iraq and setting up an umbrella to protect Palestinians from the Iranian propaganda through its proxies.