For those of you familiar with the eccentricities of what constitutes all things English, nothing is more definitive than the weather or cricket. The former is self explanatory while the latter is a game that remarkably can take up to five days to complete and may not determine either a winning nor losing side. The relationship between the two is almost symbiotic and human hopes and dreams, wagers and emotions linked to cricket are invariably shattered as a result of appalling weather .
All strategic planning, financial and human investment , training, plotting and preparation to achieve the winning objective are scattered into meaningless wastage as mother nature takes control.
The parallels between an English game of cricket played in a typical English summer and Iranian war games played with mother nature expose an eerily similar analogy. It is abundantly apparent that Iran’s geopolitical objectives are to create an Iranian dominated Shia crescent to include a large part of Syria, Yemen all of Lebanon and to liquidate the Jewish state of Israel. Iran has invested financially, militarily and politically during the last three decades to achieve these objectives and thanks to the incompetence of the Obama administration they were able to further such ambitions with relative ease. A devastating earthquake in Iran in 2017 which created 600,000 homeless who are still living in temporary accommodation in no way hindered Iran’s ambitions as they continued to finance their proxies Hamas, Houthis and Hezbollah with millions of dollars and ignored financing the rehousing of those affected by the earthquake.Has mother nature once again attempted to control Iranian expansionism, but this time successfully? From a natural disaster in 2017, that was the earthquake to another in 2019, the floods.
The muted global news output relating to the recent devastating floods in Iran is mystifying. Clearly the Iranians are shutting down all negative news coverage but other global media , whilst covering US sanctions on Iran and the oil export implementation embargo have ignored the human misery story and the political implications created by the catastrophic floods.
In terms of the damage to domestic infrastructure the current cost estimations are ranging from $2.5 billion to $7 billion depending on the future devaluation of the Riyal which has fallen 15 percent against the dollar this month from an already weak conversion rate. Lat year the conversion rate was 35 thousand Riyals to the dollar and at the time of writing was 135 thousand Riyals. Iran’s currency rather replicating the Venezuelan Bolivar is worthless. Roads, bridges, homes, offices, dams and oil pipelines have been destroyed across 80 percent of the country and with further heavy rains expected it will take Iran decades to repair the damage .
There were many protests domestically prior to the floods from students and civilians mainly to do with living standards , inflation, the inability of the Government to repair the earthquake damage and to rehouse those affected. Moreover, the policy of financing regional terrorist groups rather than use such funds for domestic purposes has proved to be extremely unpopular.
Typically such protests are dealt with as in any totalitarian theocracy but verifiable news output though difficult to find is available via social media and from Iranian opposition groups.
Hamas though formed from the loins of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood have dumped their Sunni Islamic ideological devotion for the financial and military sponsorship of their ideological Shia enemies in non Arab Iran. How nauseating and typical of Palestinians to jump when monetary greed takes precedent. Hamas barks when ordered by Iran and similar to Iran it is a totalitarian theocracy and ironically Islamophobic. This needs some explanation but reference to the Hamas Charter of 1988 identifies the demand for the extermination of Jews in order for Islam to control the whole of the landmass currently the State of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Chanting ‘ from the river to the sea’ and ‘death to Israel’ are two of the most chanted little ditties originating not only from the Jew hating Hamas but also from their global support base. Unfortunately the Koran which never mentions either Jerusalem nor Palestine but does in numerous Suras bequeath and bestow the Promised Land that is Israel to the Children of Israel, that is of course the Jewish people. How ironic and absurd that Hamas who use the Koran as their guiding manifesto from which their Charter is supposedly adopted have not read nor understood the Koranic text .
Similarly Hezbollah has come under Iran’s control in Lebanon and trying to use tactics as Hamas to destabilise the region . The tunnel construction deep into Israeli territory at enormous cost was funded by Iran. Hezbollah’s arsenal is in fact far superior to Hamas but obviously so given the geography and Hezbollah’s political role in Lebanon.
The Iranian support for both Hezbollah and Hamas has come at a manageable price domestically as protests have been contained but ever increasing in numbers and violence .
And to complete the the three ‘H’ proxies the Iranian support for the Houthis and their expansionist aims is keeping the Saudis on a war footing. Yemen is a human tragedy but what do the Iranians care as long as they keep their ambitions alive a military dominant Shia Crescent.
Syria has not gone quite the way the Iranians had hoped. They have expended equipment, manpower and enormous monetary cost in assisting Assad to maintain power. Alas Russia are not so eager to support Iranian ambitions and as we have witnessed on several occasions are quite content for the Israelis to continue their airstrikes against Iranian targets based in Syria. The one and obvious caveat is that Israel coordinates first with Russia in order to avoid the catastrophe of earlier in the year when Russian troops were killed.
In summary out of the four areas of military and ideological expansion that Iran has committed , three have to date gone according to plan. These are the three ‘H’s’ – Hamas , Hezbollah and Houthis with Syria being a conflict they would be hopeful of saving face.
The knockout blow however to Iran’s expansionism has not originated from Donald Trump’s policies, nor from Israel’s continued attacks , nor from political opposition domestically or internally but from mother nature.
Devastating floods on an unprecedented scale in recent times have created so much damage that the cost of repair is beyond Iran’s means and the time to repair the current damage , given Iran’s incompetence , as exposed by the 2017 earthquake, would take decades. Bridges, roads, homes, offices, agriculture, industry including pipelines , villages and towns have been decimated. The total infrastructure of the country has been utterly destroyed in eighty percent of the provinces.
Sanctions had been and still are having a devastating negative impact on what is a weakening economy and the floods have exacerbated the dire situation. The totalitarian theocracy is so concerned about internal revolution that Shia militias have been requisitioned from both Iraq and Lebanon in the form of Hash’d and Hezbollah reinforcements. Supposedly these militias have been brought into Iran to assist in the reparation efforts but neither have any experience , knowledge or competencies in such situations. The reality is that they have been asked to quell internal dissent brewing under the surface and ready to explode. Iranians will not want the foreign puppets of the Mullahs interfering in domestic issues and it is only a matter of time before civil hostilities reach the Iranian Spring.
Mother nature and / or the hand of the Almighty has smitten the Iranian Mullahs a blow from which they can surely not recover and which not even the combined military might of Iran’s sworn enemies could have delivered. As in an English summer at the mercy of the English weather, as far as Iran’s ambitions are concerned, rain has indeed stopped play!
Peter Baum is a researcher, columnist and Special Contributor of Blitz