Coward Iranian mullahs are continuing terrorist activities within the Middle East using its proxies. Writes Baria Alamuddin
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were unable to resist gloating about their murderous strike against Abu Dhabi, even erecting an immense celebratory banner in central Tehran. So why are people talking about a “Houthi” attack? Who ordered it? Where did the weapons come from? Which authority gave the final approval? This drone attack had precious little to do with Yemen and everything to do with Iran intimidating its neighbors.
The Houthis also claimed responsibility for the Sept. 2019 attacks against Aramco’s oil facilities, briefly disabling 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, but it was subsequently discovered that these coordinated drone and missile strikes had been launched from Iran and Iraq.
The Houthis have become a mere appendage of the Quds Force; a Houthi football team even played a match wearing shirts printed with Qassim Soleimani’s image. When a former Lebanese minister provoked a confrontation with GCC states last year, the Houthis declared him a national hero. Houthi leadership figure Mohammed Abdulsalam was in Tehran on the day of the UAE attack.
The strike is an eye-opening game changer — not because of any deviation from Tehran’s usual terrorist playbook, but because it comes in response to sincere Emirati efforts to establish a minimal level of diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic. Tehran has no red lines, no reservations about attacking civilian targets in peace-loving states with whom it is not at war. These theocrats are by definition deceitful and duplicitous, and there is no agreement they can be expected to honorably abide by.
The Abu Dhabi attack also coincided with the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s dispatch of diplomats back to Saudi Arabia to operate their office at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, at the same time expressing hope for the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Kingdom. The ayatollahs are such sociopaths that they believe bombing civilians is an appropriate component of diplomatic outreach!
Iran’s leaders are also cowards. They are responsible for thousands of missiles and drone attacks against Gulfand international targets, yet they choose to hide behind proxies, waging war by remote control.
From the Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear program, even if Tehran agrees to some temporary constraints ithopes to emerge with its position consolidated as a nuclear state, a ballistic superpower, and the commander of regionwide paramilitary armies. The unfreezing of billions of dollars in assets, the removal of sanctions, and a huge expansion in oil production would supply the war chest it needs to massively expand its murderous programs.
Despite crippling sanctions, Iran has starved its citizens while exhausting its budget on ever more advanced missiles and munitions for overseas warmaking. Its proxies managed any funding shortfalls by massively increasing criminal revenue generation — such as Hezbollah reaping billions from narcotics, with tons of Captagon and other contraband goods turning up at Gulf ports.
After weeks of brinkmanship between Iraqi factions over forming a government, Quds Force Commander Esmail Qaani arrived in Baghdad to engineer a realignment within the pro-Iran factions with a view to retaining them in government, just as all previous Iraqi governments were brokered by Qaani’s late and unlamented predecessor Soleimani. These Hashd militias hubristically claimed to have defeated Daesh, yet in provinces that the militias control, such as Diyala and Salahuddin, why is Daesh being allowed to rapidly regain strength? Are the Hashd grossly incompetent, or does Tehran desire to see Iraq disabled and destabilized?
For months, Hezbollah prevented the Lebanese government from meeting as it tried to block investigations into how “the resistance” managed to blow up half of Beirut — and if Hezbollah aren’t to blame, why are they so determined to prevent the truth coming out? Why is there no investigation into how Hezbollah has reducedthe entire nation to a state of starvation, unemployment and poverty, in service to a hostile nation’s treasonousagenda?
A portion of the blame for Iran’s escalations falls on the shoulders of Western states, with the US in particular holding up the delivery of weapons necessary for the defence of Gulf nations, while being lukewarm in commitments to regional security. When allies fail to stand firmly together, it’s unsurprising that opportunists in Tehran ruthlessly exploit cracks in this relationship. Western states condescendingly play down Gulf security concerns, despite all evidence demonstrating that Tehran-backed paramilitary armies are consistently escalating hostile activities. The Biden administration’s de-prioritization of the Middle East doesn’t miraculously render strategic threats emanating from this region less threatening.
The curtain has definitively closed on a great age of diplomacy, and the UN-cenetred mechanisms of international law and conflict resolution have become effectively non-existent. It is in this context that Iran is charging full-steam ahead to become a military nuclear power while expanding its ballistic and conventional military capabilities, at the risk of triggering all-out war with Israel. The West’s strategy for managing this threat is ever-deeper denial.
Iran’s terrorist strike on Abu Dhabi is our wake-up call. It interprets engagement, dialogue and diplomacy as weakness. The mullahs comprehend only the logic of confrontation.
According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia more than doubled in 2021, to 78 attacks a month compared with 38 in 2020. As happened with Hezbollah, it is a matter of time before a nuclearized Iran starts arming the Houthis to the teeth with more advanced, longer-range and more destructive missiles, fundamentally upending regional security.
Like all bullies, Iran is at heart a coward. Its leaders must be compelled to back down by demonstrating to them that terrorist attacks against peace-loving states will not be responded to merely by symbolic gestures in Sanaa, Beirut or Deir Ezzor, but by directly and definitively striking at the head of the snake itself.
Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.