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February 17, 2016

The game behind the deal


February 17, 2016

After the historic Iran P5+1 nuclear deal, America has a long list of political, economic, ideological and military objectives to attain. In this American game, Iran and India are likely to play the central role.

Historically speaking, the US made Iran, under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the powerful regional police to safeguard American interests in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. In this context, Iran was assigned a specific duty in the US-led Cento, and was gicen sophisticated US-made arms and nuclear reactors to assert its dominance. However, the Islamic Revolution in Iran turned these friends into sworn enemies.

Realistically speaking, the prime reasons for bilateral estrangement and antagonism coupled with crushing sanctions on Iran was partly owing to the Iranian ambition of building a nuclear bomb and partly due to Iran’s tilt towards Russia and China. It was closer Sino-Iranian and Russo-Iranian ties which made the US more apprehensive and worried.

In this backdrop, the US had no choice but to conclude the long-lasting nuclear deal with Iran so as to once again bring Iran onto its regional bandwagon, and make the latter the regional police empowered to protect the US economic and military objectives.

First, the Obama administration has dismally failed to live up to its foreign policy objectives made during the 2012 election campaigns. Obama promised to obstruct Iran’s nuclear programme, shut down the CIA torture cell at Guantanamo Bay, draw dawn combat troops from war-torn Afghanistan, instigate political change in Syria against Assad, bring stability in Iraq and Libya and eliminate rampaging militancy and terrorism. Now, to silence the scathing Republicans and clear the way for Hillary Clinton, Obama concluded the deal with Iran.

Second, no American political party can come in the saddle without all-out assistance given by the Jewish lobby, AIPAC. Since 1962, American military aid to Israel has amounted to nearly $100 billion. For the past decades, the US has been regularly transferring aid of about $3 billion annually for Israel defence purposes.

Since the major regional powers – Egypt and Saudi Arabia – are already US security partners, it was only Iran’s clandestine nuclear programme that posed the major threat to Israel’s security as observed during former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tenure. If Iran had acquired a nuclear warhead, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would have followed suit. Therefore, the Iran nuclear deal is another milestone for the US in terms of maintaining Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East.

Third, the historical competition between communism and capitalism for cultural dominance of the developing countries has been revived again. Both Russian and China have left indelible impacts of communism and socialism on the Iranian society. That has greatly helped Russia and China to dominate the region. This is totally unacceptable to the US. The nuclear accord has afforded America the chance to again westernise the minds of Iranians through propaganda.

Fourth, the abortive US policies of regime changes have created the monster of Daesh. Saudi Arabia has miserably failed to play any stabilising role in these countries. On the other side, Iran, with Russian and Hezbollah’s support, has successfully shored up the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria, the Shias in Iraq and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The US has realised that without Iranian assistance, it cannot bring stability in the region. Arguably, in the post-deal period, Washington will rely on Iran to fix the unfolding political and security crises in the Middle East. After the removal of arms-related sanctions on Iran, the US will also ramp up arms sales to Iran.

Fifth, the US is rather apprehensive of the rapid Chinese economic and military rise in the region. The CPEC, One Belt One Road Policy and pearl of string strategy of China have worried US policymakers. If China succeeds, it will outweigh the US economically and militarily in the world. On the Chinese regional rise, American, Indian and Iranian interests largely converge with one another. All fair and foul means will be used to obstruct Chinese access to the Middle East and Africa via the Gwadar Port.

Sixth, if Pakistan and China partner with Afghanistan and CARs through the CPEC in the future, the US’ covert objective behind invading Afghanistan and Indo-Iranian efforts of making Chahbahar port a success would become rather elusive. The US wishes to contain China in South Asia, Central Asia and in the Middle East, while India and Iran want to dominate Afghan and Central Asian energy resources and landlocked economies. To achieve these grand objectives, the US has befriended Iran and provided India unimpeded access to the international nuclear market so as to obstruct China.

Seventh, Vali Nasr in his book, ‘The Dispensable Nation’, and Edward Snowden in his revelations have warned Pakistan repeatedly that the US is trying to shift its central focus from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The US is apprehensive that non-state actors could access Pakistan’s nuclear material and the Americans would never be able to fulfil the dream of a greater Israel in the Middle East.

Now, Pak-Saudi defence cooperation will be misrepresented to Iran so that it provides access to the US to monitor Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Despite the discovery of vast reserves of shale gas, the US will continue to import energy from the Middle East. Since Iran possess a substantial amount of oil and gas, the US with other European partners will systematically strive to dominate the Iranian energy market. That will not only help foster US-Iran ties, it will also squeeze the Iranian energy market for China.

In this anarchic world, such US policy change in the region would instigate a string of challenges to Sino-Pak relations. In this context, it is imperative for both China and Pakistan to complete the CPEC as soon as possible, and extend it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Above all, all legitimate reservations of Balochistan should be resolved. Also, effective diplomacy should be used to to balance out Iran in this game of the US-Indo bloc.

The writer is an independentresearcher, blogger, columnist based in Karachi.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ayazahmed66665


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