News : Middle East
- Published: Friday, 15 November 2019
The Iranian regime, seeing its long-time investment in Iraq and Lebanon vanishing, has tried in vain to oppress protestors or downplay the current uprising. The question is why?
Struan Stevenson, Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), in an article titled "What Protests in Iraq and Lebanon Mean for Iran?" answered this question.
He wrote, "Developments in Iraq and Lebanon, two Arab states where the Iranian regime boasted of controlling their capitals, are becoming very worrying for the Islamic Republic of Iran."
"Long considering the Middle East as its fiefdom the mullahs’ regime regards a decrease in influence in these areas as a prelude to sparking new protests and even a nationwide uprising back home" he added.
Referring to the situation in Iraq Mr. Stevenson wrote, "This turn of events gained a broader perspective as protesters in the city of Karbala, a major Shi’ite stronghold considered vital for the Ayatollahs in Iran, stormed the Iranian consulate on Sunday night. The site was torched and the significance of the development gained further global attention when the news was retweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump."
"In Lebanon, more than a week of demonstrations triggered the resignation of the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri. Iran-backed Hezbollah held a number of seats in Hariri’s cabinet, providing even further influence on Iran in Lebanese affairs. His resignation, however, leaves the future in murky waters and Tehran can no longer rely on Obama’s appeasement policy to escalate its influence in Beirut," Mr. Stevenson referred to the ongoing protests in Lebanon.
"Realizing the dangers of allowing the protests to escalate, Iran ordered Hezbollah to launch an attack targeting anti-government protesters seen smashing chairs and torching tents in Beirut on October 29th. The protesters, who are demanding an end to corruption and Iranian meddling could be heard chanting slogans against Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah," he added.
"There is no doubt that the current uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon are particularly difficult for the mullahs to handle. Iran is attempting to distance itself from the already out of control tensions in both countries. However, local allies and armed groups being targeted by Iraqi and Lebanese demonstrators are making it quite challenging for Tehran to remain in the shadows," Mr. Stevenson wrote while referring to the Iranian regime's fear of these protests.
"At the end of the day, the regime in Iran understands very well that such protests in Iraq and Lebanon can portray a weak Tehran apparatus and a good target for a new round of protests and a nationwide uprising by the Iranian people," Mr. Stevenson concluded.
Mr. Stevenson is a former president of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA).
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