Given that this oil-rich region was autonomous until it was annexed by the Shah in the 1920s, it is no surprise that separatists would want to fight for independence and why Shiite Arabs would want to fight back against the Iranian Regime and their proxies.
The Iranian Regime has long repressed the rights of its Kurdish minority at home and abroad. They’ve assassinated Kurdish leaders abroad (i.e. the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin in 1992), bombed their headquarters in Iraq in September this year, and imprisoned Kurdish activists in Iran.
And, of course, the Regime also abuses many other minorities, from the Baluch of southeastern Iran to the Arabs of the southeast, to the Turkish-speaking Azeris.
Of course, the Iranian Regime has a long list of enemies, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US for inciting the attack at first.
All three countries have denied this, but it shows just how fearful the Regime is of its domestic opposition that it must blame large countries with big militaries for these attacks, rather than the Iranian people who are fed up with regime rule.
The Khuzestani Arabs have been subjected to decades of oppression by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who is the force most likely to deal with minorities, and needed no foreign incentive or help to attack the Regime’s primary security force.
If the other Gulf countries wanted to band together to tackle the Iranian Regime – perhaps even in the Arab NATO proposed by Donald Trump – they would do best to support the Iranian people’s uprising, which has caused chaos in Iran since it began last December. This paralysed the Regime, even though they reacted with violence and suppression, and meant they were unable to quell the protesters.
With support from such formidable countries, the Iranian people could bring the Regime to its knees before a nuclear bomb could be built. Money, intelligence, and weaponry from countries with far bigger military budgets would help the Iranian people take their rightful place as the true rulers of Iran.
Indeed, the US has already offered support to the Iranian people, although it could go the whole hog and support the democratic Iranian Resistance forces and the overthrow of the Regime. So, why could the Gulf countries not do the same?