Heshmat Alavi, political and rights activist, focusing on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program wrote an article for Al Arabiya, giving a more in-depth perspective. He says this “places us before this important conclusion that most speakers strongly criticized Iran’s meddling and highlighted the necessity of solidarity and alliance amongst Arab states to confront this phenomenon. Leaders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan specifically expressed their grave concerns over Iran’s interference across the region, especially Syria, sectarian warmongering and Tehran’s state sponsorship of terrorism,” he writes. “Tehran provokes sectarianism and hinders efforts to resolve regional crises,” said Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
The Arab Summit had initially prepared a draft resolution with a soft tone in relation to Iran. The final resolution prepared and published by Arab League Foreign Ministers, instead, reflected the majority members’ position, which was overwhelmingly against Iran’s policies of meddling and supporting terrorism. However, a few Arab countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Algeria, were not on board with this resolution, leaving the remaining member states two options, according to Alavi, “refusing to sign, forgoing the possibility of a consensus and accepting resulting rifts; or financing on their common grounds, being the subjects of Palestine and opposing any meddling in others internal affairs (without specifically mentioning Iran).” According to Reuters, “Although the terms used in the Arab Summit resolution falls of short of directly pinpointing the regime in Iran, it is quite obvious who the crosshairs were placed on.”
Of grave significance for the main member states in this conference was to have Iraq’s signature, and that of its Prime Minister, on this initiative. Considering the new international state of affairs, and Washington’s new policies, the gradual distancing of Iraq from Iran is important, “and further advances in this regard is seen in the forecast,” Alavi writes.
This policy toward Iran has changed, and it’s been made clear by American policymakers that they will not permit Iran take on any of their desired measures.
In a recent hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee, US CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel emphasized the necessity to confront Iran as the main long-term threat to the stability of the Middle East. Votel also called for the consideration of military assets and other capabilities to stop this regime.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently visited Washington and it’s believed that he was briefed and received instructions about America’s policy changes in regards to Iraq and the Middle East. It became important to Arab leaders to have Iraq sign this new initiative. This allowed the summit to maintain its unity over two main subjects of Palestine and condemning meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.
Former NATO commander, and US national security advisor, General James Jones, has called on the Gulf States to establish an alliance similar to NATO, against the threat that Iran poses for regional states. He said that such an “Arab NATO” will have America’s support.
At a recent hearing held at the British Parliament, discussing Iran’s meddling in the region, condemnations concerning human rights violations, were heard, as well as calls to establish an Arab alliance aimed at the eviction of this regime from regional countries. Alavi writes, “For such a cause, designating the Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization would be a prelude measure and act as a necessary springboard.” He adds, “This goes in line with further measures to enforce the flawed deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Rest assured if the Arab World adopts a firm stance and demands Iran’s eviction from their soil, the US will most definitely be encouraged to blacklist the IRGC and defang Iran’s meddling.”
The presence of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Youssef bin al-Ottaimeen, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and envoys of the US And France at this conference were a strong indication that the decisions made have international support, further isolating Tehran from the rest of the world.
The Arab Summit in Jordan delivered heavy damages to Tehran’s interests. As we close in to Iran’s presidential elections in May, their international isolation will have a major effect on Iran’s domestic politics, and Iranian society is watching closely.