United States President Donald Trump has been particularly outspoken about Iran’s belligerence and he has taken decisive action to curb its malign influence. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states have also been outspoken about Iran’s dangerous activities and measures have been taken to deal with the threat.
Iran, on its own, has absolutely no chance of being able to confront Saudi Arabia without enlisting many of its mercenaries across the region. And elsewhere, namely Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, the Iranian regime is completely incapable of forming a military force that will have any chance when confronted by the international forces that will become involved to defend these countries.
Iran uses a complex network of proxy groups and militias and it has thousands of mercenary fighters at its disposal. They are spread out across the Middle East and even beyond. But they are all losing ground.
For example, the once influential Houthis in Yemen are not being allowed to send a delegation for the United Nations-sponsored peace talks being held in Switzerland. Also in Yemen, the legitimate nationalist forces are being supported by the Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition that is working towards legitimacy in the country.
The nationalist forces are gaining ground rapidly and are taking control of more and more areas that were once under control of the Iranian militias. The Houthi rebels once enjoyed the freedom of being able to receive weapons and arms from Iran in the ports and maritime passages that it controlled. But these are no more under their control.
The Iranian regime has also been accused of undermining security in a number of Latin American countries. Hezbollah’s interests were looked after there where the smuggling of cocaine was a major operation.
In Syria, Iran had significant influence and it poured a huge amount of resources into propping up Syrian President Bashar al Assad. But this has changed too and Iran does not have the right or freedom to do as it pleases there anymore.
Iran is quite simply running out of ways to destabilise the Middle East with its plots and malign activities.
And in the latest blow, the people of Basra have made it explicitly clear that they do not want Iran around. In a message that couldn’t be any clearer, the Iranian consulate in the city of Basra was torched.
Iran wanted to completely change the demographic structure of the city and it was once moving towards its goal. It had control over the country’s oil supplies and at the Umm Qasr port – a major strategic location for Iran. To make matters worse for Iran, it was the Shiites and the Sunnis that have been outspoken about Iran’s presence in the country.
Iran is stuck.
It cannot change its goals of regional hegemony and it has no other way to turn.