With respect to the first argument, one could explore whether or not Iran constitutes a threat to Saudi Arabia by examining its political map, which serves as a primary tool to facilitate an understanding of a current geopolitical situation. In the case of the current political tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the political map shows that Iran is bordered with Iraq, the Arabian Gulf, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Caspian Sea.
Naturally, if Iran seeks any type of influence, it ought to be in its own geographical sphere, specifically in its bordering states. Iran, however, has garnered all its power to exert its influence on anything that is Arab, instead of exerting its influence either over its neighboring states, or in supporting the banner of Islam, as Iran is a theocratic state, with ambitions to propagate its own version of Islam that is known as Shiite theocratic ideology.
Presently, Iran is directly interfering and meddling in the internal affairs of Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq; militarily occupying three islands in the Arabian Gulf that rightfully belong to the United Arab Emirates as well as beefing up its military presence in the Arabian Gulf. These countries are adjacent to Saudi Arabia and are in its natural political sphere of influence.
But Saudi Arabia is neither interfering in Iran’s oil-rich regions where most Sunni and Shiite Arabs live nor it is exerting its influence over those countries that are adjacent to Iran.
Moreover, Iran has practically and adamantly declared to the world that it will continue its nuclear program that the international community knows could be easily used for military purposes. This program, if successfully completed, would not only bolster Iran’s international prestige, but also embolden it to seek hegemony over the oil-rich Gulf region surpassing the primary functional use of nuclear arsenal as a deterrent.
Additionally, Iranian warships, speedboats and mid-size submarines’ maneuvers in the Arabian Gulf and their provocation to US warships in the region is a show of force with a clear message, specifically to the GCC states. This message is: “Iran is ready to confront the alleged US indispensable warships in the Arabian Gulf and the GCC states cannot be shielded by this US sea force.”
The subtle meaning of the message is that Iran will be present everywhere around and in the GCC states. This is an indication that Iran’s presence in the Arabian Gulf countries may take either the form of direct military presence or the form of a continuous threat to these countries, forcing them to serve Iran’s interests, especially in the area of oil. In either way, the Iranian presence will put international oil affairs in the hands of unpredictable mullahs.
Hence, the Iranian political behavior in and around the GCC states, particularly around Saudi Arabia, defies any sensible logic and the only explanation for the Iranian political and military behavior is that Tehran is directly threatening Saudi Arabia, and that is a real threat and not a perceived one as few US strategic analysts like to claim.
Regarding the second argument that claims the US support of the Syrian Free Army might be considered interference in Syria’s internal affairs, in the same manner as if the US armed Shiites in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, this argument is also connected to the Iranian interference in the GCC states and its strong presence in the Arabian Gulf, specifically in the Strait of Hormuz, as well as its presence in Syria. These countries, GCC states, Syria and surrounding states are geographically and historically connected.
Iran, nonetheless, is similarly imposing its influence on the other side of the Arab world, particularly over countries that are adjacent to countries bordering Saudi Arabia, namely Syria by allying with Assad’s Bathist dictatorship; Lebanon by arming the sectarian army Hezbollah, and occupied Palestine by financing Hamas. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is surrounded by Iran’s influence everywhere even on its own territory, particularly in Qatif.
Firstly, it is important to note that Saudi Shiites in the eastern region are a small and localized minority. They live in small towns and villages in both Qatif and Al-Ahsa and make up 3-5 percent of the entire population in the region. They are not subjected to a state-sponsored atrocity as is in the case of the Syrian Sunni majority population, who must be protected by the international law.
Going back to that argument, Iran already has an actual hegemony over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and occupied Palestine (Hezbollah and Hamas and the likes). On the other hand, there are three moderate secular countries that have peace treaties or normal relations with Israel, specifically Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, and these countries are in the Iranian-geographically controlled sphere and could be swayed by the Iranian politics.
Moreover, if Assad’s regime succeeds in withering down the Syrian people revolt, the new Syrian political situation would embolden this regime to strengthen its ties with Iran, that already has an alliance with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and occupied Palestine (Hezbollah and Hamas, and the likes), and eventually Egypt, with Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, who are in bed with Iran.
These countries constitute the Middle East political playground, and if Iran succeeds in dominating them, the entire region will be orbiting around Iran, including Israel.
Consequently, the issues of the Middle East political game would be in the hands of the Iranian mullahs, including its religious ideology; its political issues (Palestine-Israel conflict) and its natural resources (oil and gas, and other mineral resources). This political situation would provide Iran with a formidable hegemony over the Middle East.
Therefore, these Iranian imperialistic objectives constitute an imminent threat to the national security of the United States and the international community, especially with Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arsenal that will definitely make Iran’s dominance over the entire Middle East a reality. Arab News