The murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist on November 27, allegedly by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and as part of a war by the US and Israel, has led to wide speculations that Iran could target the Israeli-American assets in the Gulf region.
Iran is said to have communicated to the UAE that in case of a US-Israel attack, it would attack the Gulf nation, reported Middle East Eye on November 30. The report says that Tehran has directly called the UAE crown prince MbZ, a close friend of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) crown prince MbS, to pass on the message.
The seriousness of the threat cannot be downplayed as it hadn’t been long enough since Houthi rebels in Yemen, backed by Iran, had attacked the UAE airport in December 2017 — something which the UAE had denied. However, this gained credibility when some footage was released on March 24, 2019, according to English.AlAraby.co.uk.
Another threat involves the expected 50,000 Israeli tourists who are likely to visit the UAE this Christmas, who may become the target of hostility. Israel had already issued a warning and after the murder of the Iranian scientist, given a ‘double warning’ to its citizens from visiting the UAE and Bahrain, Middle East Monitor reported.
It is in this context the US President Donald Trump’s words become extremely important, as he after the conclusion of the US elections, had refused to acknowledge defeat, stating, ‘this has a long way to go’, which meant Joe Biden’s ascension won’t be a cake-walk.
There may be an attack or even a fake attack on the UAE, which may be the ‘doing’ of the US or Israel, to invite an Iranian retaliation, and thus, trigger the much-awaited war, that would ultimately lead to the destruction of the UAE and Iran. And obviously, KSA would be the first to come to the aid of the UAE.
The KSA has also initiated a renewed bonhomie with Qatar, to let Qatar provide the US its base to be used against Iran. The US has its largest military base in Qatar, which the latter seems reluctant to provide due to its proximity to Turkey. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is already in the Persian Gulf to meet the needs of war.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on December 3, according to Politico had a war of words at the NATO headquarters, during which the former accused Turkey of stoking tensions with fellow allies in the Mediterranean and ‘giving a gift’ to the Kremlin by purchasing a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.
The Turkish FM is said to have hit back at Pompeo, accusing him of calling European allies and urging them to gang up on Turkey, of siding blindly with Greece in regional conflicts, and of refusing to sell Ankara the US-made Patriot anti-aircraft weapons.
The KSA does not see eye-to-eye with Turkey but has sent signals of friendship with Turkey lately, as well as to Qatar, which it wanted to ground-invade with the help of UAE in 2017.
Pakistan is unlikely to provide its bases to the US to attack Iran and if Qatar does the same, the only option left is the UAE, which is just 70 km (44 miles from Iran), and this will automatically attract a reaction from Iran. But in that eventuality, the Pakistan army will not come to the defense of UAE, hence, the Israeli army, and maybe also the Indian army, will step in to safeguard the UAE.
As has happened when Indian forces had helped the Dubai princess ‘return’ to her country after she had rebelled against her father Rashid Al Maktoum.
This will make a ground for Israel and the US to jointly attack Iran and in this melee UAE land, in reality, a ‘grand-house-of-glass chambers’, would be subjected to a war, which may turn it into the next Faluja, Aleppo or Tripoli. Exactly, what analysts say, as to what the US and Israel would wish to see.
As a part of the war strategy, the US and Israel might at first go a bit slow on Iran and the US may also provide weapons to Houthis, through hundreds of its channels to attack the UAE, to legitimize a full-blown war as the only fait accompli. The KSA will have to become a participant and that is what would be ‘the catastrophe’ as Iran and UAE-KSA war would open up the centuries-old sectarianism between people of Islamic societies, across the whole world, and no wonder this strife would reach every nook-and-corner of not only Pakistan but India too.
#BREAKING: France, Britain and Germany have taken note with great concern of the recent law passed by the Iranian parliament, which would expand Iran’s nuclear programme and limit IAEA monitoring access https://t.co/GUywadmOEG pic.twitter.com/9WQBSxquSZ
— Arab News (@arabnews) December 7, 2020
A civil war between Muslims is, therefore, waiting to happen. The gullible masses are all vulnerable to internet manipulation through fake ulemas, which would mark a further descent into chaos. Perhaps, the ruins of the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war, and later a devastated Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, have failed to serve as a wake-up call, while the UAE economy, and the KSA too, have nosedived in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s see how the other bloc led by Turkey, Pakistan, and Malaysia, with the support of China and Russia, positions itself with regard to Iran. India stands firmly behind the KSA, the UAE, Israel, and the US. But, a war will always end with further misfortunes; for sure!
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics.