Dr. Abuzar Gohari Moghaddam, referring to the recent drone strikes on Aramco oil facility by Ansarullah of Yemen, noted: “The Yemen war has embroiled Saudi Arabia, the United States and Washington’s regional allies. They are unilaterally attacking the defenseless Yemeni people. The type of defense Yemen has displayed and the extent of the facilities it owns have not inflicted much damage on the Saudi and US coalition; but in the case of the recent drone attacks and their movement deep inside the Saudi soil – which showed that if Yemenis want they can access Riyadh too – the severity of the damage was such that it affected 50 to 70 percent of Saudi oil exports and caused an oil shock similar to the one occurred in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The attacks caused a surge in global energy prices.
He said the move was unexpected for Americans and Westerners, adding: “It should be noted that what happened is the result of American unilateral attacks on the Yemeni people, and instead of accusing Iran, they must blame themselves and the war they have waged against the Yemeni people. Their accusations are projections and originate from a weak defense and security structure which has cost Saudi Arabia billions of dollars. Of course, the Americans made profits in billions from sales of these seemingly defensive systems that proved ineffective against the drone and missile attacks.
“Naturally, Americans and the West in general should have a justification for this operational failure, and so they are trying to accuse other countries, including Iran, but the spat that is being carried out against Iran, which has recently been also supported by the Europeans, pursues several goals,” the professor said.
Gohari Moghaddam said the most important purpose of these actions was to include this accusation in the Iranian dossier and explained: “They want to use it when necessary to create a consensus against Iran. Since pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US has been practically isolated and lost its international and legal leverage against Iran. The unilateral policies adopted by Washington have accelerated this trend and for the same reason they seek to rebuild this international legal image against the Islamic Republic and try to do so by framing up Tehran, and by following these accusations, create a global consensus and even draw the support of countries like China and Russia to be able to open cases in international forums such as the United Nations, the Security Council, and issue new sanctions resolutions under new headings through this consensus.
They, on the other hand, are trying to validate a military option that has lost its credibility and declare that, as a superpower joined by its regional allies, they have the capability to use their military might against Iran, the strategic analyst said.
He said, of course, the US and Europe are practically pursuing only the prestige of their superpower status in the position of a state supporting regional partners, and these are merely rhetoric meaning that Americans are not going to pay for defending their own allies, especially in the Arab world but they want to show their allies that they support them.
Gohari Moghaddam emphasized: For many years the Arab countries have questioned the US credibility and they have come to the conclusion that the US will not support them in times of crisis. In the wake of the Islamic Awakening, this was evident. Lack of support for Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak led to his overthrow. In Tunisia, the Ben Ali government was overthrown because of their lack of support. Saudi Arabia has realized that if it comes under military attack in spite of the inefficiency of the American defense systems that has cost Riyadh billions of dollars, the Americans are not ultimately going to spend in defense of the Saudis. Therefore, the United States is trying to calm some Arabs by rhetoric and using apparently harsh literature and threat of military force.
On the other hand, Americans are trying to increase the cost of Iran’s effective and active resistance by escalating tensions and accusations, especially in the new step that it has persuaded major European states such as France, UK and Germany to make anti-Iranian statements. They want to drag Iran to the negotiation table and gain concessions through the choice of war or negotiation. The aim is, in fact, to imply that if Iran continues its own course it will eventually have to go to war, so it is better for Tehran to negotiate and give concessions rather than get involved in a war.
“So part of this policy and the pressure they are pursuing is to bring Iran to the negotiation table,” he said, adding that in fact, they are trying to create a global consensus in the region and the international system through crisis escalation and international support.
Gohari Moghaddam said naturally by following these policies, Trump pursues domestic goals as well. “The US presidential election is ahead, and the Democrats who believe Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA has led to Iran’s offensive behavior and they blame Trump for this event. Trump wants to say that he is not passive and that he is actively engaged and part of the rhetoric and strong words he uses is to justify American public opinion and to oppose the Democrats who are against him.
He also described part of the goals of the US policy as psychological operations against the Iranian people. ”The United States has put fears of a possible war with the intention of changing the calculations of Islamic Republic officials on its agenda so that they may want to change behavior in the case of war or talks option.
As to whether this policy of accusations and pressures on Iran would also lead to a practical response, Gohari Moghaddam said: These pressures are of no practical strategic value. If this policy were to lead to action, it should have been done much earlier. Usually, the strategic response to an action loses its effect if it is not applied urgently.
“The United States has come to the conclusion that if it wants to have an operational response against the Islamic Republic of Iran or its interests, many of these tensions will increase,” the professor of international relations continued. Energy prices will go up beyond their expectation. This could affect the global economy, and perhaps even more importantly for Trump, who sees his presence in power as a crucial issue, jeopardizing his victory in the forthcoming elections. Therefore, at this point in time it is not conceivable for them to go beyond rhetoric, and the ultimate action by the US is the sanctions. They have done this in the past and have repeatedly sanctioned Iran such as its Central Bank. Therefore, they do not have many operational and executive tools beyond the strategic tool of sanctions.
Concerning the positions taken by Iranian officials and a statement made by IRI Foreign Minister that if we were to attack Aramco we would hit in a way that it would not be possible to rebuild, he said: “It must be noted that when an action has a strategic effect that a government accepts responsibility for it. When the Islamic Republic actually declares that we have not done something it means it has not done it and we have not basically called for its strategic consequences to occur. As our officials have pointed out, if we were to do so, we would have taken responsibility for it. After downing the US drone we immediately claimed responsibility because we wanted to benefit from its strategic effects.
Gohari Moghaddam explained: “From the first moments when we denied that we did not launch the attack (on Aramco) — and we said the truth — it means that the Americans should look for clues elsewhere that is solving the Yemen crisis. Iran is so powerful in the regional arena that it will take responsibility for actions it takes. In fact, they are completing some of the puzzle of their psychological operations against the Islamic Republic and are unlikely to enter any other phase.
He also questioned the likelihood of Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of new arms deals following its latest failure: The credibility of American weapons and its defense systems has been questioned. Saudi Arabia appears to be reconsidering some of its arms purchases and merely relying on American weapons.
“Saudi Arabia will expand its defensive and offensive baskets and may even turn to the East, Russian and Chinese weapons and use other countries systems to defend its territory,” the university professor said. The United States has suffered some kind of discredit for its weapons, so Saudi Arabia will continue its previous commitments and purchases from the United States, but it will certainly not rely on the American system and the sale of American weapons to Saudi Arabia will not be easy this time because they have not been helpful to Riyadh at sensitive times.”