Thursday, June 19, 2014

Saudi Editor: Detach Oil Province from Iran

A blast from the past comes from Jamil Al-Dhiyabi, deputy editor of the Saudi daily Al-Hayat, published in London. He calls in an editorial for detaching Al-Ahwaz from Iran. Ahwaz, which includes the Iranian province of Khuzestan, figured greatly in the news some thirty-five years ago. It was the principal object of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in 1980, which hoped to rouse the native Arabs (about half the province's population) into rebellion. As Al-Dhiyabi notes, it has lots of oil and other good stuff. I suppose we can mark this down as another episode in Saudi Arabia's contribution to a "rule-based" international system. 

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"Though I support [the decision of] Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait to grant some $20 billion to Egypt [for the sake of its] stability and rehabilitation, I wish to ask a legitimate question in light of the current situation: What would happen if Arab Gulf states like the ones mentioned above spent these billions on supporting [the cause of] an independent Arab emirate in Al-Ahwaz, so that it becomes a thorn in the side of Iran? Do the Gulf states realize the benefits they could reap in terms of the future of the coming generations and [ensuring] their security and stability? How long would the Iranian 'demon' be occupied with its own affairs if it lost a strategic region so rich in resources? What would happen if the Arab Gulf states supported the Ahwazi plan? Would this not weaken Iran's [expansionist] ambitions and thwart its plans?
"... The residents of Al-Ahwaz (both Sunni and Shi'ite) are pure Arabs, who await help from their brethren, having suffered disasters, oppression, poverty, and discrimination at the hands of the Persian regime and its racist policy. Al-Ahwaz is a rich Arab emirate that occupies fertile land with plenty of water, large rivers, minerals, oil, and natural gas. Despite these plentiful natural resources, the Arabs there live under the yoke of oppression and in degrading poverty. The population of Al-Ahwaz is 9-11 million, out of 70 million Iranians. According to statistics, this province has some 183 billion barrels of [crude] oil, which are more than 85% of Iran's oil deposits. Furthermore, statistics show that Al-Ahwaz has the world's second-largest natural gas deposits after Russia.
"Just imagine what the map would look like if this Arab emirate was independent from Iran, with [its own] regime, army and resources, and was an ally of the Arab Gulf states and the seventh member of the GCC. What would have been the state of the 'crazed' Iran in terms of [its ambition to] establish a Persian empire at the expense of Arab states?
"So long as Iran continues on its deviant path and continues interfering in the affairs of Arab countries, we need a similar brave program, as a counterweight to [Iran's] expansionist plan, which will allow this Arab emirate [of Al-Ahwaz] to stand on its feet and confront the Persian plan. [This can be achieved by means of]  material and moral support for its people.
"An independent Al-Ahwaz emirate will strengthen the Arab Gulf, especially when most of its people are members of Arab tribes who yearn to confront the Iranian [expansionist] plans... This way, the Gulf states can confront the Iranian advance, instead of groveling before Iran, reconciling with it and rushing into its arms in order to force it to recant and abandon its dream of establishing Greater Persia and end its growing influence in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq...
"Therefore, the Gulf states should formulate a unified and comprehensive strategy, in order to deal with Iranian policy and plans in the region... and convey a uniform message that would force Iran to consider its steps and restrain its devilish behavior. The first thing to do is to support the intifada of the Arab Al-Ahwaz [province], openly and fearlessly, in order to confront Iran's shameless actions in Arab countries."
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