Teheran and the strategy of “perpetual turbulence”

By Jana Beris (from Jerusalem, for Safe Democracy)

Jana Beris explains the Iranian strategy of perpetual turbulence throughout the Middle East in an attempt to destabilize the current world order. For Teheran, the worse off the region is, the better.

Jana Beris is a journalist specializing in the Middle East and a correspondent of the Latin American Service of the BBC and La Nacion (Argentina) in Israel. She studied International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

THE WORSE, THE BETTER: this is the Iranian strategy for stability in the Middle East.

And with internal violence in the Gaza strip, rocket attacks on Israel, the Israeli military responses to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the internal tension in Lebanon, and the paralysis of the Lebanese government, the situation could not get much worse.

In a conference held a few weeks ago in the prestigious Jerusalem Center for Contemporary Affairs by Brigadier General Yosi Kuperwasser – who was, up until a few months ago, the Head of Investigation of Israeli Intelligence – the destabilizing role of Iran in the Middle East was clearly defined.

Kuperwasser distinguished between the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Western democracies, explaining that while the West promotes stability, Iran promotes perpetual turbulence.

Stability would immortalize the existing world order, and that is exactly what Iran wants to change, explained Kuperwasser. Any attempt to convince Iran of the necessity of regional stability dies upon conception. There is no way to make Iran embrace stability. The very essence of the regime contradicts the idea of regional stability.

Hamas receives a great deal of funding from the Iranian government, and top members of the organization, including the Palestinian Prime Minster Ismail Haniye, have met with Iranian officials in Teheran to make official the strategic alliance of the Palestinian people with Iran. This strategic alliance translates into a constant flow of money as well as the construction of Iranian control centers in Palestinian territories. It would be an error to think that this alliance is only a threat for Israel.

Several days ago, the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel declared that the establishment of an Iranian base in Gaza is a catastrophe. Jordan agreed with that assessment.

And to tell the truth, the situation is quite alarming. By manipulating the radical Palestinian groups in the Gaza strip, Iran is gaining a permanent handle on the region, much as it already has in Lebanon through Hezbollah.

In the middle of an internal war between Hamas and Al Fatah, Hamas decided to push its own agenda, by increasing its Kassam rocket attacks on Israeli territory.

After months of contention the Israeli government gave the order to respond, in the face of heavy criticism from the international community. The policy of selective assassination and air-strikes was reinstated. Yet, the renewed offensive against Hamas has only worsened the internal situation in Gaza.

In Israel there are many who consider that the government is doing too little, too late. Not only politicians, but independent security analysts alike estimate that the current operations against Hamas have not been sufficient to hinder the organization’s actions. Were the government really interested in bringing peace to Gaza and Israel, these critics contest, it would come up with an operation of great importance to be carried out in the region.

In its considerations for how to confront Hamas – since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza almost two years ago, Hamas has considerably increased its arsenal – the Israeli government has at least one historical precedent: the military build-up of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon following the Israeli withdrawal in May of 2000.

And yet none of these threats, despite the malice of their aims and the complexity of their strength, come close to endangering the very existence of the State of Israel.

But Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear aspirations do present a threat to Israel’s survival, as well as to the survival of Europe and the Western world in general. And although Iran still has a ways to go before fully realizing its nuclear aspirations, it remains, for now, dedicated to its strategy of permanent instability and perpetual turbulence.

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