Iran uses Mina tragedy to settle scores with Saudi Arabia
The campaign by Iran against Saudi Arabia following the tragic Mina stampede at the haj can only be understood within the context of the greater war that the Arab world has been subject to of late. This is a war led by Iran, whether directly or via its sectarian militias, and taking place across the Middle East.
Iran does not miss an opportunity to settle scores with the leadership of any Arab state. While Iraq is suffering today thanks to Iranian interference, the same goes for Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The campaign against Riyadh is nothing more than a new chapter in this Iranian war against everything Arab in the region.
What happened in Mina, which resulted in the death of more than 750 people, was a true tragedy. This could have been the result of pilgrims failing to abide by official instructions or it could be the result of a mistake by the authorities. We must wait for the results of the investigation that has been launched by Saudi Arabia. We cannot rush to judgment, as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has done, in holding the Saudi authorities responsible for what happened. And whatever the case, it does not justify the bitter sectarian campaign that Iran has launched against Saudi Arabia.
What is clear is that Riyadh is prepared to launch a full-scale investigation to find out what happened and hold those responsible accountable. This is precisely what happened in its investigation into the September 11th collapse of a crane into the Grand Mosque. So why can’t Tehran wait for the results of the investigation?
This campaign aptly demonstrates the extent of the Iranian hatred towards Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states. Iran is using sectarianism to destabilise the Arab world to serve its own interests, promoting the idea of sectarian identity. This is precisely why we have seen the rise of sectarian militias in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Iran is the unifying factor.
Iran’s reaction to the Mina stampede has revealed its true face. Tehran had two choices: It could have chosen to help to deal with the tragedy or it could have decided to follow an approach based on negativity and settling political scores with Saudi Arabia. It chose the latter.
Riyadh recognises the need for a quick and transparent investigation and that is precisely what it is doing in order to avoid a repeat of such an incident.
Since he took the throne, every time that any incident has happened in Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been quick to give directives and ensure that everybody is shouldering their responsibilities. The Mina stampede investigation is another opportunity for the Saudi monarch to demonstrate that he is not complacent in dealing with any crisis.
So Iran’s campaign against Saudi Arabia will not achieve anything, particularly as the Arab Gulf states have no illusions regarding what Tehran is trying to achieve in the region.
It is now very clear that Iran’s game is up. Everybody in the region understands what Tehran is trying to do with its baseless accusations.
Iran has chosen to divorce its neighbours and cooperate with the “Great Satan”. All of its actions since the signing of the nuclear agreement aim to ensure that Iran becomes the dominant power in the region, even at the cost of its own people, half of whom live below the poverty line.
The question is no longer: “Can the Iranian regime change?” but “Can a country build a regional role based on sectarian militias and when will these militias bite the hand that feeds them?”