Thaw in US-Iran ties and constructive chaos theory

Thaw in US-Iran ties and constructive chaos theory

THE budding rapprochement between the United States and Iran has stirred a debate among the Arab intelligentsia, especially in the Gulf region, mainly due to its geographical proximity with Iran and host of other issues.
Their concerns stem primarily from the longstanding Western geopolitical interests in the Middle East and the timings of the initiation of this political flirtation between the US and Iran.
In support of their arguments, many Arab thinkers refer to the reports of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1907) and Bernard Lewis plan (1979). Both reports advocated demarcation of the Middle East and India along ethnic, sectarian and linguistic lines. The goal, it seemed, was to establish Western hegemony in the region. It is obvious a united Middle East with full control of its natural resources would have been detrimental to the Western interests and would have posed a threat to its hegemonic designs.
The proponents of these theories are no ordinary men. Sir Henry was a British prime minster and Bernard Lewis served in the British intelligence (British Foreign Office) during the World War-II and allegedly was one of the notable figures who had provided former US President George W. Bush with historical, religious and moral justifications to invade Iraq in 2003.
Moreover, their views were based on academic and methodological reasoning, which made them effective working plans.
The successful implementation of those plans in the Mideast and the former Soviet Union is what makes them important to the Arab intellectuals till date. Henry had proposed creation of a buffer state between the Islamic African wing and the Asian one to fracture the Middle East and it was that strategy that had paved the way for the creation of Israel.
Former Soviet Union remained Lewis’ center of attention who had suggested breaking up of the edges of the then USSR and his plan helped in the disintegration of the country.
With memories of the US invasion of Iraq still alive, the Iranian reconciliation with the US instantly brings to mind former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s concept of “Constructive Chaos,” which posits that generating conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region would allow the US, Britain and Israel to redraw the map of the Middle East according to their interests. This concept basically stems from the two above mentioned reports or theories.
It is worthy to note that the so-called “breakthrough” in Washington – Tehran ties comes at a time when the entire region is engulfed in turmoil.
The so-called Arab Spring has swept several major Arab countries, including Tunis, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria. These “revolutions,” as they were initially called have done almost nothing to improve the living standards of the people and the masses are still awaiting a proper inclusive democratic disposition in their countries.
Referring to the Constructive Chaos theory, Abdel Rahman Al-Rashid, former Editor-in-Chief of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper wrote in January 2012: “Now we are without the regimes of Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), Muammar Qaddafi (Libya) and Zein Al Abideen Bin Ali (Tunisia)…. regimes that were ruling more than 100 million Arabs have disappeared and the Middle East map has become full of gaping holes waiting to be filled…. The winds are still moving the region’s sands.”
Building on those historical pretexts that had occurred in the region, the concern is that the US might reach an arrangement with Iran at the expense of the Arab interests when Western powers secure their absolute hegemony over the region by further dividing it into small political enclaves.
In many Arab intellectuals’ views, Iran could be supported by the US and its Western allies, Russia and China, as these countries have had their share of terror attacks said to be allegedly carried out by Sunni extremists.
A claim that is frequently purported by political pundits of the West.
Will Iran’s Shiite theology dominate the Arab world in the foreseeable future? This will be the topic of my next article.

• Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Zuhayyan is a Saudi academician based in Riyadh. This article is exclusive to Arab News.
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