Pressing Princes: After JASTA, Iran should show the hazards of Riyadh’s policies
There has been frequent warning about the hazardous mix of Saudi Arabia’s hundreds of billions of dollars in reserve and its destructive ideology and political agenda. It is true that managing this staggering amount of money, of which nearly 800 billion dollars are invested and kept in the United States, is not only a matter of finance, but also security. The recent JASTA bill passed in the US Congress which paves the way for American citizens to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, is the fruit of such fears. For Iran, this is a window, not for schadenfreude, but for materializing regional and international diplomatic goals.
At the moment, Iran is struggling with three types of challenges: 1) domestic issues, 2) regional crises, and 3) United States ill-founded goals in the Middle East and their adverse political, social and economic impacts on the region.
The gravest problem in the strategic region of the Middle East which can push the world to the brink of a Third World War, apart from underdevelopment and dictatorships tolerated by the liberal West for economic reasons, is the biased, contradictory, and non-transparent diplomacy of the United States in the region. Continuation of Washington’s current policies will have catastrophic geopolitical, environmental, and humanitarian consequences for the region.
When it comes to Iran, Americans think that a policy of carrots and sticks could force Tehran to ‘moderate’ its policies. This is indeed a prescription advised for Iran’s regional policies. The solution for the region, according to some American commentators, is for Washington to play the role of balance-maker among regional powers in order to prevent rise of a hegemon in the Middle East. For this, states of the region, particularly Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, should opt for peaceful co-existence and mutual acceptance. Nonetheless, many believe the course of events is moving in a reverse direction, i.e. polarization of forces.
But the main problem lies in appeasement of the Saudis by Washington, and tolerating their destructive ideology due to the power resting in their copious foreign exchange reserves. By blocking full disclosure of the Congress report on the role of elements inside the Saudi government in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Washington showed how far it can go to cut Riyadh some slack. JASTA may have changed that, paving the way for pressure on Saudi Arabia. Iran should take advantage of this opportunity to shed light on Saudi Arabia’s hardline policies and its adverse effects on the region.