News / Middle East

Iranian War Games Intensify Arab Anxiety

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards began a second day of military exercises in the Persian Gulf Friday to show their readiness to contest any attack by the United States or Israel. Analysts, however, say the maneuvers are also sending a strong message to Arab nations, which already believe Tehran has plans to extend its power in the region.

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday that the current "war game" does not pose a threat to "friendly countries".

Whether the nation considers its neighbors in the Gulf as friends remains unclear.

The Arab countries are strong trading partners with Iran, but they are also staunch allies of the United States, which is calling for more international sanctions to halt Iranian nuclear activities.

Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North African Bureau of the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, Sir Richard Dalton, says it is a complex relationship.

"There are several different strands to the relationship between the Gulf countries and Iran," said Sir Richard Dalton. "First of all, they [the Gulf countries] recognize that Iran is the big neighbor in the region so they need to retain diplomatic communication and personal relations. Secondly, to an extent, they are also rivals in that Iran seeks to be the chief military and political power in the region and the Arab countries are concerned about that because they don't want to come under Iranian influence."

Iran is carrying out its military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, where 40 percent of the world's traded oil passes through. Tehran says it will close the waterway in the future if it is attacked.

Naval, air and ground forces are taking part in the maneuvers that are scheduled to end on Saturday. Earlier this week, State Press TV announced that a new weapon system would be used during the operations.

Senior advisor at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, Mustafa Alani, says Iran routinely carries out war drills and the current one is not unique.

"On average, the Revolutionary Guard conducts maneuvers almost every four months, so it is nothing new actually," said Mustafa Alani. "We in the region are used to hearing about Revolutionary Guard maneuvers and it has become part of our lives."

But the director of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies, Ali Nourizadeh, says although Iran's exercises may be routine, Gulf Arab countries continue to keep a close eye on them.

"The military game in the Persian Gulf is one way or another sending them [Gulf countries] a special message," said Ali Nourizadeh. "If Iran came under attack by Israelis or Americans, in response, the Iranians cannot send their missiles to bombard American bases in the United States, therefore, they come to them [Gulf countries]. They knock on their doors and send their bombs and their shells and their missiles to their countries and therefore they are worried. They [Gulf countries] look with much concern to these recent war games and recent missile tests and all sorts of military activities of Iran."

The United States has been quietly constructing anti-missile systems in the Gulf for the past several months. The aim is to deter Iran from attacking American allies if further sanctions are imposed.

The West is calling for more sanctions after Tehran repeatedly refused to comply with international regulations regarding its nuclear program.

It is widely believed Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, but the country denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid