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

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora