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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid