Dr. Salem Alketbi
Dr. Salem AlketbiCourtesy

Dr. Salem Alketbi is a UAE political analyst

It is unfortunate that what is currently happening in the Gaza Strip is setting the ball back in the Middle East, and is undermining the efforts of the past few years to establish peace and stability and spread a culture of coexistence. But what is most dangerous of all is that the current events represent a tactical success - albeit a short-term one - for Iran's strategy based on spreading chaos and unrest and consolidating sectarianism, militancy, extremism and terrorism.

For about two weeks, the Middle East was standing on the threshold of a turning point in its history, as expectations indicated the imminent signing of a peace agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel. But we must admit that this step, which represented a historic turning point that established new rules for the regional game, did not enjoy Iranian acceptance of any kind, and this explains a large part of what is going on around us.

Someone might say that the planning of the heinous and bloody attack carried out by the Gazan Hamas terrorists against Israel preceded that by many months in light of the size and accuracy of the operation, and therefore the issue has nothing to do with the official Saudi announcement made recently by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regarding the imminent signing of an agreement. Peace with Israel.

But the analysis of reality says that negotiations on signing a peace agreement between the Kingdom and Israel also began a long time ago, and that the American side has been urging Riyadh to take this step for more than a year,.Tehran is aware of these developments and is thinking about how to eliminate them preemptively, and decided that there was no other way but to blow up the entire Middle East.

We are not exaggerating if we say that the change in the Iranian position regarding rapprochement with neighboring Gulf countries may have been nothing but a political maneuver aimed at preventing the establishment of any Israeli strategic alliance or cooperation with the influential Gulf countries, most notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

My conviction is that the Hamas terroris government of Gaza was prompted to implement an evil Iranian plan that would re-engineer the Middle East and anticipate any steps to complete the episodes of normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab and Gulf neighbors. This would mean the effective isolation of Iran, especially in light of the announcement of the economic corridor project linking India and Europe, through the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Israel.

The question now is: Has Iran achieved this vital, immediate, short-term strategic goal? The short term answer is unfortunately yes, as the situation has flared up regionally and there is no longer talk of peace for a period whose time frame is difficult to predict. Indeed, the existence of this discussion or not has become dependent on what will happen on the ground in Gaza in the coming days.

Everyone regionally was cornered in a critical corner by an evil Iranian plan that was executed with brutal extreme precision. Even stable peace relations between two parties such as Egypt and Israel have been subjected to a difficult test due to the situation of the Rafah crossing and the need for Egypt, alll Arab states and the West to accept Gazan refugees, avoiding all the repercussions and strategic consequences that not doing this entails, the bill of which is expected to be paid by everyone.

In light of the above, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s announcement of suspending peace talks with Israel was not surprising, as the Kingdom is in fact the most influential Arab and Gulf country, and it bears a great responsibility.

It is difficult for the Kingdom, with all its weight and spiritual, religious and strategic standing in the Arab and Islamic worlds, to remain silent in light of the accelerating events, as the Saudi leadership is well aware of the sensitivity of the current scene, and how the inflated snowball could grow unexpectedly to affect everyone regionally.

Iran has cornered everyone in a critical corner, and we, as observers, believe that it is seeking to ignite a regional or world war, using the terrorist Hamas movement to commit a bloody massacre that pushed Israel to retaliate.

Israel does not have any margin of maneuver or alternative option except to act and respond to one of the worst attacks it has been exposed to since its inception, and the Arab parties also found themselves faced with zero or, more precisely, non-existent options. The Hamas terrorist attack took everyone by surprise, but the dilemma lies in the fact that everyone also fell into the captivity of the Iranian scenario that was prepared in advance, and the regional countries and major powers suddenly turned into hostages in the hands of a cunning and elaborate plan!

Has the conflict of plans ended, and has Iran gained the upper hand in re-engineering the geostrategic map of the Middle East? The truth is that it is too early to answer such questions, as the game is still at its beginning, and if Iran had the initiative and got ahead of everyone else,,Israel is taking Hamas down without restraints and will do the same for Hezbollah if provoked. it is difficult to expect the curtain to come down on what is happening and the end of the intense strategic match to be announced.

The coming weeks still hold surprises for Hamas, which is learning that achieving short-term goals does not necessarily mean ensuring victory in the end, and that winning a battle against defenseless civilian women, chldren and the elderly does not mean winning the war.

Dr.Salem Alketbi
Dr.Salem AlketbiCourtesy