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Arabs’ Real Enemies: Iran and Turkey
By Khaled Abu Toameh
Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.
After decades of portraying Israel as their mortal enemy, the Arabs have finally woken up to the fact that it is two Islamic countries, Turkey and Iran, that are actually threatening their security and stability.
The Arabs are now seeking to draw the world’s attention to these Turkish and Iranian threats.
The Arabs are warning the world that Turkey and Iran are funding and arming terrorists, that they a major threat to stability in the Middle East, and that they keep meddling in the affairs of Arab countries.
They are also telling the world — in message directed mainly to the Biden Administration — that the only way to deal with Turkey and Iran is by increasing political and economic pressure on them and holding them to account for their malign actions.
The latest message from the Arabs was delivered on March 3 by Arab League foreign ministers. In a clear directive to the Biden administration and the international community, the ministers warned against Iranian and Turkish intervention in the internal affairs of the Arab countries.
The message the Arab foreign ministers are sending to the Biden administration is: In your dealings with the mullahs in Tehran and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remember that they are funding and arming terrorists and trying to destabilize and dominate Arab countries.
The Arab ministers are also saying that they want the international community, including the Biden administration, to take real measures to stop Turkey and Iran from pursuing their dangerous policies against Arab countries.
Referring to Turkey, the Arab ministers condemned the Turkish military presence in — and “hostile intervention” in the internal affairs of — a number of Arab countries, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. This intervention, they cautioned, “aims to undermine the stability, and tamper with the capabilities, of these three Arab countries.”
The ministers accused Turkey of hosting, funding, arming, training and providing a safe haven for terrorist groups, which they cited as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey’s “malicious’ policies require Arab and international action,” the ministers said. They also called on Erdogan to withdraw his troops and “mercenaries” from Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Referring to Iran, the ministers accused Tehran of proceeding with its plan to “destroy, sabotage and undermine the stability” of a number of Arab countries.
The ministers condemned Iran’s encroachment into the internal affairs of the Arabs, as well as the mullahs’ “provocative statements” against Arab countries and missiles now being fired by the Iranian-affiliated Houthi militia in Yemen into Saudi Arabia.
Turkey and Iran, however, do not seem fazed by the Arab ministers’ warning. The two countries have lashed out at the ministers and dismissed the Arab allegations as “baseless.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on some members of the Arab League to end their “insistence on stereotypical accusations against our country with aims to cover up their destructive activities.”
Turkey, the ministry said, with its “principled and resolute stance,” is one of the countries that devotes the greatest effort to ensure “regional and global peace and stability of security.”
“We again invite the Arab League to prioritize the peace, prosperity and well-being of the Arab people and to constructively contribute to the establishment of security and stability in the region, instead of targeting our country with baseless allegations.”
Likewise, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said:
“It is regrettable that some Arab countries are seeking to divert people’s attention from their wicked and destructive moves by arousing fictitious animosity instead of taking care of the key issues that the Arab world is facing.”
Turkey and Iran, in other words, are telling the Arabs that they can go to hell. They are also telling the Arabs that Turkey and Iran will continue to occupy Arab countries, meddle in their internal affairs, and unleash terrorist attacks to undermine their stability and security.
“It is natural for Erdogan to reject the decisions of the Arab League, and this is understandable and expected, but what is neither acceptable nor expected is that the Turkish Foreign Ministry claims that the decisions are baseless,” remarked Saudi writer Najeeb Yamani.
“It is quite clear that Erdogan is a blind fool. He is sending mercenaries to Libya and supporting one of the parties to the conflict there with weapons. Turkey is occupying parts of Syria and violating the sovereignty of Iraq. In addition, Erdogan is embracing and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood organization and using it to undermine Egypt’s security.”
Veteran Saudi columnist Abdulrahman Al-Rashed warned that Iran’s continued “military activities” in the region will likely lead to more chaos that will be increasingly difficult to control.
Al-Rashed also pointed out that the Houthi militia increased its missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia after the Biden administration revoked its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“Every week that passes proves the need for a grouping of countries in the region in the face of Iran, regardless of the attempts to negotiate between the West and Iran,” he said. “Americans who are looking for positive signs [in Iran] will not find much.”
Yet, the latest Arab warning concerning the Turkish and Iranian threats has gone almost unnoticed by the international community and media. They only seem to pay a great deal of attention to the resolutions of the Arab League foreign ministers when they include — as they frequently do — a condemnation of Israel.
When the Arabs issue warnings about the destructive policies of Turkey and Iran, the international community directs its gaze elsewhere.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.