“Riyadh and Tehran are China’s tactical allies, not stabilizers”
The attack launched on Saturday by Hamas against Israel is due to several factors, one is the return of Iran on the regional scene as an ‘exporter of the revolution’ as in the times of the late Pasdaran leader, Qassem Soleimani, an Iran “revitalized” by the thawing of the six billion dollars resulting from the agreement that led to the exchange of prisoners with the USA. This was underlined in an interview with Adnkronos by Pejman Abdolmohammadi, professor of International Relations of the Middle East at the University of Trento, according to whom the latest appeals of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Ebrahim Raisi, do not fall “into the classic rhetoric Iranian” pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. There is more. “There is practical support, even if not yet demonstrable” for Hamas, explains the analyst of Iranian origin, who highlights the relaunch of Tehran’s leadership “at the helm of the Shiite triangle” and for which there is “a responsibility indirect also of the American Democrats”.
According to Abdolmohammadi, Saturday’s attack “favors Iran” because first of all it allows the ayatollahs to once again exhibit the bogeyman of the “external enemy” – Israel – and, at the same time, gives Tehran back a central role in the “political network” Islamic”. For the professor, there are “clues” that suggest a direct involvement of Iran, despite the fact that the US intelligence services have not yet managed to prove it: the visit to Tehran last June of a Hamas delegation, the subsequent visit of Hezbollah and the current one of Ayatollah Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Nigerian Shiite factions. “These are all signs that Iran, thanks to the money unfrozen by the USA, has started redistributing resources – he explains – the fact that radical movements are visiting Tehran again indicates that the Iranians want to play a role like in Soleimani’s time , even if I don’t think they have the strength to do it.”
These so far are the positive aspects that Iran would draw from the massacre in Israel. The risk, the expert highlights, is instead a “possible counterattack” by Israeli intelligence in the coming months or weeks. “Let’s not forget – he recalls – that the Netanyahu government was among the strongest supporters of last year’s anti-regime movement” triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini.
Coming to current events and this morning’s conversation between Raisi and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Abdolmohammadi believes that Iran and Saudi Arabia “certainly have a point in common, which is the tactical alliance with China and at this moment they are moving under the umbrella of Beijing, whose interests they appear to be representing in the region.” In this context, he continues, “I don’t think that Iran and Saudi Arabia can play a stabilizing role in Gaza, at most they can be useful for a balance of power in the region as one is the godfather of Hamas, the other is closer to Israel”.
For the expert, a game is being played around the Gaza crisis between the United States and China which is intertwined with other theaters. While Washington pushes to stabilize the Middle East and China has no interest in this sense, in sub-Saharan Africa “the interests are reversed in a sort of asymmetric war”, insists Abdolmohammadi, who instead excludes Russia as a decisive factor for a solution of the crisis in Gaza since “it is very busy with the war in Ukraine and has neither the time nor the strategic capacity to keep up with this situation. It will still gain critical mass with Tehran”.
Abdolmohammadi then concludes by highlighting how, in his opinion, the Hamas attack will not mark the definitive stop to the normalization process between Saudi Arabia and Israel. “I think he is not dead, that he will remain suspended there. Mbs is a very unpredictable regional player, today he is not playing the usual alliance card with the United States, but he has the somewhat Erdogan-like ambition of playing the role of peacemaker as the talks with Raisi and Macron demonstrate – the analyst comments – The Abraham Accords could resume in the coming months, but the American elections will also determine a lot on this”.