Following the opening, on September 30, 2019, of the Al-Bukamal-Al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, which had been closed for five years due to the Syria war, Abu Al-Fazel Salehi nia, a culture advisor at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, published an article in the pro-regime Syrian daily Al-Watan, in which he presented the opening of the crossing as a step towards the realization of Iran's vision of a new Middle East. He explained that Iran planned to establish a political, economic and cultural bloc consisting of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which will impact the power-balance in the region and world, and thwart what he called the American and Western plan to fragment the Middle East into tiny states under Western control. For many years, he said, the U.S. and Israel have been working in various ways to prevent the creation of this bloc, including by instigating protests in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; however, they have failed thanks to the resistance axis, which is now stronger than ever and has attained impressive achievements.
It should be mentioned that the creation of a geographic continuum from Iran to Lebanon, through Syria and Iraq, has long been a strategic goal of Iran's, and in the recent years it has devoted considerable efforts to realizing it. Such a continuum provides Iran with access to the Mediterranean, enabling it to import and export goods via its ports while bypassing the U.S. sanctions. As part of this, Iran, Syria and Iraq are currently discussing the building of a railway connecting the three countries.
Abu Al-Fazel Salehi Nia (Source: Dampress.net)
The following are translated excerpts from Salehi Nia's article.
"The official opening of the Al-Bukamal-Al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, for the first time since 2014, is not just a passing event... but an event that heralds the birth of a new political, economic, educational and cultural bloc that so far comprises Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. It can be seen as the first step towards the creation of a new Middle East according to the plan of the local peoples, instead of the new Middle East that the West sought to create, and whose imminent birth it even declared during the July 2006 war [between Israel and Hizbullah], as though it was inevitable and the peoples of the region and their governments had no choice but to succumb [to it]...
"[The West] wanted to fragment the countries of the region into tiny states, so as to make it easy for [the West] to take control of the region's resources. But its plan prompted the countries of the resistance axis to grow closer and unite, and to regard any danger threatening one of them as a danger threatening all of them. Moreover, this led to coordination of their efforts and to economic, political and military rapprochement between them, thus creating a strong bloc that yielded an even greater strategic power in this part of the world.
"The members of this bloc have all the characteristics necessary to form an influential political-economic-cultural union that will be an important element in the regional and global power-balances:
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--Their peoples are part of the same cultural fabric, and the connection and bond between them is deeply rooted in history, for thousands of years ago these countries were the cradle of the world's most important civilization, and they maintained cultural and educational ties. This guarantees the existence of a suitable ideological and cultural [common] ground that facilitates the formation of this bloc and shortens the path to realizing it.
--The countries of this bloc occupy and area of over two million square kilometers, in a region of immense geo-political importance, and their [combined] population is over 120 million, by the most conservative assessment, and this is an important source of power.
--Aboveground and below ground, these countries possess the most important and valuable industrial resources, including oil, gas, copper, iron, zinc, uranium, titanium, gold, silver, phosphate and many [other] natural resources. This will encourage trade with the world and comprise a source of capital and a basis for development, progress, prosperity, welfare and peace for the bloc's peoples and countries. However, America's ambitions, and its desire to control these natural resources, have not ended, for it occupied Iraq for this purpose and invented excuses to take control of the oil and gas, as U.S. President Donald Trump publicly revealed a few days ago...
--The countries of the bloc are rich in scientific abilities, and [have] the experts necessary for initiating growth in the spheres of science and knowledge and for reviving the civilization that we once built and brought to the world. [This civilization] formed the basis for the modern Western civilization that grew after [the West] emerged from the age of darkness and backwardness.
"This bloc will surely form gradually, once the obstacles are removed. This is what the Zionist entity and the U.S. fear, which is why they have been fighting it for years, by every means at their disposal. They did not suffice with military and security confrontation, but employed an entire array of measures – economic, scientific, technological, cultural and political – as part of a strategy aimed at preventing the formation of this bloc.
"As for us, we do not regard the [American and Israeli] actions against our [various] countries as separate. We must regard them as part of an overall struggle against the formation of this bloc. The instigation of unrest and riots in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is only one of their countermeasures aimed at preventing the realization of this plan, as are the aggressive media and psychological wars aimed at stirring up our people and planting spies among the masses to cry out provocative slogans and sow division among [our] nations. We have discerned this in the [current] protests in Iraq and Lebanon.
"The economic siege; the banning of our students from gaining expertise in various fields at Western universities; the fact that, as part of the siege, scientific papers by our scientists and students are not published in [Western] scientific journals; the expulsion of our experts in advanced fields; the attacks and assassinations of scientists in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon by the intelligence apparatuses of America, the Zionists and their partners, amid a strange media silence – all these and many other measures against our countries have [all] been taken in the context [of the struggle against the bloc].
"However, an overall look [at the situation] we have reached reveals that [the Westerners] have failed to achieve their goal, and assures us regarding the future of this fateful strategic plan for the region and the world. The resistance axis is stronger than ever, and has managed to thwart the plan to dismember the region's countries. The members of this axis attained high-quality achievements in various spheres – military, scientific, technological, informational and industrial. This is not just a slogan but is recognized by qualified international institutes. Tomorrow belongs to us, the peoples of this region and the owners of this cultural plan. All of us – the countries, peoples and elites of this bloc – must focus on safeguarding the components of this cultural plan, which will benefit us and the [entire] world..."
 See MEMRI reports: Inquiry & Analysis No. 1475, Struggle Between Russia, Iran For Control Over Syria's Centers Of Power, September 23, 2019; Special Dispatch No. 7790, Syrian Opposition Websites: Iran Consolidating Its Presence In Eastern Syria, West Of Euphrates, To Form Continuum From Iran, Through Iraq And Syria, To Mediterranean, December 4, 2018.
 Al-Watan (Syria), November 5, 2019.