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memri
January 31, 2007 No.
1448

Former Kuwaiti Education Minister in London Arabic Daily Criticizes Iran's Negative Role in the Middle East, Says It Should Deal With its Unemployment and Poverty Issues Instead of Spending Oil Revenues on Nuclear Development and Military

In a January 15, 2007 article in the English online edition of the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, reformist columnist and former Kuwaiti education minister Ahmed Al-Rabei called upon Iran to stop issuing hollow threats and to renew its dialogue with the international community, lest it be defeated by the U.S. [1] In another article, dated January 29 and titled "Iran: A Crisis of Modesty," he described Iran as the "real motivator of war and chaos" in the region. [2]

The following are the articles, as they appeared in English.

January 15, 2007

"[Iran Has] an Illusion That [It] is a Huge Military [Force] With Decisive Striking Power"

"In America, they lie for tactical reasons, saying again and again that military action against Iran is unlikely. However, in Iran, out of ignorance, they reiterate that American military action against their country is impossible because the U.S. is 'unable' to [undertake such action]!

"We say - and we hope our analysis is wrong - that a possible military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities is [already] in the final stages [of preparation]. Unless a political miracle occurs that revives the halted dialogue between Iran and the international community, Iran and its neighboring countries should not be surprised by a scenario that includes American military action.

"There are a number of common illusions in the Arab and Muslim mind in general, illusions that on several occasions in the past have been tested and proven untenable. It was proven that the Arabs confuse their hopes with reality...

"There is an illusion that Iran is a huge military state with decisive striking power. This would be true in a confrontation between Iran and one of its neighbors. But the fact is that in any confrontation between America and Iran, Iran would be a tiny helpless state. It would suffer what the Arabs suffered in 1967, and what Iraq suffered when Saddam stubbornly rejected all peaceful solutions. America will be able to impose its conditions. This has nothing to do with love or hatred. Geographically and historically, Iran is closer to [the Arab countries] than America, and the cultural and historical relations we have with Iran outweigh our ties with America. [But] reality shows that the balance of power is flagrantly tilted in favor of the United States and the Western alliance, particularly the European one!"

"The Iranian Leadership [Must Consider] the Interests of Its People... [and] Realize That Big Words Do Not Change Political Facts"

"Another illusion is that America is 'stuck in the Iraqi mud.' I wish that the Arab world did not believe this statement. Iraq is not another Vietnam, and America is able to wage more than one war [simultaneously] owing to its vast political and technological capabilities.

"Tehran needs to reconsider its political discourse. The clamor of hollow threats has not been successful even once in [the course of] modern history. No one ever accomplished anything without using his reason, knowing his capabilities, and acting accordingly, based on the rule 'God favors those who know their own self worth.'

"Israel has a nuclear arsenal, but no Israeli official dares to mention Israel's possession of nuclear weapons; they deny even the very existence of these weapons. In Tehran, they are still in the early stages of [uranium] enrichment; yet we hear a language of threats, menace and stubbornness.

"If only the Iranian leadership would think of the interests of its people and seek to understand today's complicated international political equations. [It needs to] realize that big words do not change political facts and that seeking practical alternatives and solutions with the international community is more feasible and useful than the antiquated words [and the belief that] a louder voice means a stronger argument!"

January 29, 2007

"The Current Iranian Leadership Suffers From... the Belief that Iran is a Superpower"

"The current Iranian leadership suffers from a chronic ailment - the belief that Iran is a superpower, and that successful military exercises mean that Iran is capable of winning a real war against opponents with more capabilities, efficiency and technological advancement!

"The problem with the current Iranian leadership is that it neither wants to learn from history nor heed to the significance of geography.

"An example of this can be taken out of the pages of Iran's history books, when the late Shah of Iran thought that his awkward policy towards the Gulf states, particularly his insistence that Bahrain was part of Iran, thus allocating unoccupied seats representing Bahrain in the Iranian parliament, and threatening of the smaller Gulf States could improve his position. This resulted in the Shah losing the support of his neighbors, after losing that of his people, and the rest of the story is known to all.

"Another example is when the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran. Instead of attempting to solve the unemployment and poverty problems of its people, the new revolutionaries decided instead to 'export the revolution,' and in the process ended up stirring negative sentiments amongst its neighbors.

"After all, a revolution is not a commodity to import, but rather the creation of a new regime that sets an example to others. What the revolutionaries did in Tehran was a disaster rather than an example.

"This resulted in individuals like Saddam Hussein taking it upon himself to be the defender against the so-called 'Persian Magi', the results of which were tragic for all.

Iran is "The Real Motivator of War and Chaos" and is "Nauseatingly Active" in Acts of Violence in Other Nations

"Now the Iranian administration is repeating itself, but in a more provocative manner. For Iran is actively involved in Lebanon, a fact that they do not deny. They are the real motivators of war and chaos through the 'clean money' [Iran's funding of Hizbullah] that they appropriated from their poor.

"They are also involved in both Iraqi and Palestinian affairs. They are involved in acts of violence in Yemen and are nauseatingly active in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and other nations - while at home their unemployment and poverty problems worsen and their oil revenues are channeled into the development of nuclear weapons technology and the building of its military arsenal. The Iranian people do not deserve this juvenile policy, and the region does not deserve these frivolous policies.

"The Gulf peoples, on both the Iranian and Arabian sides need peace, stability and the exchange of commodities rather than the exchange of missiles, prisoners and injured people, which they've done for many years. Iran needs a stop at reason and logic. The clamor of hollow words will not solve Iran's problems, and the illusions of the possible success of these policies must come to an end, for the sake of the interest of the region and the interest of the Iranian people who have paid dearly for these adventures and wars for so many years. Some modesty is required as well as the realization of Iran's real capabilities. 'God favors those who know their self worth'; this is what we need to keep in mind always!"


[1] http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=7666, January 15, 2007. The text has been lightly edited for clarity.

[2] http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=7827, January 29, 2007.