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April 3, 2024 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1758

Iran's Grand Plan: Bring Down The Jordanian Regime, Attack Israel From The East, And Thwart The Western-Sunni Normalization Project – And This Could Begin This Friday, Iran's Qods Day

April 3, 2024 | By A. Savyon*
Iran, Jordan | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1758

Introduction

In recent days, the grand Iranian plan is emerging – the plan with which the Islamic revolutionary regime is continuing despite the killing, in Israeli air strikes, the senior command of its IRGC Qods Force in Syria and Lebanon. The upcoming stage of this plan involves bringing down the regime in Jordan, attacking Israel from the east while Israel is kept busy by Iran-backed resistance forces in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. The political aim of this plan is to thwart the Saudi-American project of normalization with Israel.

Next in Iran's sights is the expulsion of American forces from Iraq, and the undermining of the Saudi kingdom and the Egyptian regime, as Iran actualizes the vision of its Islamic Revolution.

It is not clear whether the U.S. administration, which is currently preoccupied with the IDF's tragic mistaken killing of World Central Kitchen charity workers, is aware of events that could impact the continued U.S. presence in the region as well as America's international standing.

Iran's Messianic Vision: Exporting The Revolution, Eliminating Israel

Since its establishment, the Iranian revolutionary regime has been operating according to an systematic messianic ideological plan.[1] According to the regime's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the seizure of power in Iran in 1979 was the starting point of Iran's "comprehensive Islamic Revolution" and of the concept of "exporting the revolution" – that is, spreading and instilling the Islamic Shi'ite revolution and its values across the regions of Sunni Arab hegemony in the Middle East – and that this will be the instrument for achieving Islamic unity.

The regime in Iran has never concealed its aims and aspirations: to have the Iranian Islamic Revolution take over the region, to bring down the West-facing moderate Arab Sunni regimes by "exporting the revolution," and to eliminate Israel, the "Little Satan" and the "cancerous growth," and liberate Jerusalem from it.

To achieve this, the Iranian regime uses its array of resistance axis militias, from Yemen to Lebanon and from Iraq to Azerbaijan, as an effective military arm for establishing its messianic vision. Iran's messianic revolutionary vision is embodied by the concept of Umm Al-Qura, "the Mother of the Villages," developed by Iranian thinkers (see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1286, The Regional Vision Of Iran's Islamic Regime And Its Military-Political Implementation, Part I – The Ideological Doctrine: Exporting The Revolution; Iran As 'Umm Al-Qura') This vision camouflages Iran's efforts to expand Shi'ite hegemony in the Islamic world at the expense of the Sunni hegemony that has prevailed in the region for the past 14 centuries.

In effect, the Iranian regime uses each of its two aims to justify and achieve the other. For example, the Palestinians are, for the regime a means of achieving the aims of Iran's Islamic regime: a means for eliminating Israel and for "exporting the revolution," i.e. consolidating Shi'ite Iranian control of the region to replace the Sunni Arab dominance.

Likewise, the regime uses International Qods Day, a day of solidarity with the Palestinian cause established as the last Friday of the month of Ramadan (April 5 this year) by Ayatollah Khomeini, both to conceal its main goal and to mobilize Sunni Muslims for the Palestinian cause in a way that serves Iran's struggle for regional hegemony. This intention is most clearly expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini's motto, "the road to Jerusalem goes through Karbala [in Iraq, the historic center of the Shi'a]." That is, the struggle to liberate Jerusalem involves Iranian control of historically Sunni-controlled areas, such as Karbala.

Iran depicts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a religious one – Islam vs Judaism – and thus presents its particular aim to eliminate Israel as pan-Islamic.


Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh and other senior Hamas officials in Tehran (Khamenei's website, March 26, 2024)

It should be noted that as early as Qods Day 2014, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the arming of the West Bank (see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No 1107, Qods Day In Iran: Tehran Calls For Annihilation Of Israel And For Arming The West Bank). In recent years, Iran has been working to upgrade West Bank warfare capabilities to fight the Israeli army, by smuggling in anti-tank missile launchers and handguns.

On March 25, 2024, IRGC Coordination Department deputy commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi said: "The Zionists have shortened the path to their destruction and prepared the ground for an event more terrible than the Al-Aqsa Flood [the Hamas October 7 attack]."[2]

Moreover, Iran's intelligent use of its resistance axis proxies is aimed at distancing itself from any responsibility for dragging the region into war, and at allowing it to present itself to the superpowers, particularly in the West, as a legitimate political partner.


Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei embraces Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran (Source: Khamenei's website, May 24, 2021)

Israel's New "Concept": Israeli Airstrikes In Syria And Lebanon Are Aimed At Deterring Iran From Acting Against Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's security apparatuses maintain that Israeli airstrikes in Syria and Lebanon will prevent Iran from consolidating its presence in Syria. But this concept is wrong, and this is because Iran's operations against Israel have two dimensions: The first is direct Iranian action against Israel, which Tehran is currently avoiding – not because it is deterred but because it is not deviating from its grand plan that prioritizes undermining pro-West Arab regimes. The second is its use of its proxies, i.e. the "popular resistance" organizations in the various Arab countries, which has been Iran's modus operandi since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and particularly in recent years.

The Israeli airstrikes are not deterring Iran from using its proxies, since this Iranian approach has been a cornerstone of its political-military and religious strategy since the Islamic Revolution. This strategy's two main aims are consolidating its presence in the region and eliminating Israel, without getting dragged into a regional war before its preparations to do so are completed.

At this point, Iran will not be dragged into a direct war with Israel because this contradicts the current phase of its strategy, which would in fact be thwarted by such a war. In Iran's view, Israel itself is the element that is trying to drag it into such a direct war with it before it is ready. This is why Iran will attempt to prevent the situation on Israel's northern border from escalating into an Israeli war with Iran's most powerful proxy, Hizbullah.

Iran's grand plan is now focused on the immediate aim of bringing down the Jordanian regime, just as soon as Iran has gained the maximum benefit on the Lebanon front via Hizbullah. At the same time, it is refraining from sparking all-out war with Israel, since it does not yet have Israel fully surrounded.

It is important to note that Iran's current behavior and the fact that it is avoiding getting involved in a regional war is not because of Israeli deterrence, but because of Iran's caution and its clever implementation of its strategic-messianic-religious vision.

Recent Developments In The Iraqi And Jordanian Arenas, In The Palestinian Authority's Position, And In The Saudi Arena

The Iraqi Arena: The Establishment Of A Pro-Iran Militia In Jordan

Elements in the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq welcomed the escalation of the pro-Palestinian protests in Jordan in recent days, and expressed their desire for a new front against Israel from the Jordanian border. These elements are not settling for merely protesting; an Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades militia official revealed operative plans to establish a Jordanian militia with 12,000 armed members that would be subordinate to the Iran-led resistance axis.[3] Jordanian sources reported on recent Iraqi-Iranian efforts to infiltrate Jordan via the Iraqi convoys delivering aid to the Palestinians.[4]    

The Jordanian Arena: Igniting The Anti-Israel Protests

Since the Hamas October 7 attack on Israel, and against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war that has been ongoing for nearly six months, there is a growing trend in Jordan of popular support for Hamas, and greater anti-Israel sentiment. The latter is reflected in the many anti-Israel protests and in explicit calls in the country to confront and wage jihad against Israel,[5] to expel the U.S. ambassador, and to bring down the Jordanian regime. In the past few days, the protests have ramped up, in both magnitude and intensity, particularly near the Embassy of Israel in the capital Amman; thousands of young Jordanians are gathering there every evening after the iftar (the meal ending the daily fast during Ramadan) to "besiege the embassy." Hamas officials have expressed support for these protests, and have called on the Jordanians to escalate them and to join in the war against Israel.[6]

According to Jordanian sources, these protests are backed and directed by Iran and by pro-Iran Palestinian elements in Jordan and the region – i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas – with the aim of bringing down the Jordanian regime. In recent months, fears have grown in Jordan about Iranian subversion activity there amid increasing attempts by Iran-controlled elements to smuggle drugs and weapons into Jordan via Syria. The pro-Iran Iraqi militias' January 28 attack on the U.S. Tower 22 military outpost in Jordan, that killed three U.S. servicemembers, intensified these fears.[7]  

The Palestinian Authority's Position

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is also aware of the full scope of Iran's grand plan to bring down the Jordanian regime, and of the regional dimensions of the current crisis. Thus, in a phone conversation on April 2, which was initiated by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the latter expressed "the Palestinian people's and leadership's support for the Jordanian kingdom." He went on to underline their "opposition to all the attempts to harm [Jordan's] security and stability or to use the suffering of the Palestinian people in the [Gaza] Strip to harm the Jordanian arena, [and their opposition also to] any external [i.e. Iranian] interference in Jordan's internal affairs."[8]


Friday demonstration in Jordan, March 29, 2024 (Source: Al-Rai, Jordan, March 30, 2024)

The Saudi Arena: "Jordan Is A Red Line"

The Saudi media have mobilized in Jordan's defense in the face of the protests in Jordan, accusing Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood of fanning the flames there. Khaled bin Hamed Al-Malek, editor of the Saudi Al-Jazira daily, wrote: "The Saudi leadership, government, and people will not hesitate to stand alongside Jordan, as long as the developments in the situation demand it. This is because they [the Saudis] see Jordan's stability and security as integral to the stability and security of Saudi Arabia."[9]

Additionally, Saudi writer Khaled Al-Ghanami wrote, in an article headlined "Jordan Is A Red Line": "The moderate axis that is represented by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE will not sit idly by if it sees any harm to Jordan such as a declaration of war..."[10]

* Ayelet Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iran Media Studies project.

 

[1] The concept of "exporting the revolution" is anchored in the thought of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and especially in his book, Al-Hukuma Al-Islamiyya ("The Islamic Government," Beirut 1979), in which he presented his view that contradicts the view that in Islam there can be separate peoples and states, and strives for Islamic unity.

[2] Tasnim (Iran), March 25, 2024.

[3] Telegram.me/abualaskary, April 1, 2024.

[4]  Independentarabia.com, April 2, 2024.

[6]  Details on this will be presented in a separate MEMRI report.

[8] Wafa.ps, April 2, 2024. It should be noted that Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar wrote on April 2 in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: "The conspiracy of the leaders of Tehran has been exposed, as well as the shame of their pawns who do their bidding: the Muslim Brotherhood and their armed branch in Palestine, Hamas, as well as the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad. [The conspiracy was exposed] after their public announcement in the operations room of their general headquarters in Tehran [this is a reference to the meetings between Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh and PIJ secretary-general Ziad Al-Nakhaleh with Iranian regime heads] that the ultimate goal of the [IRGC's] so-called 'Qods Force' is to take over [Amman], the capital of the Hashemite Jordanian Kingdom, invade the East Bank of the Jordan and eliminate the Palestinian national enterprise..." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), April 2, 2024.

[9] Al-Jazira (Saudi Arabia), April 2, 2024.

[10] Majallah.com, April 3, 2024.

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