In light of Iran's increasing physical presence and influence in Arab countries, particularly in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, there has been a proliferation of voices in the anti-Iranian Arab camp arguing that the Iranian presence in those four countries constitutes occupation and that action must be taken to prevent Iran from occupying additional countries.
As evidence, the speakers pointed to a recent statement by Ali Younesi, advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who said that Iran is an empire and Iraq is its capital (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5991, Advisor To Iranian President Rohani: Iran Is An Empire, Iraq Is Our Capital; We Will Defend All The Peoples Of The Region; Iranian Islam Is Pure Islam - Devoid Of Arabism, Racism, Nationalism, March 9, 2015).
Expressing the fear that Iran will occupy large portions of Arab countries, Lebanese MP Muhammad 'Abd Al-Latif Kabbara, from the Al-Mustaqbal party which is close to Saudi Arabia, called on the Arabs to give national and pan-Arab priority to liberating Arab countries occupied by Iran - and to make it even more of a priority than fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). In a press statement, Kabbara discussed how all Arabs are hostile to Israel, which occupies a single Arab country (Palestine), but are doing nothing about Iran, which he said has so far occupied four Arab countries. Operations to liberate the Arab countries from Iran should not take the U.S. position into account, he said, because the Arabs could end up paying the price for a U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement.
Muhammad 'Abd Al-Latif Kabbare (Source: imlebanon.org, March 13, 2015)
It should be noted that Khaled Khoja, chairman of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, also said that the Syrian opposition must now deal not only with the Syrian regime but with an Iranian occupation, and that Bashar Al-Assad has become Iran's executive manager in Syria.
The following are excerpts from Kabbara's statement to the press:
The Persian Invasion Of Arab Countries Is Aimed At Reviving The Persian Empire
"Iran has passed the stage in which we [merely] accuse it of occupying Arab territory. It has confirmed what we have warned against, and it brazenly, arrogantly, and boastfully claims to be an empire in the entire Arab East, with Baghdad, not Tehran, as its capital. There is a need for the Arabs to take serious measures in order to confront this occupation...
"There must be serious, practical, and realistic discussion of a plan to liberate the Arab countries occupied by Iran and to stand against its expansionist aspirations, in order to prevent it from occupying more Arab countries.
"The first inevitable step that the Arabs must take is to decide to liberate Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen from the Iranian occupation. This is because if we do not liberate this axis, which links the eastern part [of the Middle East] and the Mediterranean, then the remaining Arab countries will fall one after the other to the Persian invasion - [an invasion] aimed at reviving the Persian Empire and subordinating all the Arabs, not just the countries of the [Shi'ite] crescent...
"After Iran declared openly that it was occupying these countries, the Arab peoples are entitled to demand that their rulers form a plan for liberation, making this a top national and pan-Arab priority, politically, economically, militarily, and philosophically. We have no dispute with the Arab countries that are part of the [international] antiterrorism coalition - but we maintain that it is an obligation to liberate Arab land from the Iranian occupation..."
Arabs Are Hostile To Israel, Which Occupies One Country - But Iran Occupies Four
"The land occupied by Iran is Arab land, and it is the Arabs who will determine their duty in this matter, not the U.S. - which is not occupied by Iran and is even conducting nuclear negotiations with it, and perhaps even at the expense of Arab countries.
"The Arab citizen has begun to wonder: The Zionist enemy occupies one Arab country, Palestine, and all the Arabs have been hostile to it since its establishment. At the same time, Iran, which occupies at least four Arab countries, faces no hostility from any Arab country. In fact, some [Arab] countries have friendly ties, and even alliances, with it.
"Even worse is that Iran's official party in Lebanon [Hizbullah] wants the rest of the Lebanese and Arabs to be its partners in treason, and to facilitate [Hizbullah's] occupation of what Iran has not yet occupied, and its killing of those who [IRGC Qods Force Commander] Qassem Soleimani and his Revolutionary Guard have not yet killed...
"How awful is this time, when we beg for a decision to liberate us from occupation."