Fact: We are angry. Another fact: we don’t know who to be angry at.
A tragedy has struck us here in the Gulf. We woke up one day with a big reality check, we are really at war, and our friends are really dying out there. For many, who never witnessed war before, we never thought that this would eventually hit us close. We are confused, upset, mad, and by nature try to find someone or something to blame. Not seeing very clearly the situation around the borders between Saudi Arabia and Yemen only confuses us even more.
Read a few sentences below, and I will simplify the situation for you. Let me give you a fact, something for you to embrace and keep in mind, so please keep this fact close and do not let go of it. The battle between good and bad has been ensuing for centuries, is still happening today, and will not cease from continuation tomorrow. Evil will always battle good, and vice versa. Here in the Gulf, things are no different at all.
Perhaps it is a matter of perspective, but it is rather easy for me to differentiate between a good and a bad government. Some would say that a democratic government is by default a good government, which is the most false statement I have been encountering for years. Perhaps another article at another time would allow me to explain the difference from a scientific point of view. For now, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Iranian revolution has not brought good to the region, neither has it revolutionized the country internally. Ever since 1979, Iran created issues and problems nonstop with its Arab neighbors. This digging have developed so far, until it reached to the level it is today, from Lebanon, to Yemen, to Syria and Iraq, and unfortunately, also in my own country, Bahrain.
A few years ago, in 2011, the world noticed rallies in Bahrain, claiming that a minority Sunni rule are living a lavish life while violating serious human rights issues over a majority Shia population. That rhetoric was first shocking to me, but somehow the world started to believe this fallacy. Many others, and myself began talking to the world, but noticed that nobody wanted to believe that what was happening in Bahrain is actually a product of an Iranian plot to destabilize the country. I had my eyes wide open scratching my head asking myself about how can people be so dumb thinking that democracy would work when political parties are separated by religious beliefs or ethnicities. Even President Obama made such a statement at the UN, which to me was both funny and scary at the same time.
Only a few with proper background knowledge understood, but you cannot really turn the international public opinion into experts in Middle Eastern history and politics in a day’s time. We all tried to explain, with some success, but it was like swimming against the current, it was fighting an unwinnable war.
It did not take much time actually, since 2011, for the wolf to get rid of his sheep clothing. Iranian proxies in the Gulf had to exploit the situation, because Iranian regional ambitions can no longer stay hidden. Soon, with desperation from no success in Bahrain, and an attempt to support Bashar in Syria, the Houthis received orders to march and make the much-awaited move. Saudi, had to make a move, or risk facing an Iranian Syria on top, and Iranian Yemen below, and Iranian Bahrain and an Iranian Kuwait from the East. Survival mode had to be switched on.
Unfortunately, war only began south of Saudi as a necessity. Nobody likes wars, and for sure nobody likes bloodshed. But the question is, why did we wait this long? We clearly saw this entire scenario coming, and Iran was planning, knowingly, since the Iranian revolution, so why did we do nothing?
We played nice, or perhaps we didn’t play at all. For many years, we failed in regional politics. We failed during the Iraq-Iran War, we failed when Saddam invaded Kuwait, and together we failed a lot, even at maintaining internal economic relations (common currency).
By nature, we are conservatives who don’t like to take risks. We love the status quo and tried numerous times to treat Iranian regional ambitions as myths, whereby reality confirms a rational leadership in Iran that protects the interests of its people. While we sleep wearing our rose tinted spectacles, Iran ships heavy loads of weaponry to Yemen, trains Bahraini Shia civilians in bombs, smuggles container-loads of light weapons to Kuwait, and took over Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This is where we are right now, sadly.
What to do? This I will leave it till next week. For now, we mourn our lost brothers in Saudi, UAE, and Bahrain. May Allah grant them the highest levels of Paradise. Amen.