Persian Gulf state representatives at an annual strategy conference, the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, warned that Iran’s confrontation with the West over Teheran’s nuclear program could plunge the Gulf into war.
The Kuwaiti foreign minister was one of several speakers who identified Iran as a leading threat to the Gulf. Other speakers asserted that Iran was helping the Shi’ite rebellion in Yemen, which has spread into neighboring Saudi Arabia.
But the U.S. representatives at the Manama Dialogue refused to confirm the accusations that Iran was supporting the Shi’ite rebellion in Yemen even though Saudi Arabia, and other sources – including this column in Hypocrisy.com – have confirmed it.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman said Washington had not received “independent information” to confirm Iranian involvement.
Mamoun Fandy, a senior fellow at the London
based International Institute for Strategic Studies, which organized the Manama Dialogue, said Iran was fomenting tension throughout the Gulf. Fandy said Iran was also involved in stirring unrest in Egypt and Iraq.
“Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, Iran’s confrontation with the international community, Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinian people, the Horn of Africa, and the crisis in Yemen [threaten Gulf security],” Kuwait Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah Al Sabah said.
Addressing the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain on Dec. 11, Al Sabah cited growing instability in Iran. He said this could further increase regional tension.
“People call for rebellion against the regime, challenging the government and calling for the overthrow of the government in place,” Al Sabah said.
Iran was also said to have topped the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, scheduled to end on Dec. 15 in Kuwait.
“The military training [of the Shi'ite rebels] proves there has been foreign intervention,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said.
A senior Yemeni official agreed. National Security Agency chairman Maj. Gen. Ali Al Anisi, citing the recent capture of a suspected Iranian weapons ship, said Teheran has been directing the Shi’ite rebellion in 2009.
“There is intelligence information [to support this],” Al Anisi said. “There are indeed signs, proof of Iranian interference, but we can’t elaborate on what these indications and their details are to the media.”
Al Anisi said the Iranian-backed Believing Youth movement intends to become another Hizbullah. He said the Believing Youth has been expanding the Shi’ite rebellion beyond Yemen.
“They [Believing Youth] have a clear agenda, much like that in southern Lebanon with Hizbullah,” Al Anisi said. “The Houthi [Shi'ite] rebels are seeking to create a belt around our border with Saudi Arabia and establish themselves as an organization with genuine influence.”
Obama has set and lifted a series of deadlines to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities the most recent the end of this year. Many believe the U. S. reticence rest on the repeatedly failed strategy of talking Iran out of nukes and its war making and support for terrorists and call it foolish and only encouraged Iranian aggression. Last week Iran sent troops into Iraq and took over an oil field.