US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week announced a new policy that aims to roll back Iran’s hegemonistic drive in the Middle East and to prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining a nuclear weapon.
Ever since, there has been a lot of criticism, mostly by backers of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) that the Obama Administration brokered with Iran in 2015.
The goals of US President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy were ‘unrealistic’ or even a ‘recipe for war,’ some of the critics said, while others claimed the plan was doomed to fail since it required the help of much of the world.
Let’s focus on the part of Pompeo’s list that dealt with Iran’s imperialistic agenda for the Middle East.
Here’s what the new secretary of state outlined during his speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC on May 21:
“Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.
Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.
Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.
Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders.
Iran, too, must end the IRG Quds Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners around the world.
And, too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are US allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive cyber-attacks.”
Pompeo explained that these requirements are “very basic,” and that the length of the list was “simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran.”
A closer look at the list reveals something that is crucial to understanding what is currently happening in the battle against the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is mainly conducted by the US Army, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s coalition of Sunni Muslim countries.
In recent years, Iran has been executing a plan for the Middle East that is based on the so-called Mahdi doctrine.
According to this Shia end-of-days vision, the active participation of the pious in the creation of mayhem and war in the world could actually lead to a hastened return of the Mahdi.
Mahdi is the Shiite messiah, the hidden twelfth Imam who will return after an Islamic uprising that will spread all over the world, and will cause mayhem in specific Arab countries, in particular.
Israel is also playing a central part in this doctrine, which says the Jewish state will have to confront “extra forces which will arrive from Iraq.”
The Iranian plan for the Middle East and the Mahdi doctrine were explained in a regime-produced documentary from 2011 titled “The Coming (of Mahdi) is Upon Us.”
The (Shiite) soldiers of Mahdi will enter Saudi Arabia and the Muslim holy places via Yemen after a bloody battle that involves the Ansar Allah militia in Yemen (Houthis), an Arab legion, the US and Israel, according to the documentary.
The Mahdi doctrine requires the rise of Iran in the Middle East and Iranian dominance over Iraq, which will in the future house the capital of Mahdi’s Imperium (Baghdad).
At the end of a bloody battle that precedes the return of Mahdi, Iranian-led forces will attack Israel.
“The annihilation of the Zionist regime and the conquering of ‘Beitol Moghadas’ (Jerusalem) is one of the most important events in the age of the Coming,” according to the voiceover in the documentary.
If we now return to Pompeo’s list of requirements, we understand that the new American strategy against Iran is (finally) based on an understanding of Iran’s underlying strategy in the Middle East, which is the Mahdi doctrine.
As a result, the US is now working with Israel to prevent an Iranian takeover of Syria, where Iran has stationed more than 50,000 Shiite fighters.
The US military and its ally in the Syrian Democratic Forces are acting against Iranian-backed Shiite militias in (eastern) Syria, where the SDF controls 30 percent of the territory, while Israel has recently stepped up its military campaign against the Quds Force and almost every day launches attacks against Iranian targets in western Syria.
In Yemen, the US is working with a Saudi coalition of Muslim countries against the Iranian-backed Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia, which regularly lobs missiles at Saudi Arabia, but has been prevented from reaching the strategically-important waterway Bab el-Mandeb, through which an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil flow each day.
Iraq is a more difficult problem for Iran’s enemies in the Middle East.
The Iranians are currently trying to prevent the formation of an anti-Iran coalition after Iraq's elections on May 12.
The Iranian regime immediately dispatched Qassem Soleimaini, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, to Baghdad after the Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who hates the Iranians, won the parliamentary elections.
The Saudis have recently tried to increase their clout over Iraq by pouring lots of money into the war-torn country, and have invited al-Sadr to Riyadh. But it remains to be seen if they will be successful in rolling back Iran’s influence over the country.
It is clear, however, that the current US Administration is acting according to a plan, which is finally based on understanding the enemy and the new Middle East.