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Iran’s Real Aims in the Persian Gulf – Anthony H. Cordesman (Reuters via Daily Alert)

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Iran’s Real Aims in the Persian Gulf – Anthony H. Cordesman (Reuters)

(dailyalert.org, Feb. 9, 2015)

It is time the West takes a hard look at exactly why Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are so concerned about the Iranian threat.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states do not see an Iranian threat to Israel; they see a nuclear threat to the Arab world. If Iran can acquire nuclear warheads, this would radically shift the balance against Arab states that lack nuclear weapons. It would greatly increase the threat Iran can pose.

The Arab Gulf states also see a major Iranian build-up in air, missile, anti-ship missile patrol boats and forces, smart mines, submarines, and other threats like Iran’s Marines and Special Forces to shipping in the Gulf, and their offshore and coastal facilities. Iran’s forces can now reach out into the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

This Iranian threat is as real and serious to the Arab Gulf states – and to the flow of petroleum exports to the global economy – as its nuclear threat.

Iran poses a far more complex mix of threats than simply its nascent nuclear capabilities, and most will remain in place regardless of the outcome of the P5+1 negotiations.

The writer, who holds the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has held senior posts in the U.S. Department of Defense.

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