Are US and Iran in a secret alliance?

It is time for the Arab nations and Turkey to ask America where it stands, an Arabic-language writer says. Other topics: Hamas, Hizbollah and Iran, and the two Sudans.

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Facts on the grounds indicate a US-Iranian alliance at the expense of Arabs and Turkey

Developments unfolding in the region since the start of the century indicate an active US-Iranian alliance in several places behind a transparent curtain of faked US and western animosity to fool Arabs and Turkey, Faisal Al Qassem argued in an opinion article in the Doha-based newspaper Al Sharq.

Never mind western sanctions on Iran, Israel's threats to strike the country's nuclear facilities and the aggressive tone of western media against it, the writer noted.

While Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor that was still in the works, the West had been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme for more than 10 years after it was completed, he said.

In politics what matters is not what you hear but rather what you see on the ground. The breakthroughs Iran has been achieving in the region with the blessing of the West at the expense of others are historic by any yardstick. Don't be fooled by the American media and political acrobatics against Iran, he wrote.

The idea that the West backs Sunni Muslims in the Middle East while Russia, China and the other Brics nations support Shiite Muslims, Iran and its allies is way off base.

There is almost a consensus among major powers in the East and the West about empowering Iran at the expense of other players in the region, although Turkey, which is a major Sunni country, is a Nato member.

Iran's growing influence in the region to the detriment of Arab countries and Turkey is palpable. Iran has pulled the rug from under them in Iraq - a strategically located country in the region bordered by both Turkey and Arab countries.

Even in Afghanistan, where Americans and Sunni Arabs united to free the country from the Soviet Union, Iran has greater influence than other actors. Remember when Iran's Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the former vice president, revealed the US-Iranian alliance in the region by saying that without Iran's help the US could not possibly invade Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through its military wing Hizbollah, Iran's clout in Lebanon outweighs that of Arab and Sunni countries, let alone Iran's significant influence in Bahrain.

And Iran's influence in Syria exceeds that of Turkey and Arab countries. This has been clearly with the West's blessing despite farcical condemnations of Iran's interference. How would you explain the Syrian regime receiving weapons from every quarter while the US prevents the opposition gaining them? Those who helped Iran take over Iraq would not allow Iran to lose in Syria.

A new Middle East where Iran is playing the leadership role is taking shape under our eyes without Arabs, Turkey and other Muslim nations realising what is going on. The writer concluded that it is time for Arabs and Turkey to ask America: "Are you really our ally?"

Reconciliation may lead to more turmoil

"Quickly and without hesitation, Hamas rushed to reconcile with Iran and Hizbollah following the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. The relationship had been compromised due to Hamas's stance regarding the Syrian revolution," said Tariq Al Homayed in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that governs Gaza, had offered its support to the Syrian revolution - not out of true belief in its merits but as an attempt to make political gains from the rise to power of the Brotherhood in Egypt.

"The renewed relationship between Hamas, Iran and Hizbollah is an alliance of convenience at best. Hamas wants to retain its control over Gaza. Its rapprochement to Iran is meant to secure financing, whereas its closeness to Hizbollah helps it keep its Beirut office open," he said.

From Iran and Hizbollah's perspective, reconciliation with Hamas helps to clear them from charges of sectarianism. It can also be used to hinder the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations in the near future and it is a good tool at their disposal to tick off the new Egypt when necessary.

"We can expect a return to the old tune of resistance and struggle. It is likely now that a new confrontation between Gaza and Israel is in store as a way to serve a number of Iranian objectives in the region, including easing pressure on the Al Assad regime," the writer suggested.

Two Sudans can't do without each other

Since their official separation two years ago, Sudan and South Sudan have preferred confrontation to mutual cooperation, even when facing deep internal issues that arise, in large part, from their very aversion to forging strong bilateral bonds, the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan said in its editorial yesterday.

Up north, the government of Sudan, led by President Omar Al Bashir, is being drained by a fierce political battle with the revolutionary Sudan People's Liberation Movement and militant groups in Darfur province.

Down south, the political situation is imploding. President Salva Kiir Mayardit has dissolved the government and sacked his deputy at a time when the country is going through an economic crisis after it stopped shipping oil through ports in the north.

"Both sides suffer from this economic crisis … that has erupted ... mostly due to lack of trust and a constant suspicion that the other side's intentions are vicious," the paper said.

"Without peace between the two neighbours, growth will not take off in either side of the border. The wars and politico-economic tensions that regularly pit the two countries against each other are hindering their rebirth - a rebirth that is actually achievable, given the tremendous natural resources that both countries have."

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk