Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 31
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Russians have a saying,"Don't step on the same rake twice," which simply means don't repeat the mistake you made earlier.
With these words in mind let's take a look at today's Middle East. Terror is spreading day by day and the region has became an exporter of terrorism to the EU and US as well.
But this is not the complete story, if unveiled, Western countries are paying for their strategic mistakes in the past. "You reap what you sow."
The current disaster in the region is mainly a result of wrong policies in the past. Looking back to the 1980s-1990s, the US-led Western block was supporting armed Islamic groups in its proxy war with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. From the ashes of the civil war in Afghanistan rose fundamentalist groups and gradually spread their influence to the entire region.
Now in its fight against the latest generation of these groups, the Islamic State (IS), the US is seeking new regional allies, and the Islamic Republic is the most powerful nominee.
It seems that all roads lead to Tehran. The Islamic Republic has recently resolved its more than decade long nuclear dispute with the West, signing the historic nuclear deal last month.
Following the deal, Iranian moderators headed by President Hassan Rouhani have expressed readiness for opening new horizons to address shared challenges with the West, including the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Rouhani has referred to the nuclear deal as a model for resolving most complicated disputes. Even some conservatives in the Islamic Republic are in favor of cooperating with the West in anti-terror measures. For instance, Ali Taheri, an Iranian lawmaker has referred to cooperation in fighting the IS group as the next step after the nuclear deal.
But it should not be forgotten that by using Iran's power and influence in fighting the IS, even if is useful in the short term there is no guarantee that the result will be less harmful in the long run.
It could actually pave the way for more Sunni-Shia confrontations and further radicalize some political Sunni groups.
It can also have unforeseen consequences for the West, considering the fact that Iran's moderate foreign policy may not be able to tolerate more pressure from the conservatives inside the country.
The lack of a powerful civil society in Iran is the Achilles Heel of the Islamic Republic pragmatists who are seeking cooperation with the global community as well as an important risk factor for western politicians seeing Iran as natural ally in fighting the IS.
Some military and political officials in Iran do not hide the Islamic Republic's desire to spread its influence to the entire region- from Yemen to Lebanon.
The stance of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word in Iran, should not be neglected as well.
He has never spoken positively about the nuclear talks, and on numerous occasions has announced that the Iran-US disputes are beyond the nuclear case.
Just days after achieving the nuclear agreement, the Islamic Republic's supreme leader argued that no change will be made in Iran's regional policy.
Iran is a powerful country in the region, which is not hiding its desire to destroy the US 's most close ally-Israel and has made clear that it will continue its policies despite the nuclear deal. At the same time it is a perfect choice for cooperation in anti-terror campaign.
But while generating solutions for the ongoing crisis we should not forget the Afghanistan experience, and consider sustainable solutions- treatments, rather than using painkillers.
Edited by CN
Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh