“Arab states to desist from direct involvement even if Israel joins U.S. in attacking Iran”

Posted on May 12, 2012

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The Arab governments would desist from direct involvement if Israeli forces join the US strike on Iran, expert on South Asian and Middle East Studies, research scholar at the University of Texas at Austin Saif Shahin said.

The expert was commenting on how the situation in the region would develop, in case the continuous talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program will fail.

Earlier, the U.S. Department of Defense said that nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable, noting once again that for the U.S. there are all options are on the table regarding the Islamic Republic.

Saif Shahin believes a possible strike on Iran would be nothing like wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The apparent aims of the strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan were different from the aim of a would-be strike on Iran,” he said. “In case with Iran, its a much more complex military structure”.

Speaking of other regional countries getting involved into the conflict, Shahin noted Afghanistan, and the Arab states.

“The Afghan government is unlikely to get involved directly in any US strike on Iran, if it happens. That is not to say that US forces based in Afghanistan won’t get involved,” he said.

“One of the crucial reasons why the U.S. has been trying to set up permanent military bases in Afghanistan is to ensure that Iran’s encirclement remains complete”.

“Similarly, Arab states are unlikely to become directly involved on their own. Arab involvement in any regional war on the side of a foreign power is usually symbolic,” Shahin noted.

“A US strike on Iran with Arab involvement would imply a Shia-Sunni war, and given the context of the Arab Spring, no Arab government wants that as it could easily antagonise their Shia populace”.

The expert noted however that there is practically no chance that a U.S. and/or Israeli strike on Iran would be taking place in the foreseeable future.

The West accuses Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program but Tehran rejects the accusations, saying its nuclear program is aimed at power production and other peaceful purposes.

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