Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

And the Militias! 

The European Union is discussing the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran following its direct attack on Israel via drones and missiles. The debate is around sanctions on Iran’s production of drones and missiles, as well as industries that make parts for these weapons and assemble them. But is that enough? Certainly not. Moderate Arab states should agree on a shared narrative of rejecting the Iranian militias in our region and their presence on the borders of our countries. I know that this would not be easy, but the alternative is the destruction of Arab states and the notion of statehood in the Arab world.

The truth is that the United States and the West have not taken action now to impose regional stability, but to prevent a repeat of recent developments and convince Israel to hold off on broader retaliation against Iran. The goal is to defuse tensions, not to create sustainable solutions.

That is not equivalent to supporting stability in the region or deterring Iranian expansion. These actions are merely intended to assuage Israeli security concerns, and that is dangerous. Indeed, the priority is safeguarding our moderate countries, as well as what remains of the Arab countries that have been drained, staggered, or paralyzed by Iranian militias.

Some are failed states, like Syria, where we find American, Russian, and Turkish forces, as well as Iranian occupation through militias like the Fatimiyoun Brigade, the Zainabiyoun Brigade, and Hezbollah. Just a few days ago, our newspaper published an article about how the Syrian-Lebanese border is controlled "by gangs and clans."

We also have Lebanon, where Hezbollah has gained hegemony through its arsenal, paralyzing the state, crippling the presidency, banks, and judiciary, and turning Lebanon into a mafia state. We see kidnappings, and physical and moral assassinations, with fellow journalists persecuted for flimsy reasons.

And there's Yemen, where the Houthis’ futile recklessness has disrupted shipping and drawn Yemen into a crisis it has nothing to do with in order to serve Iranian interests. Their actions are pushing the country to the brink of an economic, nutritional, and security collapse. Sudan is in an equally dire position.

The situation in Sudan is a crime against the people and what remains of the state. The pretexts are extremely tenuous, and their rebuttals never go beyond blaming everyone and accusing them of being traitors. However, everyone who has taken up arms and waved foreign cards is actually to blame.

Iraq is another case. The threat of Iranian militias, with the Popular Mobilization Forces at the forefront, becoming dominant is growing. At the same time, Iraq genuinely has the potential to grow, and Baghdad does not need financial support or anything of the sort.

All Baghdad needs is the will, political reform, and to place all arms under the control of the central state; the international community and moderate Arab countries could help them do that. This would ensure that decisions of war and peace are made by the Iraqi state, not militias that take orders from Iran and terrorize rational voices in Iraq.

Of course, there is also Libya, where Turkish and Russian forces, among others, have been deployed, and where the Muslim Brotherhood has played a pivotal role. What is dangerous about what is happening in Libya is that it has implications that go beyond the Arab world. It is impacting European security, especially with the refugee crisis, to say nothing about its repercussions for the notion of statehood.

This is where we find ourselves today. We must develop an Arab stance, and Arab-American-European plan, to deal with all of this. The threat of militias must be our primary concern in every forum. There is no moderate Arab state that does not have Iranian militias on its borders, and that is dangerous. It should be a red line.