عنوان مقاله [English]
With the collapse of the Soviet Union Extended Abstract
and the domination of the United States on the new global order, the Middle East became one of the main platforms of the foreign intervention, especially the focus of the US deterrence strategy. At the same time, balancing and alliance making have become the key elements in the new deterrence strategy, especially the US deterrence strategy in the Middle East. According to the US strategic documents, a comprehensive deterrent policy should be applied to the Islamic Republic of Iran in this region. The US goal has been preventing Iran from attacking its regional allies in order to achieve its desired order. But this in turn prompted the US regional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, to engage in risky behaviors.
In response to threats from the United States and its allies, the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to adopt a comprehensive security-defense strategy in the form of deterrence. Meanwhile, the regional conditions of the Middle East, as well as the international environment, with the pressures they exert on Iran's domestic settinge, have complicated Iran's deterrent actions against the deterrent strategies of the United States and its allies.
Therefore, the present article aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the threats and challenges of deterrence strategy of Iran against the United States and its allies in the context of the modern deterrence, posing the question of "What effects had the instable regional and international environment on Iran's deterrence strategy towards the United States and its allies in the Middle East?" In response to this question, this hypothesis is raised: "The complexities of alliance making in the instable Middle East region have caused Iran to try to enter in strategic relations with Russia and China, which are pursuing a gray zone policy towards the United States. By reproducing ambiguity and instability, this has caused challenges for Iran deterrence strategy in the Middle East."
The present study, attempts to investigate the increasing interaction of challenges arising from the regional environment and international requirements for the deterrence policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, through a deductive-explanatory method and the analysis of documentary data. The concept of the gray zone is used to explain the policy of Russia and China, which are considered as Iran`s strategic partners in the absence of stable alliances in the Middle East.
Discussion and Conclusion
Studying Iran's deterrence strategy, beyond considering deterrence as a kind of communicating action between two or more countries, demands paying attention to contextual issues in the form of pressures and contextual requirements aroused from the regional and international environment on deterrence. This results in the success or failure of deterrence strategy in the Middle East. The most obvious regional pressure exerted by the floating and incoherent alliances of the Middle East, is due to economic issues and identity conflicts that complicate the possibility of Iranian deterrence strategy application. The Middle East regional structure is built in such a way that there is no cohesive alliance, and it is due to both the economic and identity situation in the region. Besides, it is regionally considered that to ally is to take part in military issues.
In this situation, Iran, on the one hand, has to defend its weak allies against regional adversaries, which has even created discontent within Iran and is a challenge for exertion of the deterrence strategy. On the other hand, Iran is trying to bring other foreign players into its influential sphere in opposition to the United States, which is itself a pressure on Iran's deterrence strategy, due to the international environment; Since Russia and China are not able or even willing to compete with the US hegemony on the global level. By pursuing the policy of the gray zone, they seek macro-level stability and transfer instability to more restricted areas, such as the Middle East so that they can take advantage of the hegemony and thus, increase their power in the current international system. The policy of the gray zone reproduces instability and insecurity in the Middle East.
Strong alliances and transparency in defending the ally lead to the deterrence strategy success. However, in the gray zone conflicts, where there is a significant lack of transparency in being interested in commitments’ maintenance, it is difficult to implement various strategies, including deterrence strategy. Thus, not only the deterrence strategy does not underpin its success as a credible ally, but the reproduction of ambiguity in the region fuels further misunderstandings of Iran-US deterrence actions. This leads to a challenge of the transparency of the deterrent relationship. In this chaotic situation and the unpredictability of behaviors, the actions of the adversary or its allies cannot be properly understood, so any one of Iran’s deterrent actions is perceived in a greater global competition context, by the United States. Meanwhile, the Iranian deterrence strategy does not receive a reliable support on behalf of Russia or China. Thus, even Iran's actions in order to assert the deterrence strategy credibility could itself encourage the United States to adopt greater military threats, in competition with China and Russia, leading to a spiraling crisis intensity. Ignoring these pressures would discredit Iran's deterrent threats and make Iran's deterrence strategy merely a reaction to the regional and international performances.
Despite the escalation of various internal and external pressures in the Middle East, the conditions for conveying the message, rationality and assertion of the credibility of the threats are not provided. Therefore, in this turbulent and unstable environment, the activists move from deterrence to proxy conflicts and asymmetric warfare requirements. In the asymmetric warfare, identity activists and also weak powers against hegemony take the initiative in their asymmetric power and ability to counter threats. Not only regional actors but also other major powers, including Russia and China, are trying to take advantage of the relative advantage of their power and the asymmetric war in the Middle East, and it could be called the shadow war or guerrilla strategy.