As of the end of spring, the coronavirus crisis has not brought any noticeable easing to the conflict in Yemen. What is more, it would seem that the warring sides decided to take advantage of the confusion that befell the external forces and change the situation on the frontlines. Despite the already worsening humanitarian situation in the country and the UN calls for a ceasefire during the pandemic, offensive operations nevertheless continued. At the same time, the state of affairs in the south of the country has been deteriorating, with those in favour of self-determination again rearing their heads.
We should know by now that an epidemic is not going to stop the hostilities in Yemen. Not even the cholera outbreak that has affected approximately one million people in the country over the past three years is enough to make the warring factions lay down their weapons. In fact, with the cholera epidemic still raging and chronic famine in many parts of the country, the coronavirus, which has taken the lives of relatively few, has gone largely unnoticed. Both the warring parties and the population at large have come to terms with the constant threat of outbreaks of various diseases (cholera, diphtheria, measles, Dengue fever, etc.) due to the lack of basic infrastructure and centralized immunization plans.
What is more, the reality of the situation in Yemen is that those fighting on the front are more likely to survive an epidemic than civilians living in overpopulated cities, where sanitary conditions are truly awful. An estimated 17.8 million Yemenis were without safe water and sanitation in 2019, and 19.7 million did not have access to adequate healthcare. Meanwhile, those on the frontlines generally eat better and, unlike the civilian population, have priority access to medical supplies and personnel. Ansar Allah (Houthi) militants are even using the coronavirus crisis to recruit new soldiers, convincing young people that it is better to die a martyr in battle than to suffer an inglorious death from the virus.
It would thus appear that the Houthis are as determined as ever to win the civil war, or at the very least to inflict a series of humiliating defeats on the forces that are loyal to the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition troops. Even after the coronavirus had hit the country, the Houthis resumed ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, and also launched an offensive in Marib Governorate. Clashes also broke out near the strategically important Al-Hudaydah Port.
The Battle of Marib
Marib Governorate is considered the richest province in northern Yemen, with oil and gas fields, a strategically important oil refinery and the country’s largest power plant. It is also of no small importance that Marib is a stronghold of the moderate Yemeni Congregation for Reform (al-Islah), which Saudi Arabia is backing in the conflict. Losing Marib will deal a serious blow to al-Islah’s positions, as well as to Riyadh’s interests in Yemen.
The pandemic provides the Houthis with an opportunity to carry out offensive actions, as the external sponsors of the Hadi government, and Saudi Arabia at the top of that list, are busy with their own domestic issues and cannot pay much attention to Yemen. There has been a noticeable drop-off in the intensity of airstrikes, for example, which has afforded the Houthis the opportunity to deploy both mobile units with light weapons and various armoured vehicles.
There is no doubt that the Houthi command is intent on capturing Marib, coordinating its campaign on the city on three fronts at once. At the same time, the main defenders of Marib are the militias of local Sunni tribes, who do not want to see a Houthi victory, but would likely be willing to work towards a compromise with Ansar Allah in order to avoid suffering endless losses. All the more so because the official armed forces exist primarily on paper and include the names of many phantom soldiers whose wages are divvied up among the commanding officers. The shortage of experienced higher-ranking personnel – a consequence of the fact that many officers do not want to cooperate with Hadi or al-Islah – has also proved detrimental to the combat capabilities of the government forces.
If the Houthis are able to capture Marib, then they will have control over almost all of northern Yemen, which will seriously weaken the positions of President Hadi. And this will open the door for further offensives in the south of the country, particularly the oil-rich Shabwah and Hadhramaut governorates, further down the line. Given the problems in southern Yemen (which we will expand upon below), the Battle for Marib may be seen as a turning point in the war.
While the coronavirus may not directly affect the military and political situation in Yemen, its economic consequences could be catastrophic for the country. Unemployment and poverty were on the rise even before the pandemic hit. According to the World Bank, between 71 and 78 per cent of the Yemeni population were living below the poverty line in 2019. And the looming global financial crisis only promises to make things worse.
For example, a global drop-off in energy prices and demand will hit government revenues, as the government had planned to increase oil production to 110,000 barrels per day and expand its exports of liquefied natural gas by the end of 2019. And energy exports accounted for approximately one-third of the country’s budget revenues in 2019. At the same time, there is a very real risk that Saudi Arabia could cut subsidies to the Yemeni government, which will greatly affect its ability to purchase food and other essential goods. Overdue wages to government officials and other state employees threaten to collapse the already weak public sector.
One of the most dangerous consequences of the coronavirus crisis has been the disappearance of remittances from abroad, as the lock-down measures introduced in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries have crippled the ability of Yemeni migrant workers to make a living. What makes this situation worse is the fact that remittances are a key source of currency for the country as a whole and a means of survival for many Yemenis. In 2014, money transfers from abroad brought approximately $3.5 billion into the country, which is almost equal to the entire revenue side of the national budget.
Observers have also noted that a kind of conflict economy has emerged in Yemen that has paved the way for certain structures and people involved in the import of fuel and other vital goods to line their pockets, while others make money by redistributing humanitarian aid. The worse the situation is, the more these structures thrive, so they will continue to sabotage any attempts to restore normal economic life in the country.
Yemen is staring not only at a crisis, but at a complete economic collapse, with the paralysis of all public services, a new surge in unemployment, hunger and a fuel crisis brought about by the curtailment of imports.
The Mutinous South Has Risen Again
In addition to the onslaught of the Houthis and the collapse of the economy, the government also has to deal with the increasing fragmentation of the country. Less than six months after the signing of the Riyadh Agreement, which was supposed to put an end to the separatist movement in the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (more commonly known as South Yemen), the Southern Transitional Council (STC) has returned to its secessionist roots. On April 26, 2020, the STC announced it would establish self-rule in the south of the country, which should be understood first and foremost as a refusal to even formally submit to the Hadi government.
Observers see this step as a sign of worsening relations between the STC and Saudi Arabia, which had taken measures in the months prior to weaken former proxies of the United Arab Emirates. After the latter withdrew most of its troops from Yemen, it was the Saudis who were stuck with the task of integrating the STC, a staunch supporter of the UAE, into the state structures and ensuring that the militia forces of the southern regions were receiving money and supplies on a regular basis. Instead, they put the STC on short rations in the hope, it would seem, that the soldiers who were no longer getting paid would defect to units controlled by the government. Evidently, the STC decided not to wait for this to happen and went all-in while it still had control of Aden and serious military capabilities.
Riyadh’s Difficult Position
By early May, Saudi Arabia, as the main sponsor of the Hadi government, was facing a number of challenges. On the one hand, there was increasing military pressure from the Houthis, who were threatening to take Marib Governorate. Because the Republic of Yemen Armed Forces are so weak, the Saudis may have to increase their military activity in Yemen, a move that would be fraught with casualties and cause grave damage to the country’s reputation. At the same time, there is a risk that an armed confrontation with the STC could flare up in the south, most likely in Aden, where there is a small Saudi contingent guarding the Central Bank of Yemen building.
Saudi Arabia is effectively at an impasse. Riyadh can, if it so chooses, continue with a very costly war, thus creating a situation of controlled chaos. But it is a war that Riyadh cannot win in the short or medium term. In light of the coronavirus crisis, which will soon force a number of countries in the region to reassess their priorities and scale back their foreign policy ambitions, it is entirely possible that Saudi Arabia could step away from the war entirely. Admittedly, it may take a few more painful military defeats for this to happen.
Expectations and Reality
By May 2020, the position of the internationally recognized government and its external sponsors had become almost untenable. Nor do the dynamics of the regional cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which in many ways dictate developments in Yemen, inspire optimism. While Riyadh appears jaded by the protracted war, Tehran, despite the coronavirus and despite the economic difficulties it is experiencing, is ready to continue an active policy and support its partners in the region.
Under the circumstances, it is extremely difficult to try and make any forecasts. That said, all of the above circumstances point to two likely scenarios. If Riyadh adopts a pragmatic position, then we can expect a substantive dialogue with the Houthis, which will lead to an honourable peace or a fairly long-term ceasefire. That is the first scenario. Under the second scenario, Saudi Arabia doubles down and fierce battles rage throughout the year, potentially leading to the death of the Hadi government and the ultimate collapse of Yemen.
From our partner RIAC
Assassination of top Iranian Nuclear Scientist: A big Tragedy
On the sad incident of the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, the UN spokesman said, “We urge restraint and the need to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.” Turkey termed the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as an ‘act of terrorism’ while the EU calls it ‘criminal’ and urges ‘maximum restraint.’ Anger can be seen in Iran and the region. The whole region is worried and mourning.
Masses are demanding to investigate the assassination act thoroughly and punish the responsibles. It is a straight forward criminal act and a direct threat to Iran’s sovereignty. The whole world is upset and can not forgive.
It was well-known that the US assassinated General Qasim Sulymani in Baghdad just a few ago. The retaliation from Iran was just appropriate, and the US could not digest it yet. Top nuclear Scientist’s assassination is not accepted under any circumstances, and any retaliation will be justice.
Iran has the capability and will to retaliate. Although we all – peace-loving people request Iran to cool down and observe restrains, at the same time, we understand, if the aggressors are not checked, it will happen again and again, and maybe in more intensity and frequency. If the retaliation is severe, then the aggressor may not dare to attempt again in the future. A minimum level of deterrence is required to maintain. Otherwise, further assassinations are encouraged.
The ruthless assassination of Dr. Fakhrizadeh on Friday 27 November is not just ‘another’ routine incident—it’s causality is more significant than it’s aftermath. The Western world engaged Iran under JCPOA in October 2015. Things were smooth, and Iran was in full compliance with the deal. Internation Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was regularly monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities and confirmed the fullcompliance. All the signatories of JCPOA were also satisfied, except President Trump. Even his administration has not noticed any deviation from Iran, but after having a close presentation from the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, President scrapped the JCPOA in 2018. The unilateral withdrawal of President Trump from the nuclear deal was widely criticized but was celebrated by Israel. Since then, Iran was under immense pressure from the US as well as Israel.
Highly classified speculations are that the final decision to eliminate Fakhrizadeh was perhaps taken last Sunday 22 November, in a semi-secretive meeting in the Saudi coastal resort of Neom—attended by Mike Pompeo, Benjamin Netanyahu, Yossi Cohen, and Prince MBS.
There are other views that Fakhrizadeh’s assassination is another big conspiracy to destabilize global peace and stability, which might hinder the transition of power to newly elect-president Joe Biden. As a result, President Trump remains in control. Strong possibilities are that the outgoing President Trump will make the most of the power transfer transition period—taking big decisions to please his external partners/friends (Isreal and anti-Iran Arab states). Some say this killing will reduce Iran’s negotiating powers—should Joe Biden/Tony Blinken revive the JCPOA. Some global security pundits comment, this assassination was aimed at infuriating Iran, instigating it to react with military force against Israel, prompting the US and its regional allies (Israel, KSA, UAE, and Bahrain) to declare an all-out direct war on Iran.
It is relatively early to say something precisely, that what happen? How happened? And What will happen next? All are view points, and no authentic opinion is concluded. But one thing is very much clear, the region is a cooked volcano and may burst any moment.
It may destabilize the whole region; the oil-rich region may halt oil supply to the Western world. The Oil prices may shoot up; Industrial growth may be harmed, inflation may hike up, the global economy may suffer adversely.
It is also possible that the Arab and non-Arab Muslim world be divided visibly and further harm the Muslim world. Irrespective of any country or nation, or religion, humankind will suffer at the end of the day. Irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, we must urge the safety of human lives.
The world community must proactively play a positive role in saving humankind and the loss of precious lives. Bloodshed is not permissible in any religion, society, or law, especially because we claim to be a civilized world and should act as civilized.
Libya: Lights and shadows of the peace process
After six days of intense closed-door talks between the 75 delegates of the various Libyan factions summoned to Tunis by the Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG), Stephanie Williams, the first round of negotiations that ended on November 15 confirmed the “ceasefire”, but failed to reach an agreement on the mechanisms and criteria for selecting the candidates for a new “national unity” government.
Acting SRSG Stephanie Williams has decided to reconvene in the coming days – via video conference – a second round of what has been called the “Libyan Political Dialogue Forum” (LPDF), with the ambition of succeeding in forming a government able to manage the national elections scheduled for December 24, 2021.
While admitting the partial failure of the Tunis talks, the U.S. diplomat declared frankly that it was not “realistically possible to find solutions to a ten-year conflict in a simple round of negotiations”. Nevertheless, Acting SRSG Stephanie Williams has stressed that “there seems to be the possibility of an agreement on three important sensitive aspects of the negotiation, i.e. the tasks and duties of the new government; the criteria for appointing those who will take up the government posts and the roadmap for the peace process.
She added that “Libyan politicians now have the opportunity to effectively occupy centre stage or end up going extinct as dinosaurs”.
Tough words that convey the disappointment for a negotiation that sees the parties involved (the Tripoli government led by Fayez al-Sarraj; the Tobruk faction commanded by General Khalifa Haftar and the Fezzan independent tribes) willing to respect the armed truce, but little inclined to make political concessions to their counterparts.
Certainly it was not easy to make the Libyan stakeholders – who, until last summer, had been fighting one another in open field -converge on a political dialogue path
It was not easy also due to the behind-the-scenes activism of the international sponsors of the opposing factions: Turkey and Qatar in favour of al-Sarraj; Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt and Russia supporting the “Libyan National Army” led by General Haftar, while President Macron’s France is openly siding with the Fezzan tribes.
During the Tunis talks, all delegates systematically leaked to the press fake drafts of possible agreements, in view of thwarting the proposals of their counterparts.
According to “Agenzia Nova”, apparently official documents were circulated containing references to the topics actually under discussion, “polluted” by totally invented parts: “real poisoned drafts received from Libyan sources close to General Haftar”.
Malicious rumours have also spread about the possible corruption of some delegates, bribed with many dollars to favour the appointment of Abdullh al-Dabaiba -the powerful “warlord” of Misrata and founder of the “Future for Libya” movement – to the new government. It should be recalled that, thanks to Turkish weapons and Islamist mercenaries brought by President Erdogan to Libya from Syria, Misrata’s militias rescued al-Sarraj’s government from collapse when last April General Haftar’s militias had arrived at Tripoli’s gates.
However, despite the difficulties, in her report to the UN Security Council, Acting SRSG Stephanie Williams also highlighted some positive aspects of the situation on the ground.
First of all, the military truce is holding out: there are no significant violations of the “ceasefire”, while “the exchange of prisoners continues, facilitated by the Council of Elders, with the support of the Joint Military Commission.
Another important result has been achieved in the oil sector: with the agreement of all the parties involved, the National Oil Company has resumed oil production in full swing, which has quickly returned to last year’s level of 1.2 million. However, the transparent distribution of oil revenues must be postponed until an agreement is reached between all the parties involved, pending which the National Oil Company shall set aside the proceeds from oil sale in a special UN-controlled account.
This is a sensitive aspect regarding directly Italy: the resumption of crude oil extraction means much for ENI which – albeit left alone by national institutions to operate in the dangerous situation of tension between the opposing Libyan factions – has managed to establish itself as a credible and reliable counterpart and to maintain its extraction, production and refining activities in Libya.
While concluding her briefing to the UN Security Council, Acting SRSG Stephanie Williams underlined: “Seventy-five Libyans came together in Tunis …in a good faith effort to start the process of healing their nation’s wounds. …they extended their hands, if not their hearts, to each other”.
“Not their hearts”: this is the deepest shadow hanging over the Tunis talks, casting uncertainty over a peace process in which the role of the national players is often influenced and manipulated by the various international sponsors – and the sponsors certainly do not act for “heart” reasons.
On the Tripoli government’s front, the two key allies are President Erdogan’s Turkey and Qatar ruled by young Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani.
Despite the accession of the former to NATO and of the latter to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the two countries have embraced the cause of Muslim extremism by more or less openly supporting jihadist militias during the civil conflicts in Syria, Iraq and, most recently, Libya.
At the side of these awkward travel companions, in a quiet and secluded corner, we can find Italy which, in 2016, with an undoubtedly politically correct move, followed the United Nations, which imposed a neo-colonialist governmental solution on Libya, by establishing al-Sarraj’s “Government of National Accord” (GNA), at first in Tunis and later in Tripoli. A “neo-colonialist” solution because the GNA has not been recognised by any of Tripoli’s and Tobruk’s Parliaments and has never been legitimized by elections or supported by the people.
Over the last four years, while al-Sarraj barely controlled the capital, the Italian diplomacy has not seemed able to find a clear policy and line of action, in a region of vital importance for the country, other than that of “respect for UN resolutions”, a formal pretext used also by the European Union to justify its inaction.
As said above, faced with Turkey’s and Qatar’s political and military commitment to support al-Sarraj, but above all the Islamist militias of Tripoli and Misrata, the Gulf States have broken diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing its Emir of an adventurous conduct in favour of the “Muslim Brotherhood” throughout the region.
Furthermore, together with Egypt, France and Russia, the Gulf States have actually established an alliance to protect two of the three Libyan political-military components, i.e. General Haftar’s”Libya Liberation Army” and the militias linked to the Fezzan tribes with whom France has established an almost exclusive partnership.
While the diplomacies interested in the Middle East are playing on several tables – just think of the new relations between the Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and above all Saudi Arabia, with Israel-Italy and Europe – probably also because of the pandemic – seem to be immobilized and bogged down into passive positions of principle on the positive aspects of “multilateralism”.
Indeed. the other countries are taking action also in view of possible political and economic dividends in the future, while Italy and Europe, with their wait-and-see attitude, remain on the sidelines to watch – as mere spectators – the development of events that will have a decisive impact on the new Mediterranean equilibria of the near future.
Nevertheless, there seem to be no good news about U.S. international commitments in the “after-Trump era”.
The new President, Joe Biden, has appointed Antony Blinken as the new Secretary of State.
Despite his being an educated, cosmopolitan and polite person, we cannot forget that, during Obama’s Presidencies, Blinken was a close aide of Hillary Clinton, at first, and of John Kerry, later, i.e. two negative protagonists of international relations and foreign policy who, with their naïve support for the fake “Arab Springs”, contributed to upset North Africa and the Middle East in the name of a mirage that saw an unattainable goal of Western democracy for the countries experiencing Islamist civil uprisings and unrest.
After having fomented and militarily supported the revolt against Colonel Gaddafi, the U.S. Department of State led by Hillary Clinton, had to face the sacrifice of its ambassador in Libya, Chris Stevens, who was killed on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, where he had been sent for a confused and botched negotiation with the Islamists of Ansar Al Sharia.
Under Kerry’s leadership, with Blinken at his side as Deputy Secretary of State, the United States managed the Syrian crisis in a politically and militarily unwise manner, thus finally leaving the field open to Russia and Turkey.
Against this backcloth, the prospects for a return to action of U.S. diplomacy (partly put to rest by Donald Trump) are not particularly fascinating, in an area such as Libya where Italy, in its own small way, is not even able to sketch out a credible negotiation for the release of the eighteen fishermen from Mazara del Vallo, kidnapped by General Haftar’s forces for over two months.
Iranian media and Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
Freedom of the press and the Media are both considered the fundamental pillars of Democracy across the globe. However, some authoritarian regimes restrict and ban the media and freedom of speech. These regimes establish and monitor their broadcasting system and media activity. The Iranian regime’s nature is authoritarian and dictatorial, and the country is ruled based on Shiite ideology and Persian nationalism. Security forces, especially the Iran intelligence ministry, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have a robust interconnection with media. Through cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Guidance, security agencies can monitor the media and the press. Undoubtedly, Iran’s state-driven media have to pursue and consider the procedures based on ideological and national interests, focusing on the Shiite religion rules and Persian nationalism. The Iran State Press and media and other foreign opposition news media stood by Armenia and refused to hold a neutral position during the second Nagorno-Karabakh (Internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory) conflict lasting September 27th to November 10th, 2020.
We first need to analyze why the Iranian media holds discriminatory policy and behavior toward the Republic of Azerbaijan. One of the main reasons is the large population of Turks who reside in Iran. They live mainly in Northwestern regions whom Turkish activists call South Azerbaijan. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of Iran’s population is Turkish. Iranian officials assume the potent, rich, and attractive the Republic of Azerbaijan can influence Azerbaijani Turks and reinforce their desire to secession from Iran. One example is a November video report named the “Nagorno-Karabakh War” and shared by Mashregh News, an analytical website affiliated with IRGC, which served as a pretext for Iran’s disintegration. In October, thousands of Azerbaijan Turks from cities like Tabriz, Ardabil, Zanjan, and Tehran gathered to support Azerbaijan and protested to criticize Iran’s aids in Armenia. Unfortunately, security forces cracked down on these demonstrations and arrested dozens of protesters. Of course, Iran’s state-run media organizations avoided discussing arrest details of the demonstrations, and some, like the IRIB, went as far as distorted and misrepresented the nature of the protests in favor of the government. The Iranian media using mostly the Persian language represented and conveyed the sovereign and independent Azerbaijan as the major threat to the religious, totalitarian, and Persian-centered government’s interest and security.
Another important factor impacting Iranian state media policy against Azerbaijan in the recent battle of Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s strategic relations with Turkey and Israel. Turkey has been a long-time political rival of Iran regionally. This is the reason why Iran will not tolerate the presence of Turkey in the Caucasus. The Iranian media spread misleading news and inaccurate information against Turkey, which mobilized the Jihadi fighters to go to the battlefield of Nagorno-Karabakh. Naturally, the Iranian media had no supporting evidence to back up their claims in the news. Furthermore, on November 1st, IRIB interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in deceptive statements claimed terrorists and possibly Zionists participated in the conflict and diverted the issue to those governments involved. Since then, the war is now over, and there is still no reliable documents or evidence to support his allegations. Propaganda and hate speech against Israel and Jewish people have been a dominant headline in Iranian media since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Due to Iran and Israel’s deep hostility, the Iranian government cannot endure Israel’s presence and strong ties with neighboring countries. Recently, the government news agency, Fars News, published an article by Ehsan Movahedian about the economic consequences of the recent peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Iran. The author emphasized that Israel’s permanent presence in Iran’s northwest border could be a significant threat for the Islamic Republic and create ethnic tensions. Similarly, on November 17th, Mashregh News posted an article about the second war of Nagorno-Karabakh and its effects on Iran’s geopolitical capacity in the energy sector. In a similar theme, Ministry of Intelligence expert Ahmad Kazemi claimed that in the second Karabakh War, Turkey’s primary aim, The Republic of Azerbaijan, and Israel was to occupy the 42-kilometer border strip between Iran and Armenia by implementing the exchanging corridors in their plan. Kazemi concluded that opening the transit corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan is the American and England idea to restrain China, Russia, and Iran in the coming decades, to strengthen the concept of the Great Turan and Pan-Turkism. The transparent distress and concern of Iranian officials and experts reflected in the media indicated the government’s objective to disrupt the November Russian-brokered truce deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan that was signed between 3 countries over the Nagorno-Karabakh.
Like Iran state media, Iranian overseas opposition media had a similar consensus about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Most of them deliberately distorted and censored the region’s realities and war facts in favor of Armenia in their articles and news. Iranian opposition media such as the BBC Persian, Radio Farda, and Iran International TV describe Nagorno-Karabakh as an Armenian-populated region. They refrain from elaborating on ethnic cleansing, which caused the displacement of one million Azerbaijani people from Karabakh and surrounding areas by Armenian troops during the first war in the 1990s. In the same media, Shusha was announced as an occupied city by Azerbaijan and not as a liberated city. Stemming from their Persian-centric nationalist views, they deem the awakening and empowerment of Northern and Southern Azerbaijanis as a serious threat to national security and unification in Iran.
In most cases, the Iranian media does not analyze events and issues impartially. Comparatively, they evaluated regional problems and national issues influenced by ideological interest and Persian nationalism. In the recent Nagorno-Karabakh battle, the Iranian media supported Armenia by spreading fallacious news and misleading information against Azerbaijan, like Israeli forces’ deployment in Iran’s Northwest border and transferring terrorists to the front lines of the war. Not surprisingly, the media attempted to deceive the public opinion by making accusations to justify Iran’s support for Armenia. Although Iranian Journalists and media activists thought that their anti-Azerbaijani actions would strengthen national security, contrastingly, their destructive activities did not contribute to national unity but instead intensified the ethnic division between Azerbaijani Turks and Persians in Iran. Consequently, with the continuance of the Iranian media’s destructive policies, without considering the Turks’ demands in Iran, maintaining stability, national solidarity, and territorial integrity will be a prominent issue in the future.
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