Let us put Lebanon aside. What impedes solving some of the current regional crises is that Iran holds the obstructing third, namely, the demand that the US recognize its right to obtain this third. Some simple questions are sufficient to clarify this issue: can security and stability be achieved in Iraq without the approval of Iran? Can a government be installed in Mesopotamia without giving Tehran the obstructing third, if it is satisfied with such a quota? Can a US withdrawal from Iraq be arranged under reasonable or semi-reasonable conditions without the help of Iran, which has already offered assistance if Washington decides to withdraw? No Arab will ever rejoice either at seeing Iran holding such a large number of trump cards in the Iraqi scene or at Iraq becoming an arena like Lebanon.
Let us put Iraq aside. Can we see a Palestinian national unity government being formed without the approval of Iran? Can we settle a deal to release the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, without addressing the Iranian obstructing third? Is it possible to arrange a sustained ceasefire against Iran's calculations, which can be characterized by ostensible flexibility or excessive intransigence, depending on the ongoing bickering and negotiation in the region? Embattled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should wait for the return of the envoy from Damascus and Tehran whenever he requests anything from his prime minister.
Whoever looks forward to possessing the obstructing third in the region should have a very important trump card in the conflict with Israel. A few days ago, Imam Khomeini made 'Jerusalem Day' an Iranian tradition. The relationship with Hezbollah allowed Iran to have a permanent presence on the borders of occupied Palestine. Launching Iranian-made missiles on northern Israel last summer came within the context of asserting the ability to use the power of this one third to threaten the security of Israel. Through the Iraqi file, southern Lebanon, the alliance with Syria and the camps of Gaza, Iran reminds the US of its ability to act as an obstacle, having proved its ability to cooperate in Afghanistan.
Through the attitudes, statements and practices, as well as uranium enrichment, Iran is trying to stage itself as the only power in the region by employing what it believes is its ability to hold the obstructing third in the security of oil, the region and Israel.
This means that it presents itself as a rival, or a partner, to the US presence in the region. Some believe that Iran goes beyond this dream by betting on filling a relatively larger part of the vacuum left by the Soviet Union in the region after its collapse and disintegration.
Iran's attempt to seize the obstructing third in the countries, files and the entire region is not a simple issue, as it affects other countries' security, interests and sensitivities, and disrupt the balance of the structure of the region.
It would not be to the Arabs' advantage to show enmity toward Iran, or to pay the price of either a confrontation or agreement between Tehran and Washington. The battle of the Iranian obstructing third is still in its early stages. Following up on its developments helps one understand the open hotbeds of tension in the region.