PM Abe of Japan returns from a pointless visit to Iran: Middle East quagmire

PM Abe of Japan returns from a pointless visit to Iran: Middle East quagmire

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returns to Japan after a pointless visit to Iran that made him look out of touch. Once more, the Japanese Foreign Ministry that is aloof about the real power dynamics of the Russian Federation, was equally caught out by Abe’s trip to Iran that was doomed to fail.

Modern Tokyo Times indicated prior to Abe’s visit to Iran that it appeared pointless. Equally alarming, it is far from the concerns of the Japanese electorate. Therefore, Abe merely made himself appear weak and unimportant – just like Japan was sidelined by the initiatives of America toward North Korea.

After all, how can Japan claim to be an honest broker given the special relationship that exists between America and Japan? Of course, the same issue blights the territorial dispute with the Russian Federation. Hence, political elites in Moscow can’t even get the most basic of guarantees from Japan. This relates to American military forces being kept out of Northern Japan.

Similarly, it is clear that Saudi Arabia believes that the current President Trump administration is more open to anti-Iran policies. In other words, Japan entered the world of geopolitical issues that concern Iran and Saudi Arabia. A far cry from doing the bidding of America. Likewise, hardliners in Iran and Saudi Arabia don’t support the status quo. On the contrary, Iran and Saudi Arabia are involved in various proxy wars in relation to Iraq, Syria, and Yemen respectively. Also, Saudi Arabia is anti-Muslim Brotherhood, unlike Iran. Hence this means that Egypt is brought into the geopolitical fray on the side of Saudi Arabia.

For this reason, Modern Tokyo Times stipulated prior to Abe visiting Iran that Abe’s approach seems rather whimsical and not well thought out unless Japan is in direct talks with Saudi Arabia.”

Modern Tokyo Times also stated, “…it remains to be seen how Saudi Arabia views the role of Japan mediating between America and Iran. After all, Saudi Arabia seeks to contain Iran and this is more likely given the role of John R. Bolton, the current National Security Advisor of the United States. This especially relates to the hawkish approach of Bolton who is extremely hostile to Iran.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, stated strongly, “I do not consider (U.S. President Donald) Trump as a person worth exchanging any message with and I have no answer for him, nor will I respond to him in the future.”  

It is difficult to believe how gullible the Japanese Foreign Ministry is because what else would one expect from Ayatollah Khamenei. Similarly, in the opposite direction, how can America trust a nation that kills homosexuals, persecutes apostates, imprisons political dissenters, and arrests women for not covering up and so forth? Ironically, Iran and Saudi Arabia have much in common when it comes to enforcing draconian laws based on Sharia. Yet Sunni-Shia sectarianism and different geopolitical ambitions mean that both nations distrust each other.

If nations seek to contain the respective ambitions of Iran and Saudi Arabia, then this must be done when both nations are represented. Equally important, a regional conference to reduce tensions must involve neutral outside parties. Or political elites in America, Iran, and Saudi Arabia must bite the bullet and talk directly to solve the crisis. Either way, Japan is a minor player to the events that are unfolding. Hence, the Japanese Foreign Ministry should have protected Abe.


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