Regional Security and International Law

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The Oman authorities have already signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hence, Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights obliged Oman to offer people to receive all the rights and freedoms without distinction of race, colour, sex, language, and religion, political or other opinion. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obliged Oman to recognise the right of people in Roas Al-Jabal, although Oman is not the State Party in the covenant. Oman is also obliged to protect people from any discrimination because Oman is already signed the right to Equality and Non-discrimination except the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Security under International Law

International Security Law according to Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations and the institutions of the Security Council of the United Nations is meant to support international peace and security in the world under Article 24 of the Charter (The Collective Security Council). Thus, collective security is a product of law, which mainly focuses on the behaviour of sovereign states and the conflict they engage in among themselves, aimed at reducing conflicts in order to prevent a threat to international peace caused by threats to regional security. After the end of the Cold War, challenges to the collective security (UN Security) increased as a result of diverse security threats, and transnational security concerns. These new threats and concerns were mainly originated from armed groups (none- State Actors) and threats to the stability of sovereign states. However, the methods and mechanisms, such as confronting of Non-State Actors (Armed Groups) in some of the countries or punishing countries that threaten international or regional security, rapidly developed after the end of the Cold War were used by international law to confront these international threats. According to Article 39 of the UN Charter aimed at facing threats to international peace, states that ‘’ The Security Council must determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security’’. The aim of these laws within the framework of international law is to confront countries or groups that cause problems and obstruct international peace by threatening the sovereignty of neighbouring countries (Threats to Regional Security). In addition, the fundamental goals that international law focuses on are as follows: International law allows for the use of force to confront violators of international peace and also allows the affected States to act in self-defence; it also focuses on disarmament of groups and States, arms control and non-proliferation and also works to establish confidence in order to solve the crisis. International law provides a legal framework in which international institutions can become involved in the field of international security; it also includes laws focused on peacekeeping and enforcing order. Therefore, under international law, all members of the United Nations are committed to international peace and security support according to Articles 2 (5), 25 and 48 and 103 of the Charter of the United Nations. Iran threatens regional security Iranian threats against the Gulf States are not recent. They began in wake of the revolution (the rise of the Mullahs) in Iran in 1979. Presently, the Iranian regime poses a threat to international peace in the Gulf region in two aspects: First- by supporting Non-State Actors (armed groups) in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen to influence the Arabian Gulf Nations and impact their economy, and their ability to control the Straits of Bab Al Salam (Hormuz) including Roas Al-Jabal (Mosandam), Bab el Mandeb in Yemen, as well as the maritime border in Syria and Lebanon. Second, Iran threatens the Gulf States by carrying out military exercises in the Gulf and threatening to close the Strait of Bab Al Salam (Hormuz) with the intent to harm the economy and stability of the Gulf States. Iranian politicians and government officials release statements against the sovereignty of the Gulf States. For example, the statement released by the IRGC’s public relations officer, Brigadier General Ramadan Sharif, which stated that Iran should settle the crises in Bahrain and Yemen. At the same time, he attacked the other Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. However, Iran's nuclear program is the main threat for regional security of the Arabian Gulf. ‘Iranian interference’ in the internal affairs of Arab countries was condemned by the Arab League Council at the ministerial level on 15th December 2015. The league accused Tehran of ‘threatening regional security and international peace’. In a ‘non-regular’ meeting held in Cairo of the Arab League Council headed by the United Arab Emirates, it "reaffirmed its condemnation of the Iranian government for interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries, as a violation of the rules of international law, and the principle of good neighbourliness and carries a serious threat to regional security and international peace". The list of Iranian acts and interventions to threaten regional security in the Arab Gulf states, including the following: • Responsibility for 16 bombings against various targets worldwide such as: the US and the French Embassy, the Kuwait airport, industrial complex and the power station, a residential complex and the Ahmadi oil complex and also terrorist attack which targeted the late Amir Sheikh Jabber Al-Ahmad's motorcade in the eighties. • Iranian intelligence services were behind the bombings in Kuwait in 1983 in cooperation with the Iraqi Dawa Party (Washington Post). • Iran bombed Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf in 1983. • Iran attempted to blow up Sheikh Jabber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, in 1985 in cooperation with the Iraqi Dawa and the Lebanese Hezbollah party (New York Times). • Riots instigated by Iranian pilgrims during the pilgrimage season in 1986, which resulted in the death of more than 300 people. • The burning of oil and workshop complex in Raas Tanora in eastern Saudi Arabia in 1987. • Killing the Saudi diplomat Mr Ghamdi in 1987. • The attack on the Saudi consul in Tehran, Mr Reza Abdul-Mohsen Al-Nazha in 1987. • Hijacking a Kuwaiti plane on the 5th April 1988 in cooperation with the Lebanese Hezbollah. • The bombing of a US diplomatic mission in 1995 in Saudi Arabia. • Explosion in the city of Khobar in 1996 that killed 19 Americans and wounded 386 people of different nationalities in Saudi territory. • Providing asylum for one of the Saudis involved in the Khobar bombing of the so-called Hezbollah Hijaz since 1996, (who was arrested in Lebanon, and holds an Iranian passport). • The discovery of the Kuwaiti «Hezbollah» by the Kuwaiti security authorities’ in 2015. The Kuwaiti group has a link with the Lebanese «Hezbollah» (Middle East Eye). • Encouraging and supporting the tension in Bahrain since 2011 openly and continuously, this has caused the death of a number of civilian and military Bahrainis. • Testing of ballistic missiles aimed at destabilising regional security and in violation of international resolutions. • Aggressive statements issued by Iranian officials against the Gulf States in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. • Iranian plans to politicise the pilgrimage in 2015. • Breaking into the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the Consulate in Mashhad in early January 2016. • The Iranian constitution, which is based on revolutionary ideology provides for the export of the revolution to neighbouring countries by supporting armed groups (Non-State Actors). • Iran's nuclear program and the threat to regional and international security. • Attempting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington in 2011. • The occupation of the UAE islands since 1971.

Iranian aims to threaten regional security

Iran main aim of Iran’s regional activity, specifically in the Arabian Gulf, is to control the political affairs in the Gulf States, and even an impact their security, economy, culture and strategy. According to the Saudi foreign ministry in 2016, the Iranian regime’s activity in the area is aimed at destabilising the States by supporting extremism and extremists in the Middle East and also by supporting terrorism in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In addition, according to US State Department reports, Iran’s at the head of the list of state sponsors of terrorism which threat international security by supporting extremism and terrorism. At the same time, Iran’s nuclear program turned it into one of the most dangerous States in the world. The Somali President Sheikh Mahmoud during his interview to the Sharq Al-Awsat Newspaper on 12th August 2016 said that Iran threatens Arab security, hence, we stopped our political connection with Iran."

Iranian threats under International Law

International law does not allow Iran to threaten international peace by: supporting the riots in Bahrain, conducting military exercises aimed at obstructing international peace and disrupting the affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council States, insulting by senior regime figures, including the language used by the supreme dealer of the Islamic Republic Leader against Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In fact, the language of threats used by the official Iranian leaders against their neighbouring countries is a violation of international law and has a negative effect on the security of the region. Iran’s continued threats allow countries in the Arabian Gulf to increase their pressure on the international community to take action against Iran. Under Article 24 of the UN Charter, Iran is not allowed to target the security of a sovereignty State or threaten to close the Strait of Bab Al Salam (Hormuz) because the Strait is not a part of the Iranian maritime boundaries; rather, it is part of the international border. It is the right of the international community in accordance with Article 24 and 39 of the UN Charter to apply pressure on Iran once it suggests it might close the straits. According to Article 34 of the UN Charter, the GCC States have the right to call on the Security Council to examine Iran’s support of armed militias (Non-State Actors) that interference in the sovereignty of the Gulf States and other Arab countries. The reason being that by supporting armed groups, Iran actions will place international peace and security at risk. Under international law, the Gulf States have a right to appeal to the International Criminal Tribunal to put on trial those Iranians and terrorists who collaborated with Iran in its attempt to kill the Amir of Kuwait in the eighties. They can also ask the Security Council to use Article 7 of international humanitarian law to confront Iran in order to protect international peace.


Kamil Alboshoka is an international law and human rights researcher. He holds an LLM in International Law and Human Rights from Birkbeck University of London, and a BA from Kingston University of London in Human Geography. His research explores issues of human rights, criminal justice, equality and inequality, conflict and terrorism impacts on human rights, and peace and security.

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