Sunday, April 17, 2011

It all started with Tunisia - Part II

Continued...  read in the last issue .
In the Middle East as in all previous eras, "power centers" in the second decade of the 21st century, vying with each other in an enlarged still another round of "big games", international organizations realize large scale projects in the region, much of which is aimed at ensuring funding for these organizations, not having to do with the real problems of the Middle East and the revolution, riots, civil wars and interstate conflicts unfold naturally.
In contrast to similar processes occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, problems related to Middle East, Europe and the United States, Russia and China, India and countries in Southeast Asia directly. They affect the volume and price balance of the hydrocarbons market and the market of weapons, the security of world shipping and the level of terrorist threat, emigration from the Third World Countries into the states “gold billion” and the ecology. This explains the attention we have given to events occurring before our eyes in the region covering the area from the Atlantic coast of North Africa to the borders of Hindustan. In the first part of this article we examine the current state of affairs and the forecast of developments in the troubled or awaiting riots Maghreb, Egypt, Sudan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Assessing the current situation in the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia and the Levant also does not give grounds for optimism.

Tottering kingdom

Key to the future (or lack thereof) of one of the most important states not only Arab, but the whole Islamic world - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is its confrontation with Iran. Among other things - Sunni or Shiite Islam project will dominate the Muslim Ummah. Sunni regime harshly suppressed Shiites in the Eastern Province of KSA, where they constitute a majority, support, including military intervention, similar developments in Bahrain and other countries where the Sunni Arab regimes or the paramilitary movement, including radical, confronting Iran and local Shiite militias.Conservative gerontocracy in Saudi Arabia seeks to weaken not only Iran's allies and satellites, but also the secular regimes and westernized monarchy in Middle East (in the latter case, the interests of Tehran and Riyadh are the same). In Lebanon, the Saudis support the supporters of Saad Hariri against Hezbollah, in Iraq - Al-Qaida, in Syria, finance and supply the weapons (in Iraq), Sunni radicals who oppose the regime  al-Assad, in Yemen are trying to deal with northern tribes, and "socialists"-southerners.
Saudi Arabia (along with Iran) has benefited from the fall of the Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE) Mubarak regime, whose policy was characterized by independence and in the combating of terrorism was coordinated by it with Israel and USA. KSA is largely responsible for the orientation of the League of Arab States (LAS), the EU and the U.S. opposing Gaddafi Libyan opposition. Pursuing “straying sect” in its own territory, regime for a period of decades lends support to the militarized subdivisions of Sunni extremists in Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan, Iraq,Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Weakened by the latest developments of Egypt, since the GA Nasser are rivals of Saudi Arabia, no longer claim to participate in the settlement of inter-Arab conflicts (Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine). The only competitor to the KSA in this area today - the emirate of Qatar. Reflection of their rivalry - competition channel Al-Arabiya, the conductor of foreign policy initiatives of the kingdom, with the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, the leading in the modern Arab world. Supporting anti-Israel, provoking anti-American and generally anti-Western sentiment in the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia is both a major supplier of oil and consumer goods to the U.S. military-industrial complex. In this case, the armed forces of the KSA are disproportionately weak compared with that of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), & could not master the modern military equipment purchased by the kingdom, and in the case of a direct clash with Iran; Riyadh can only rely on Western aid. Anti-Israeli sentiment in the Obama team strengthen the regime's relationship with the current U.S. administration. It is in connection with this program of nuclear disarmament "Global Zero" and the initiative to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East aimed at Iran and Israel, avoiding the problem of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, created with financial support from Saudi Arabia.
Kingdom throughout its history has been a dangerous neighbor to the surrounding states. Currently, the KSA settled border disputes, and became a center of anti-Iranian military-political bloc of the Cooperation Council of Arab Gulf States (GCC), which unites the Arab monarchies of the Gulf. The internal situation of the country is relatively stable, despite the anti-government demonstrations in Jeddah and Eastern Province. At the same time, the KSA collected by ibn-Saud in the war 20-30-XX century with the destruction (Rashidis in Najd) or repression (Hashemite in the Hijaz), the local governing labor, the Yemeni occupation of Assyria and several other areas, may disintegrate under external events. Unrest in Bahrain, Yemen, or the Eastern Province of KSA may become the detonator of the process, complicating the situation in all the monarchies of the Gulf and threatening the export of oil from the Arabian Peninsula (both through the Strait of Hormuz, and from the terminals located on the Red Sea).
Liberalization of the inner life, an attempt regime seeks was delayed and inadequate.Recent efforts by the U.S. administration to give its recommendations in this area and in matters of human rights were severely suppressed by the leaders of the KSA, recalling the oil boycott of the 70ies. The regime has no safety margin, the board is still done with the sons of Ibn Saud, whose age is close to 90. Conflicts within the ruling family are permanent and irreversible. Unresolved problems of transfer of power next generation of Saudis weaken the kingdom. The presence in the ultra-conservative Islamic country, which limits in its territory the rights of foreigners, a significant number of foreign workers (5.6 million people from 25.7 million), is an additional factor of destabilization. Based on the experience of KSA conflict with Iran during the Ayatollah Khomeini in the 80 years, it is possible that the unrest, which may call into question the existence of Saudi Arabia, will be confined to the period of the Hajj - a large (more than 2.5 million visitors) or small.
Unrest in Oman, according to Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, inspired from the UAE, is currently threatening the existence of Ibaditskogo sultanate. In the short term risk to Muscat represent a split in the ruling elite (some of which, including a number of security officials, focused on Iran), the possibility of reviving separatist movements (in Dhofar) and supporters of the restoration of the Imamate (in mountainous areas), the turmoil in the KSA, Civil War in Yemen, or the conflict between Iran and the Gulf States, the West or Israel. The latter is likely to lead to blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, the southern shore of which (Masando peninsula) is the territory of Oman. The potential of the Sultanate as a transit territory for the export of oil through the facilities of the Arabian Peninsula on the Indian Ocean with a high degree of involvement of Oman will provoke Iran into a conflict with its opponents, and attacks against the Omani infrastructure. Nonetheless, contacts with Iran allow Muscat hope to maintain neutrality. Living in the country foreign nationals (600 thousand out of 3,000,000 people, mostly Indians and Pakistanis) do not pose a threat to the regime - most are rooted in society's middle class and veterans Omani security forces. Country's security is guaranteed by cooperation in military-technical cooperation with Britain, the United States and Pakistan.
Conflicts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran (occupying the island of Abu Musa, Lesser and Greater Tunb) turns them into the next after Bahrain and Saudi Arabia goal of the Islamic Republic. Joining the UAE to UN sanctions being taken to limit Iran's nuclear program, has caused great damage to the economy of Iran, a significant part of financial operations and transit of goods that are made through Dubai. Significant factor in destabilizing the situation in the Emirates is a numbering several hundred thousand community of ethnic Persians, despite the fact that foreign workers account for the vast majority of the population (3,500,000 people from 5 million). UAE Armed Forces, as well as all the other small Gulf monarchies, have modern facilities, but can perform only limited tasks, helping the Sun West (USA, France, UK) and providing them with infrastructure (ports, airports) of the country.
Unlike its neighbors moderate Wahhabi Qatar supports stable relationships, including in the sphere of defense, and with the West and Iran (which is unlikely to save him in case of aggravation of the situation in the Gulf from Iranian attack on located on the territory of the Emirate of U.S. military facilities). Relations with the neighboring country's leadership regimes moderately cool (with Bahrain, until recently, they exacerbated the territorial dispute, decided by the International Court in The Hague.)
Bahrain has long been gripped by Shiites performances (more than 70 percent of the population) against the ruling Sunni dynasty, holds them only through the intervention of the army and police units of the GCC. In operations on the territory of the island nation were involved contingents from all the monarchies of the Gulf, but now the key role played by military personnel from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Based in Bahrain, the 5th Fleet of the United States in operations to suppress the rebellion did not participate. Iran's harsh reaction to events in Bahrain, has led to an actual rupture of relations between Tehran and Manama, and expulsion from the territory of the Kingdom of Bahrain ethnic Persians (constituting a large part of the 240,000 Bahraini expatriates with a total population of 740,000 people). The traditional response to the Iranian establishment of Bahrain as a former province, torn away from Iran by the British, suggests the possibility of deployment in the near future conflict between Iran and the GCC countries under the pretext of protecting the civilian population of the kingdom. Stay away from this United States can not. Otherwise, they will be forced to leave the Gulf, Iran acknowledged the dominant power in the region.
Bordering with Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the strategic importance of which as the only deep-water ports in the Persian Gulf is not less than his role as one of the leading suppliers of oil to world markets for security relies only on the U.S. and the UK. Strikes and terrorist acts against the emirate from Iran during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the Iraq occupation (1990-1991), an unstable situation at the borders due to civil war in the international coalition occupied Iraq and Kuwait have made extremely vulnerable. The situation is complicated presentations of disenfranchised Bedouin, a significant number of whom live in the country.

Mesopotamia and the Levant: the stability question

Approaching withdrawal from Iraq of U.S. troops, accompanied by recent anti-government demonstrations and attacks in this country, will intensify the civil war of all against all. Kurdish Peshmerga actually completed the capture of Kirkuk and successfully implement the cleanup of the Arabs and turkomanov Mosul. The Sunnis of the units "Sahwa," formed by the Americans to fight al-Qaida, are returning to the anti-government guerilla and sabotage activities, as were not promised by the command of the U.S. Expeditionary Force. Presence in the government of al-Maliki's ministers, pro-Iranian Mahdi Army, gives Iran a free hand in central and southern Iraq.
The main foreign force in the north - in Iraqi Kurdistan is Turkey, whose troops continue to operate in the border areas against militants of the PKK. Activation of the al-Qaida and other radical terrorist groups and separatist movements (including in Basra), weakness and corruption of the government troops and police allow binding de jure, de facto division of the country. Modern Iraq - is not so much a state as territory, economic and political ties between the separate parts which are often weaker than with its nearest neighbors. The disintegration of the country in the short term is possible with high probability and a negative impact on neighbors, especially Jordan and Syria. Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons (about 4 million people) greatly complicate the situation in those states. With the withdrawal of U.S. troops will greatly increase the probability of attacks on infrastructure, oil production, oil refining, pipelines. Army officers and other law enforcement agencies are the backbone of Saddam Hussein's mercenaries recruited in the region to participate in internal conflicts.
Anti-government demonstrations in Jordan in the future called into question the stability of the ruling dynasty. Islamist influence factor and the role played by the Muslim Brotherhood "as the largest faction in parliament, economic problems, aggravating presence in Jordan to a million people from Iraq, supported by Queen Rania of increased political activity and the stricter requirements of Palestinians, constituting more than 60 percent from 6, 4 million inhabitants of the country - the main factors contributing to the destabilization of the Hashemite kingdom.Significant risk to the future of the state represent support of Jordanian Islamists from the territory of the CSA and the conflict relatives Queen - Family Yasin with Bedouin sheikhs. The mainstay of treatment is still the army - one of the best in the Middle East. King Abdullah's relationship with the West are strong, even for Israel, he, unlike his predecessor - the late King Hussein distanced himself while maintaining diplomatic relations and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Substantial threat to the Jordanian monarchy is instability in the Palestinian territory. Mode of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in Ramallah, corrupt, inefficient and can never build the infrastructure of the state, nor to stop anti-Israeli terror, neither complete conflict with Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The latter, in the case of a unilateral declaration of the PNA leadership on the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible take over of all power in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to the further development of the Palestinian Islamist expansion towards Jordan. Hamas in its struggle with Israel, support of Iran, Syria and the international organizations based on the European left-establishment, anti-globalization and Turkey. Iran to the neutrality of the new Egyptian government has established the supply of arms and ammunition to Gaza. Activation of attacks against Israeli territory from Gaza, Israeli resumption of targeted killings of leaders of terrorist groups, interception en route to Gaza with a cargo ship carrying weapons bring a large-scale Israeli operation in Gaza is analogous with the operation of “Cast Lead”. It is not excluded that as a result  IDF will return control of the border with Egypt, the so-called Philadelphia corridor, and possibly the entire Gaza Strip.Break Israel's relations with the PNA in the case of joint movements Fatah and Hamas without recognition of the recent Israel announced the country's leadership will mean denunciation of agreements reached in Oslo.
Speeches Palestinians, not to mention a third intifada, in both cases is unlikely, because the Palestinian leadership has discredited itself, and the responses of Israel are becoming more stringent. In the West Bank is a de facto economic integration of the Jewish settlements and Palestinian communities. Currently, foreign "players", including co-sponsors of the peace process, play in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a destabilizing role, raising claims of Palestinian leaders on Israel beyond a reasonable and thereby freezing the opposition. In recent years, radical Palestinian groups have stepped up in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The Syrian regime transforms the country's political system, while suppressing speech settled Bedouins on the border with Jordan, the Islamists in Latakia and other regions. If President Bashar al-Assad's in supporting of its Christians and Sunnis fail to suppress the Sunni radicals of Saudi Arabia, the resulting rage can cover areas of residence of Syrian Kurds, and possibly, the Druze. Division of the country, united by France in the 20's and 30 years of the twentieth century, in this case is more than likely.
Lebanon is once again teetering on the brink of civil war. The biggest political-military force in the country - the Shiite Hezbollah, who retired in opposition to the Hariri bloc, the local police and the Palestinian factions are in a fragile, unstable equilibrium. After losing to Iran and Syria in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia could complicate the position of Damascus so that it would not attempt to establish the control over Beirut, which for a period of decades served as the only guarantee of the national reconciliation, which does not maintain the absence of Syrian occupation. Iran's attempts to provoke a war between Hezbollah and Israel has not yet been successful because of the leadership positions of Hezbollah, aware that in case of a repetition of the conflict scenario of 2006, Jerusalem will cause her more serious damage than during the Second Lebanon War.
As can be seen from outline above, the Arab East is so distant from the stability as the Arab West. The Islamic world is unconfined by Arab states, and that which began in Tunisia and Egypt, it continues in Libya and Bahrain, begins in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon - only part of the picture, which have been completed in the next article.


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