Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It all started with Tunisia - Part III

Events unfolding in recent months in the Middle East, allow us to estimate the alignment of forces vying for influence in the region, and to revise the established theoretical concepts, not all of which were confirmed in practice. In our country, they surprised all academic schools: the adherents of the academic approach (dating back to the classic Russian Oriental Studies), military and political ideology (based on the theory of the Soviet era) and they weren’t accustomed to the neo-liberal dogma of western wing & the related happenings. Consolation may be that the relevant U.S. and European research centers and specialized agencies have shown the same incompetence.In the preceding section on the countries of the Arab world, we can estimate what is happening beyond its borders. There are external centers of power, at least, if not more important centers for the Arab perception that are now witnessing the unrest, riots and civil wars all over the Islamic "arc of instability", extending to Africa and destabilize Europe.
Read first and second parts.

Neighbors-rivals: the new empire


Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continues, using political and economic conditions, complex game whose outcome should be a transformation of the republic's dominant force in Middle East: leadership in the Sunni world, speaking on equal terms with the EU and independent from the United States. Theoretical Foundations of Ankara becoming the center of the new Ottoman empire were formulated by the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Davutoglu long before he came to politics. Included in the ruling triumvirate of premier Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul has consistently and effectively embody the theory into practice.
Turkey's political system which undergoes transformation from a secular Kemalism to moderate political Islamism - one of the principal beneficiaries of the turmoil in the region, covering the country after country. It only benefits from a consistent easing of influential regional players, including recent Allied traditional opponents and close neighbours. The most dangerous of these neighbors-Iraq today unlike times Saddam Hussein is not so much a country as a territory.
Position of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in the West are weak because of his confrontation with the international community over the nuclear issue, and in the region are complicated by the struggle with Israel and Saudi Arabia (KSA). Jerusalem is focused on tactical security issues, they are weakening its neighbors development into strategic issues. Egypt experienced a flowering of political influence at the time of Nasser, Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, which was a key regional ally of Israel and the United States in the fight against political Islam and terrorism.Saudi Arabia remains a source of financing and organizing center of Sunni Muslim radicals and neutralize opposition to the IRI. Syria, under Hafez al-Assad challenged Turkey Aleksandrettsky Sandzak, because of the distribution of the Euphrates waters, without regard to Ankara Syria operated in Lebanon and harshly suppressed Sunni Islamists in its own territory, with Bashar Assad in all these matters sidelined Turkish position. Libyan initiatives in Africa are no longer there competitors of Turkish politics, and the participation of Turkey as a NATO member in the coalition operating against Muammar Gaddafi, will neutralize many of its initiatives, allowing Ankara look defender of Muslims in the face of modern imperialism.
Turkish leadership on all aspects of foreign policy demonstrates pragmatism, flexibility and readiness for any tactical alliance, which it unhesitatingly sacrifice, if necessary, revise any agreements at the time believed it appropriate. The toolkit consists of Turkish foreign policy Panturkism in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga region and the "soft Islam" in the export performance, including in Russia and Ukraine. Visa-free travel and special border "mode with" historical provinces includes Syria, Libya, Armenia, Bulgaria and several other states, involved in the orbit of economic expansion in Turkey.The global economic crisis, increasing the importance of the Turkish market for European investors, has opened new opportunities for Turkey in Iraq (Turkey - the main investor in Iraqi Kurdistan), Iran and even the traditionally hostile to it in Greece.
Participation in UN peacekeeping operations, NATO and military-political coalition, including in Afghanistan and Libya, keeps its military cooperation with the West. Continuing the occupation of Northern Cyprus, Turkey is using bilateral and multilateral treaties with individual European countries and the EU, weakening France and increasing influence on Germany. It combines a "special relationship" with the U.S. and privileged trading partnership with Russia. The position of the oil and gas transit country allows her to play on the contradictions between the EU and Iran and Russia. Mediating role in conflicts in the Balkans and the Caucasus earned it more influence in these regions. Control over the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is key to Mesopotamia.The fight against Kurdish separatism together with Iran and Syria. Support for Hamas - with Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood.Demonstrative criticism of Israel - with the entire Islamic world. All these actions had made Turkey extremely influential.
The Turkish army - one of the most professional and well-equipped in the region and if necessary, can be used outside the country. Trials of the generals and a referendum to change the constitution in September 2010 allowed the country's political leadership to take the armed forces under effective control, eliminating the repetition of repeated military coups in the past. Course on the cooling of relations with Israel; weakened the military-technical potential of the Turkish Armed Forces, but in the Islamic world, Turkey's army has no real opponents. Comparable with it in numbers, training and motivation of aircraft and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran is much weaker armed and aimed at a confrontation with Israel, the Gulf monarchies and their supporting contingents of U.S. and UK.
Opposing of Indian army had made Pakistan an equivalent Turkish army on the equipment and preparation, it has considerably larger combat experience and nuclear weapon; but not one scenario of potential regional conflicts does provide conflict of interest between Ankara and Islamabad. At the same time, carrying out successful operations against militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), including in northern Iraq, the Turkish military can not achieve a decisive victory over them.Kurdish separatism, somewhat weakened as a result of the course for national reconciliation, adopting the ruling AKP is still the main danger for the country's territorial integrity. Inconsistent and half-hearted policy of the state, resulted in legalization of Kurdish parties and open broadcasting in Kurdish language TV station, criticizes the Kemalist opposition. The latest coverage of the region supported the protests, using "at the forefront of" confrontation with the AKP unions and student associations.
The situation is further complicated by the economic crisis and the problem of minorities.Turkish Circassians and Chechens, Abkhazians, and Laz, Bosnians and Gypsies, and representatives of small Turkic-speaking groups, the remnants of the Greeks and Armenians (including an estimated 100,000 migrants from Armenia) is a potential factor of instability, whose presence will be determined by the outcome of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Populist government against the local Christian communities are accompanied by murders of priests and leaders of the country's aggressive rhetoric against Christianity. Calls for isolationism and cultivation of Turkish nationalism, addressed to the millions of Turkish Diaspora (including those living in Germany), have an openly provocative.
In the medium term is probably a political confrontation between Turkey and Israel, especially in the case of the recent military operations in Gaza and southern Lebanon, as well as its direct confrontation with Syria or Iran. Military conflict between Ankara and Jerusalem is unlikely, as well as full restoration of relations between them. The clash in the future interests of Turkey with Iran would almost be certain both because of the direction taken by both countries policy of strategic hegemony in the Islamic world, and because of the tactical contradictions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. The probability that by 2030 Turkey will take its place among the world's leading nations, as declared by the leaders of the country is quite high - a demographic and economic growth contributes to this. The polarization of society in proportion to the expansion of the sphere of influence of Islamic standards and the danger of the division of the country are determent factors.


Modern Iran - not so much a revolutionary Shiite theocratic state, but a post-revolutionary power, whose ideology is based on the imperial past and Persian nationalism. In tactical terms the Islamic Republic has achieved considerable success. Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan allow Iran to consolidate its influence in their territory - especially in Iraq. A number of Arab regimes, consistently confront Iran, Egypt though has fallen! More relaxed enemies are KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain & Morocco. Still others are currently neutral Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Iraq. Syria. Hamas and Hezbollah - Iran's allies in the near periphery & Mauritania - by far. President Ahmadinejad's foreign policy activity has brought results in Asia, Africa and Latin America, among others formed the pro-Iranian lobby on nuclear program are Turkey, Brazil & Venezuela.
Despite UN sanctions, which caused considerable damage to the Iranian economy, according to experts Iran gets a nuclear bomb within two to four years, after which the opportunity to influence its policies for global community will be reduced to zero. Successful accumulation of fissile material (the stock of which currently allows Iran to produce up to five warheads), testing of launch vehicles and the promotion of the work on the manufacture of nuclear warheads contrast with the lack of success of the six mediators in the suspension of its nuclear program. Successful in this regard, it should be recognized only a computer virus, according to the Iranian leadership and experts made in Israel, had struck several nuclear facilities in Iran. At the same time the completion of Russian nuclear power plant under the supervision of the IAEA in Bushehr, has made it second to Pakistan as a nuclear-armed state in Middle East. Of particular note is the role of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in creating and promoting the Iranian nuclear program through a network called Abdul Qadeer Khan, whose action is not excluded, is currently ongoing.
Shia unrest in Bahrain, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies can speak confidently about the "hand of Tehran", which came into direct conflict with Riyadh.Looming civil war in Yemen, will undoubtedly be used against Iran KSA and possibly Oman.The answer to this is a contract to supply military equipment and weapons in the KSA and the UAE to $60 and $40 billion, respectively, the intervention force structures of the Cooperation Council of Arab Gulf States (GCC) in Bahrain and the concluded at the end of March this year an agreement on collective security of the Arab Gulf countries. As a consequence - in the short term, high probability of direct collision between a minimum of Iran and KSA, and possibly other Gulf monarchies. In this case, al-Qaida, the Taliban and Sunni groups in Iraq, stepping up anti-Iranian activities, but a number of Sunni radicals may take a neutral position (the followers of Sheikh Yu Kardaui) & on the side of Iran –Hamas, will rise.
In Lebanon, the Iranian leadership with the support of Syria has been achieved superiority over the Saudi lobby, sending government Hariri resigned, although this may prove a Pyrrhic victory: preponderance of Shiites and their allies (friends V. Jumblatt, a part of the Sunnis and Christians) who went over the opposition bloc Hariri; is minimal. Equipped with tens of thousands of medium-range missiles, Iranian foothold in Gaza and southern Lebanon controlled by allied to Iran and Syria, the Hamas and Hezbollah continue to pose a significant threat to Israel, but not so much reduced rather has increase the likelihood of large-scale clashes between Tehran and Jerusalem. The latter is inevitable in the event of an attack inside Israel with chemical weapons. Not be ruled out that there  was a related military action "unidentified military aircraft" on Sudanese territory on March 6 this year. Unrest in Syria - the reaction of the Sunni world to Iranian expansion - were initiated by the KSA. Tough Turkey's reaction to their forceful suppression of Damascus said that the rapprochement between Ankara and Tehran can only be on specific issues and to a certain limit. Iran's leadership has established working relations with Afghanistan (investment and humanitarian assistance) and Pakistan (gas supply), but the Taliban, Al Qaeda, drug dealers, terrorists and Baluchi separatists pose a serious threat to the eastern provinces of Iran.
Forceful suppression of protest "green movement" in Iran led to its defeat, despite the dispersal of demonstrations, mass arrests, preventive detention of opposition leaders, torture and executions. High protest potential among the students. Mode is strong enough, the Supreme Religious Leader - Rahbar Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad aren’t seriously threatened by anyone, but authorities can not completely destroy their enemies inside the country. In addition to all the danger to the regime of ethnicity and ethno-nationalism in Iran has a long history and strong roots. Protests in the Arab world was seen as a call to action, opposition movements Kurds, Azeris, Turkmen and other inhabitants of "the borderlands" of Iran. Multi-million Iranian diaspora in Western countries include supporters of the regime, but the majority of Iranian exiles are the opponents of the ruling powers. Amounting to hundreds and thousands of Iranian community in the Gulf countries, in turn, is considered by their governments as a fifth column of Tehran.
It is not excluded that in the event of an escalation of the conflict between Iran and KSA Tehran could deal a fatal blow to gerontocracy in Riyadh, triggering the collapse of Saudi Arabia. It is unlikely that it will have time to enjoy the fruits of this victory. Securing Iran as a leading force in the long term is possible only on the territory of the dominant Shiite population. In the fight to the regimes of the Gulf; Iran pursues its own interests, but the prospects for regional hegemony for Turkey are clear. 
The possibility of disintegration of the country is high only in the case of a direct military confrontation with the United States, however,  today is unlikely in contrast to the era of dominance in the Pentagon "neocons", but things can be different in case of disintegration of the KSA or Iranian attack on US facilities in the Gulf. The latter can be done with the massive use of medium-range missiles, fire ships, aircraft, bombers, terrorists and special forces. Considering professionalism, high motivation and combat experience Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers in case of direct clashes, can cause West’s Expeditionary Force serious loss in manpower and technology, especially the tactics of the Europeans has been studied by Iranians as an example of Afghan and Iraqi campaigns of the last decade. In this case, Iran will suffer irreparable loss. In the event of a collision with Israel, outnumbered Iranian army will compensate outdated military equipment, which it is currently armed of. Major efforts to achieve victory over Iran will be included in a remote war, using naval groups of missiles and long-range aviation. Strike on Iran, facilitated by its lack of modern air defense systems, will trigger a flood of refugees (from a few hundred thousand to several million people) in the direction of Azerbaijan and Russia to destabilize the Caspian Sea and Central Asia - Tajikistan in the first place and increase the terrorist threat in Russia's North Caucasus especially in Dagestan.
In the future, nuclear war between Iran and Israel is unlikely, although the possibility of this is not completely ruled out. Israeli experts believe that Tehran is ready to conduct limited nuclear war, not before 2020, and is preparing for the worst scenario. Optimistic forecasts suggest that this war will not happen, because the Iranian leadership in pre-war level, will freeze the Iranian nuclear program in order to receive any bonuses from the world community. These estimates are based on an explicit unwillingness of current U.S. administration on war with Iran, understanding that without a preemptive strike on nuclear facilities in the country as soon as possible; Iran will join the ranks of members of the nuclear club, and West's interest in Iranian oil during the current crisis in the Arab world. Iran's leadership is not only a tough-minded conservative and the physical destructor of Israel but also sincere believer in the need for purification of mankind through the Apocalypse. The combination of the religious factor to weapons of mass destruction is unique, has no parallel in history and in the case of Iran, inspires little cause for optimism. According to Iran's military doctrine for Israel – “the country of one bomb." If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the temptation to strike a blow against Israel, using this "one bomb" can prove to be stronger than pragmatic geopolitical plans, especially since Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have shown the boundaries of the West's military presence in the Middle East.


Post a Comment

Have a say...