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Greater middle East: the collapse of the Arab world, the split of the Shia and the revenge of the Turkey
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 16-09-2018
About the war in the middle East, about the situation in Idlib, about the internal opposition in Iraq and its possible bad consequences for Iran, said in his interview "Yenicag.Ru — a New Era of" political scientist, doctor of historical Sciences, Deputy Director of the Center for strategic estimates and forecasts (Russia, Moscow) Igor Pankratenko.

September remained in the memory of the Tehran Summit of the three presidents discussed the situation around the Syrian province of Idlib, and, in fact, plainly failed to agree, because Erdogan was unhappy and opposed the operation of Assad in the area. As events unfold around Idlib?

Well, development has already occurred — first, Russia 11 September, the UN security Council along with the rest voted for the resolution on the inadmissibility of military operations in Idlib. And today we know that its position, which was to begin a massive offensive by government forces, leaving the divisions of the Fifth corps (Russian proxy). Moreover, part of the army of Assad and the Pro-Iranian formation began to retreat a day earlier.

I mean, this whole big story around Idlib expected ended in nothing. Faced with the very tough position of Ankara, Washington, Paris, Berlin, London and a number of external players, Moscow abandoned its plans. To the extent that the concentration of warships in the Mediterranean, which were tightened under the operation in Idlib, explained to "exercises".

A large-scale operation in Idlib, Russia was planning to break out of the strategic impasse in which it appeared, but failed, and now she's returned to the situation of the summer of this year, that is for her losing.

Of course, right in Moscow won't tell too disastrous for the country's foreign policy was September (not only the Head but also the failure of the Moscow conference on Afghanistan, and very mixed results of the Eastern economic forum). Therefore, the Russian side still continues to show determination in respect of Idlib, has appointed a new meeting of the heads of States of the axis of Ankara-Moscow-Tehran — but, overall, I think that the opponents are not going to allow Russia to seize the strategic initiative in Syria. As interested in the fact that she was merely "one" of the participants in the process, but certainly not a leader in determining its direction.

— The United States, which practically started the "Arab spring", for 7 years, played the odd game in Syria, and worked with the radicals, began to cooperate with the Kurds, which led to the fact that the Turks he turned against them and began to cooperate with the Russians and the Iranians... This was a cunning plan?

— You know, in my opinion, the Americans had three blunders in the middle East that Trump now has to disentangle.

First, the invasion of Iraq, when the United States with the grace of a bull in a China shop destroyed the entire system of checks and balances that prevailed in the region at this time. Famously destroying the "best the enemy of America" Saddam, the US simply had no idea what kind of Genie they let out of the bottle.

Second, support the "Arab spring". Armchair theorists in Washington and of the inner circle of the Obama-Clinton slightly shell-shocked by the ideas of "democracy promotion", it simply broke apart the little that held back the region from chaos. Emerged a power vacuum which was immediately used by not only the representatives of the Islamic parties but the radicals of all stripes. Which managed to "straddle" social processes in some countries of the Middle East and put them in Iraq or Syria in the civil war, and in several other countries — to approach her.

And, thirdly, what we are seeing now — the conflict between the US and Turkey, which sometimes acquires the character of a personal confrontation between trump and Erdogan. Actually, this "mine" inherited the current American President received from his predecessor, Nobel laureate Obama. And, in my opinion, at first, wanted to defuse it. But to do this he was not allowed. Part of the American "deep state", the deep state, the anti-Turkish lobby and even — at some stage — in-law trump artfully dabble of butter to the fire, stoking the conflict.

The consequences of these errors, this "legacy encumbrances" effect will be a very long time. They've already poisoned the first half of the term of the trump, and the big question — can he and his administration are a little bit to weaken their toxicity in the coming years.

So it is with making strategic decisions on Syria in Washington — it happens only now and partly intuitive way, partly linked to other issues — the elimination of Syria of Iran, the use of this conflict to the maximum weakening of Russia and so on. But, this requires time, although the groundwork is already there.

Washington was tied to the Mediterranean basin a huge fleet, even a nuclear submarine, which provoked Russia. Moscow, in turn, threw a powerful Armada of 20 ships in the Mediterranean sea. What States are clearly behind Syria Russia and Assad? That boils in Idlib, which is everything caught?

— Frankly, I don't see there is a special weakness of the USA in comparison with Russia. Moscow, too, tried to play in Syria, "the Kurdish card". But the party ended in favor of the United States. Moreover, the position of the Americans in this conflict quite meet the concept of "reasonable sufficiency". They don't aspire to leadership in the settlement, providing an opportunity for Moscow and Tehran to burn their political potential and carry serious costs. And at the same time, as shown by the events of recent days — have the capability to disrupt here any plans of Russia and Iran, which are contrary to their interests.

Now, the actual situation around Idlib — where was it?

By the summer of 2018, the situation in Syria has reached albeit quite volatile, but still some balance. Unspoken agreements are the main external system players — Iran, Russia, Turkey and the United States — the country was divided into three main "zones de-escalation". As for the ISIS, by the summer of 2018, the leaders of this group decided to abandon retaining any specific territories and switched to the tactic of creating underground cells and pinpoint attacks on settlements and military installations.
Thus the current balance of power generally meant termination of the active phase of the civil war, besides the government in Damascus and the armed opposition groups in different orientations approached the exhaustion of its military potential. That is, opponents of Assad in the country to date are not able to defeat him in armed conflict, but government forces are unable to destroy the military forces of the opposition. But the fact is that if this delicate balance is quite satisfied with the Syrian opposition, the United States, their allies, and, partly, Turkey to Moscow, Tehran and Damascus this situation meant a strategic deadlock. Because both Moscow and Tehran, and Damascus were deprived of the possibility to turn the tide in their favor, to achieve final victory and, therefore, ultimately strengthen its position as the main force controlling and shaping the situation in the country — including in project implementation in post-war reconstruction of Syria.

Once the strategic stalemate — when the continued participation in the Syrian conflict will not bring political benefits and become just a flow of military and economic resources — Russia has found it necessary to implement a step which would fundamentally turned the tide in her favor. That is — to conduct a large-scale operation to establish control of the Syrian government forces over the province of Idlib.

In the end, according to calculations of Moscow, was to strengthen the position of Bashar al-Assad inside Syria, at the same time weaken the position of Turkey, to provide the status of the main sponsor of the peace settlement in Syria, the position of which will have to be considered, all other external system players, including the United States and its NATO allies. In short, a lot of what Russia hoped to win, including a nice bonus — to ensure the safety of their base in Hamima.

Naturally, with such a plan neither Turkey nor the US and its allies could not agree. Because excessive strengthening of Russia in Syria — and especially the extension of Moscow boundaries of its influence in this country is absolutely does not suit them. That is why they did everything possible — even threats of a strike on Assad and demonstrative deployment of the fleet and air defense systems — to force Russia to abandon the operation in Idlib. That they, in General, was quite successful, and today the situation is re-rolled by the summer of 2018, that is — to fragile equilibrium and reduce the intensity of armed conflict.

— US just give Russia and Syria will leave Assad in power? Differences between Turkey and Russia in elibscn the question can re-zoom positions between Washington and Ankara, and a change in the equilibrium can affect the situation in the region as a whole? Imagine the Russia — Iran against a coalition of U.S. — Turkey...

— Let's be honest — USA is absolutely not against the Russian presence in Syria. In the American plans, the role of Moscow is quite clearly spelled out. Want to keep Assad to have military bases there, to demonstrate their influence in the region, to expend his political resources? No problem, the cost of your — you know better.

But there are a number of conditions that you, that is Moscow, are obliged to comply. Take care of all the expenses for the reconstruction of the territory which you control. Fight the "intransigent" groups that do not want to negotiate on the transition under the wing of someone from external players (by the way, the recent attacks in Idlib Russia is caused by the positions of such "irreconcilable"). Help — or at least not interfere in our actions to oust Syria from Iran. Restrain Assad's attempts to expand the boundaries of the zone assigned to it.

Under these conditions, Russia can stay there and then. Attempts to violate these rules will be met with stiff resistance, as has already happened — and the downed plane, and with the defeat of the column, tried to go to the "Kurdish" area, and with a show of force in the situation of Idlib.
It is advantageous if these conditions are to Russia what it gives as a whole? I think the question is rhetorical.

— Iraq cannot remain on the side from these processes. Against this background of turmoil in the Syrian front, suddenly in Basra riots started. The crowd attacked the Iranian Consulate and demanded the withdrawal of Iranians from Iraq. Pro-Iranian groups have declared readiness to protect the interests of Iran in Iraq? Re-start the bloody civil war in this country? I personally think that this idea of Americans. If it is really so, how do you think that behind the CIA plan? Could the United States let the option to divert Iran from Syria? Actually, what is happening in Iraq?

In my opinion, the "elite" which now rules the roost in Baghdad — no CIA not necessary, they will happily ruin the country, lowering it to the level of "failed state", failed States. Similarly, as is done, for example, their "brothers in mind" in Kabul.

I could tell the details and nuances of the current situation in this country, but because it would take too much time — will try to be brief. Iraq today is a tangle of exposed nerves. What may touch on the pain, inadequate response, violence. And all this is multiplied by the bloody scores since the last civil war which, by and large, is far from complete.
The problem is that in Iraq, and those foreign players who are there in their party, there is no recipe of what to do, how to stabilize the situation. And therefore Baghdad will present neighbours and their external partners have a lot of surprises.

— What is the role of Arab monarchies in the dismantling of the Middle East at the moment? On the geopolitical scene, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the United States and some European powers, and in the framework of NATO. And what is the role of the Arab monarchs and their billions in these processes?

One of the main. But, due to a number of reasons, their active participation in all that is happening in the region is not too often the subject of discussion or a topic for the front pages of mass media. Here, of course, plays its role in Yemen, a war in which more spectacular, the conflict, the Saudis and the UAE with a "small but very proud" of Qatar. And internal processes in the same Saudi Arabia attract more attention of the audience — one affair with the waiver of listing Saudi Aramco is worth.

But all this does not prevent the Gulf monarchies actively participate in all that is happening in the region and beyond. Suffice it to say that they now pay almost half of all spending in the United States and its allies in Syria, hand in hand working with the Americans and Israelis on the Palestinian issue, are present in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Tajikistan. And all this for the sole and sacred in their understanding of the purpose — to crush Iran. Oh, and incidentally to redraw part of the Middle East.

Interviewed By: Caucasus Lobster


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