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New middle East: reality and prospects
Material posted: -Publication date: 18-03-2012

What is happening in Syria and around Iran's nuclear program is a logical continuation of the so-called "Arab spring". At the same time, along with the communities, "Syrian" processes have features that distinguish them from what had taken place during the victorious March of the Arab revolution. Also note that conventionally, the second stage can be traced most clearly the motivations of the major geopolitical actors in the middle East. It is known that they are not officially publicized and it is only the struggle for human rights and political freedoms. However, comparative analysis is, perhaps, allows us to draw some conclusions.

1.The results of the first stage

Today we can state that began in 2011. the first stage of "revolutions" ended. Try to generalize some main results of this phase.

  • With a certain degree of political influence and economic development of Libya has actually evolved from a state in the "territory", where there are reserves of energy and grouped according to various criteria and conflicting groups.
  • In considered the leader of the Arab world Egypt is ruled by an illegitimate military "junta" and won the elections legitimate the Islamists: a synthesis, at least in the foreseeable future, virtually deprives this country of prospects.

These realities, regardless of the mechanisms, in terms of content and logic coincide with the established in Iraq after the American invasion situation that this country and its people divided along ethnic and confessional lines, the government system actually works, and sectarian clashes and terrorist attacks have become commonplace: ie Iraq had acquired the status of a "territory" with natural resources, and talks about the prospects for its development is as disputable, as in the case of Libya or Egypt. Today is almost all in the same situation in Syria, and in the implementation of certain scenarios – even Iran. It is obvious that this pattern is the result of consistent policy. This "big American strategy" has different aspects and have different objectives, a comprehensive analysis which represents a separate task. In particular, in the context of the developments around Syria and Iran, one of the main reasons is security regional ally "number 1" U.S. – Israel. Earlier statements about the destruction of this country and people could be heard quite often. The result started in 2003. the transformation of the region, the number of ambitious regimes fell, and such statements, perhaps make only the leaders of Iran.

Note that in the regional processes there is also another clear pattern. The aforementioned "territorial"1 the situation has been formed, as we have noted, through the dedicated efforts of the U.S. and its allies. Until recently, however, these actions are not met serious resistance materialized from other geopolitical actors. At this stage the situation has changed fundamentally, and this is due to several factors.

2. Syria and Iran – "critical infrastructure"

The Syrian crisis has become, so to articulate, "global status". Earlier in the "revolutionary" Arab countries in conflict "government-opposition", only the last received military-political, economic, informational and other support. The assistance typically provided by the USA, European countries, of which its activity has characterized France and relative restraint, Germany. It is extremely important all the support given by the regional countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and even "al-Qaeda" (which, incidentally, is particularly active in Syria).

Not so in the case of Syria, where authorities directly promotes regional ally Iran. Taking into account the fact that one of the main motives of the "Syrian revolution" is the reduction of Iran's influence in the region, it is necessary to consider also formed between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan solidarity. It is also noteworthy that Syria is receiving assistance from its immediate neighbours – Iraq (in form of militants of a Shia of this country moktada al-Sadr) and the Lebanese Hizbullah (of controlled areas).

But most importantly, perhaps, is that in support of the Syrian authorities in varying degrees, has also involved major geopolitical "actors", Russia and China. The famous "veto" of these countries in the UN, of course, not eliminated the possibility of external intervention in what is happening in Syria processes. It is known that the UN decision has significantly depreciated and lost its importance: it is enough to remember 2003-the year when the US, ignoring the UN Charter and even the opinion of its allies in NATO, occupied Iraq. At the same time still fresh precedent of Libya, when the UN resolution which gave rise to various interpretations, has actually legitimized the NATO intervention. The Russian-Chinese veto deprived of international legitimacy, the implementation of a similar scenario in Syria.

It is noteworthy that over the loud discussions of the UN was followed by the visits to Damascus, foreign Minister and Director of service of external investigation of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and Mikhail Fradkov, and later also the Deputy foreign Minister of the PRC Zhang Tsuna. According to media reports, Russia intends to sell armed mostly with Russian weapons, Syria's missile and aviation equipment in the amount of $4-5 billion And the presence of M. Fradkov in the delegation proves the activation of cooperation between the two countries in the field of security services. It is known that this type of service "presents" in Syria quite extensively and you can find information about the capture of the citizens of the different countries of the conflicting forces. Note also that Syrian events are also inherent to the confessional, not only2, but the religious factor that determines the activity of the Christian spiritual structures at least in the world information space.

Thus, in the events around Syria and Iran's actions directly involved dozens of countries. The current conflict possesses all of the elements of the Cold war: the countries widely use all possible means of diplomatic and military information and psychological, economic and terrorist impact. In particular, the United States effectively apply methods proven in "cold" conflict with the Soviet Union, economic and psychological impact. The current situation is multifaceted due to the following circumstances:

  • The emergence of a multipolar world order has entered a stage of development. Despite the fact that today the USA with its military power greatly superior to other geopolitical actors, the political and economic capabilities of a superpower are significantly limited. This reality is adequately recognized by the United States, and structure, developing the strategy of this power and its planning policies seek to use this already "temporary" advantage to strengthen their positions, given the greater competition in the conditions of multipolarity.
  • These facts are comprehensible also by the opponents of the USA, and they have already started to show signs of "disobedience". Such "disobedience" is due not only to General philosophy of the multipolar world order, but also by specific calculations. The American project of turning the so-called "New Middle East" (including Afghanistan) in the "turbulize the territory" implies not only depriving Russia and China of military-political and economic leverages in one of crucial regions but also threatened to "infect" those powers3. I.e. the project has a specific focus, and its final implementation in the most materialized form is hampered by the "tandem" of Iran-Syria, which is a kind of "critical infrastructure" in the context of geopolitical conflict.
  • Vulnerable part of the aforementioned "tandem" is Syria: if the US and its allies would be able to break the opposition of the main regional ally of Iran, it significantly changes the balance of power in the region at the expense of Iran and other geopolitical actors.

3. Possible development

The conflict between government forces and "Syria free army" (about 20 thousand fighters) continues for more than a year, and still quite well-armed 300-strong army of Assad succeeds in varying degrees to control the situation. In terms of externally provided resources (including human) also seems to have formed a certain balance. However, if the prevailing chaos creates an enabling environment for the militants, this situation prevents public bodies to carry out their inherent functions. So time in a sense works for the armed groups. This forces the power to go in hard power actions, however, at least today, does not lead to the desired result. Unless a compromise was found, even in the case of the preservation of the Assad regime, all this may lead to "erosion" of the Syrian state and again to transform the country into a "territory" and a kind of "black hole" that absorbs resources from its allies.

Completely different realities in the case of Iran: adopted against it economic sanctions and psychological actions is the nuclear program of this country. It is known that Israel is extremely sensitive to this problem. Of course, having a sufficient number of its own nuclear weapons and means for their delivery, this country can inflict severe retaliatory (or even preventive) strike a potential enemy. At the same time, even a few nuclear strikes inflicted by the country, covering small areas can be fatal to the Jewish state.

Before Israel acted very firmly and decisively with the countries in the region that have nuclear ambitions. Built on 7 June 1981. with the help of France the Iraqi nuclear center al-Tuvat was destroyed by the Israeli air force. Ironically, in this case an important role was played by Iran, which not only gave the Israelites a detailed map of the area, but also ensured the landing of Israeli fighter jets in Tabriz airport. In September, 2007. Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility built with assistance from North Korea. In all likelihood, Israel did the same with Iran, if they had the appropriate resources and the belief that the consequences of such action would be extremely difficult.

Theoretically, the military option of destroying nuclear capability of Iran is only possible with the direct participation of the United States, however, according to experts, it in any case will require extensive and long term actions which are not ready even the United States, taking into account the Afghan factor, the withdrawal of armed forces from Iraq and, finally, the pre-election period. Under these circumstances, the strategy of "siege" of Iran according to the recipes of the Cold war not only the best but perhaps the only. At the same time, this economic information and "siege" in a "multipolar" reality is not always effective. Iran, despite major economic losses, is a flexible policy and very quickly found alternative options for energy exports. Along with this, despite the "dissenters" of the existence of the society, especially the youth, today the majority of the population of Iran perceives the us-Israeli hostility factor. Thus, unlike Pro-Western attitudes in Soviet society during the Cold war that contributed to the collapse of this power, the situation in Iran is different. In other words, it is possible to believe that this country can have a long resistance in this another Cold war.

1 the Author avoids the use of the term "chaotic", since it requires a fairly extensive review.

2 Religious conflicts between the Shiites and Sunnis are one of the key regional processes.

3 In this connection it should be emphasized that the relations Russia-China-Iran is still not developed into a broad military-political cooperation, and in General, the prospect of such cooperation today is very vague. In this respect much more advantageous position of the USA, Israel, their European and regional partners, which for decades has formed the rich experience of strategic partnership and a shared political culture.


Tags: Iran , Syria

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