About us-Iranian relations, the situation in the middle East and the prospects of exporting Iranian gas to Europe, "Expert Online" said the scientist-expert, Deputy Director of the Yerevan research center of "Noravank" Foundation Sevak Sarukhanyan.
In what today are the us-Iranian talks on a stabilization?
In the interim. Iran knocked to the prolongation of negotiations on the nuclear program, and received a window of opportunity. However, it is unclear how he will this window be used - in the country there are two approaches to this dialogue. Proponents of the first believe, the dialogue is good in itself, because it delays the adoption by Americans of any adverse decisions on the nuclear program and Iran's regional policy. The second approach, which is followed by foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani, involve establishing long-term relationships with the Americans. Theoretically, of course, Iran and the USA are doomed to cooperation in the Gulf region, however I am skeptical about the prospects for the practical implementation of the President's plan, especially after the situation in Iraq came under Iranian control. Most likely in the next six months Iraq will determine the whole character of U.S.-Iranian dialogue.
And what does the situation in Iraq to a us-Iranian dialogue?
Before the advent of Rouhani to power, Iraq and Afghanistan were the main reasons for activization of U.S.-Iranian cooperation. American and Iranian military have cooperated in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and it is agreed between the relevant services of the United States and the Islamic Republic has allowed to create in this country, the precarious status quo, to put in power acceptable to both parties, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Meanwhile, during the years of his reign, al-Maliki stopped to strike a balance between the interests of Washington and Tehran in favour of the latter, and the status quo was broken. The Iranians, by the way, it eventually also suffered because the current in the logic of conflict with the United States for so many years Tehran supported Maliki, gave him the necessary resources and front for the liberation of the Iraqi political space from the Sunnis. In fact, there turned out to be Saddam Hussein's Iraq on the contrary, only slightly less Central. The country was ruled by the Shiites that are in formal Union with the part of the Kurds among the supporters of Jalal Talabani, and the rest of the population was among the outsiders. And this is, in fact, provoked the present conflict - if Maliki spent more than a sane policy, the Sunni areas of the country would never go for the radical Islamists from the terrorist group "Islamic state" for the basic exemption from the authority of Baghdad, and the former officers of the secular army of Saddam did not fight in squads of IG.
Now it is unclear who and how will solve the problem. Would it be unilateral action by the US, or (as I would like the Iranians) will be concluded in an unspoken agreement between Washington and Tehran, that none of them were jumping on each other's toes. If the US will try to go to the first scenario, Iraq can be a very big challenge to the settlement of us-Iranian relations.
And now what Iran is doing to fight ISIS in Iraq?
Not so much. At expert and public level, the Iranians have long tried to determine the most appropriate methods of solution. Option was direct military invasion, but from that unintelligent and radical approach decided, thankfully, to be abandoned and eventually chose to support composed mainly of Shiite Iraqi army. Not wanting to put all your eggs in one basket the Iranians in parallel to working to strengthen the Shiite militias of Iraq ("Army Mahdi" or Autonomous urban self-defense forces), which are becoming more and more similar to Iranian people's self-defense forces of Basij. If the Iraqi army fails, these forces, according to the plan, Tehran will be able to protect Shiite areas and Iranian interests. Although I doubt the effectiveness of such "plan B" - the militia is unlikely without direct support of the Iranian armed forces to confront the militias, tempered by several years of participation in the events of the "Arab spring". And with this support too.
You doubt that the Iranian army was superior to the potential of a terrorist group?
ISIS is not a terrorist group but a terrorist army. With all the hierarchy of controls, and broad support among the Iraqi Sunni population, and lack of any problems with continuous replenishment of personnel (throughout the Arab world she has a huge amount of followers). She passed training in the framework of urban warfare, and fight with it without destruction of Mosul and other cities impossible. And the destruction of cities official armed forces of Iraq, not to mention potential Iranian expeditionary corps, for obvious reasons, cannot go. To use to fight with her own IAF is also problematic, which is perfectly demonstrated experience in the use of units of "Hezbollah" in Syria. Yes, Hezbollah has helped the Syrian regime to be strengthened in a number of territories, but in 2-3 days this help group lost more soldiers than during the last war with Israel. It was created to conduct guerrilla and defensive urban warfare, and are not used to bear such losses.
So an effective model of war with the threat from Iran is not, therefore, Iranian interest and coincides with the current American actions. If the United States will be limited to bombing the main bases and technical facilities of the Islamists and deprive them of armored vehicles and infrastructure, as well as eliminate them, the economy, IG will no longer pose such a serious threat. But still the question will arise - who will restore order on this site? Will there Iraqi army, will she be able to withstand even the remnants of the Islamists? Because as soon as the air strikes stop, then IG may again gain strength. Here, however, Iran has more opportunities - it will continue to support Baghdad in building a capable Iraqi army, which must cope with a weakened IG.
If the Iraqis and then fails, it will somalization Iraq, with very negative consequences for Iran. The main ideology of the terrorist group ISIS is extremely aggressive anticism. If they take control of all of Iraq, we will start the shooting of Iranian border guards, will be to cross the border, to support Sunni radicals in Iran (which, by the way, a lot - especially in Balochistan, where during the reign of Ahmadinejad's growing anti-Iranian sentiment). As a result, Iran will enter a period of long term instability. What interested, by the way, the number of elites (or elite parts of) the Persian Gulf countries who seek to eliminate the current Iran seeking regional hegemony.
But ISIS declared itself a Caliphate, and the Caliphate idea is actually contrary to the very concept of national Arab States. Isn't that is a threat to all elites of the Arab countries? Isn't beneficial they be blocked with the Iranians on the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my at least partner"?
As for Saudi Arabia, it is believed that Riyadh has been actively helping the Islamists to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. However, the country has a huge problem - there is no single "Saudi policy" or collective Riyadh. If in the Kingdom dominated by authoritarianism, in the Royal family (where 7-8 thousand princes) no one can dictate and single line of conduct. Among them are liberal and educated people, and frankly dense radicals. And if the first IG to be a threat, and Iran is a potential partner (their representatives held with the Iranians, the negotiations in new York and expressed readiness to normalize relations), Saudi radicals, the terrorists - an instrument against the hated Shiites and to strengthen its position in inter-dynastic dispute. The generation of sons of king Abdul-Aziz slowly passing away, and have to choose a new monarch from among one thousand grandchildren. And the chances of election will rise, behind which will be a large terrorist army.
As for Qatar, that actively supports terrorists - the environment of the Emir ideologically close to terrorists from the Islamic state wants to use them for the growing influence of Qatar in middle East Affairs. The elite of the Emirate do not fear the consequences of what IG can spiral out of their control - under any scenario the terrorists to the territory of Qatar will not reach (from the sea the Emirate covers Shiite part of Iraq, from the land of Saudi Arabia, and located in the territory of the Emirate's largest American air base in the region). Other Gulf monarchies are not so strong and influential in order to change the situation.
How realistic is the prospect of us-Iranian cooperation on Syria?
They have, since the US still do not aim at the Syrian regime and are not going to bomb positions of the Syrian army. Yes, the US will arm Syrian free army, but the latter clearly does not have enough forces to enter Damascus. The US (like Iran) are interested in that is would be buried in Syria and not gone beyond that state. For example, did not go in the direction of Lebanon, (where a gang has a lot of the country among Sunni radical organizations), as well as Jordan, where terrorists can use the radicalized Palestinian refugees, some of whom have not managed to integrate into Jordanian society. IG, let me remind you, is the only major radical organization that does not recognize the legitimacy of the Jordanian Hashemite dynasty, direct descendants of the prophet Muhammad. Here, by the way, there is a common interest of Iran and Israel - the collapse of Jordan would become tel Aviv a disaster.
The Iranians said the other day about the readiness to supply gas for Nabucco project. In Moscow, it caused a very nervous reaction. Why was this done and how real Iran's involvement in supplying gas to Europe?
This statement was part of the great game around the Iranian nuclear problem. The Iranians understand that the cooling of relations between Russia and the EU creates opportunities to position Iran as an alternative to Gazprom and to make Europe more interested in closing the Iranian nuclear file and the lifting of sanctions. With regard to real export prospects, you need to realize that the Iranian gas will sooner or later go to Europe, even if the supply of "blue fuel" from Russia will not decrease. Interested in this and Islamic Republic of (oil which falls, and lost income you want to offset the expense of gas exports) and Europe (the gas consumption in the EU is growing, and he needs to diversify its sources of gas imports). However, technically the Iranian gas will be in Europe tomorrow and not even the day after tomorrow. The construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline will require at least five years, however, in addition to Nabucco and we need to build a modern transportation system in Iran, which will be able to conduct gas from the field "South Pars" through the entire territory of the country to the Turkish border. But who is going to create, if under Iranian law, foreign companies cannot own pipelines? What money it will be built? Besides Iran to establish serious export we need to solve the problem of low energy efficiency of its economy. All these issues require complex solutions, therefore the Iranian gas in Europe will, most likely, 10 years from now.
Talked Gevorg Mirzayan
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