The capricious Middle East - SÜLEYMAN SEYFI ÖĞÜN

The capricious Middle East

They initially handed the geography to party-states dominated with distorted ideologies. In the bipolar world, they operated in hustle-and-bustle with governments spoiled by oil revenue and Soviet support for years. They drew a line named “The Green Belt” with a coalition of partisan administrations in the northern part of the region mentioned along with Turkey-Iran and Pakistan.

Firstly, they transformed the Baath regime in Egypt and made it more partisan. The Green Belt was liquidated with the Iranian Revolution. Afterwards, they made Turkey –the country which has subsequently gained prominence - stage a coup against “her own children.” They plunged Lebanon into a bloody civil war. After the legend of Gamal Abdel Nasser, they doomed the geography to a useless war which lasted for years between the Iraqi Baath Party –the bloody administration at the time- and Iran. They struck Libya and made megalomaniac Gaddafi eat humble pie. In the meantime, the Soviets collapsed. The geography did not know what to do. Saddam Hussein, who wanted to act like Nasser’s heir was exiled to Kuwait as his ego was pumped. They subsequently overthrew him. The goal was to save Iraq and include it in the civilized world… The blood bath did not stop; praise be, they have been saving for a quarter of a century.

What is surprising is the tie between all of these interventions and the rise of Iran’s regional influence. We already know that Iran made its presence felt in Lebanon during the Nusayri administration in Syria and through Hezbollah. In that case, we must ask: How can we explain Iran’s capture of a new location at the heart of Basrah in a collapsed post-Saddam Iraq? I think this was not a coincidence. What they are trying to do is pull geography is into a never-ending sectarian war. For this, it is an absolute must for Iran to increase its influence in the region. It was precisely because of this reason that the pro-Iran Shiite Nouri al-Maliki regime shut its eyes to the oppression committed against the Sunni population with vengeful feelings.

The process continues despite opposition from the hawk administration of Israel, by risking to spoil the traditional friendship between Israel and the U.S. Relations between Iran and the U.S. have started to smooth down. Iran’s nuclear program continues despite the fact that it drives the Israeli hawks out of their minds. International politics are very bizarre; deepest cooperation can be established between the most hostile actors. I don’t know how much Iranian foreign affairs is aware of this, but despite the fact that this situation seems like it is relieving Iran and providing significant advantages, it deactivates Iran’s anti-Israel policies in the final analysis. Iran now has new enemies in the region. It is now fighting with all its strength against ISIL, which does not even mention Israel’s name. Congratulations… Maybe the hawk, Israel, seems like it's turning a blind eye or maybe it really does not see it. But I am sure that the deep state in Israel sees this. 

It is very obvious that the first important step in the process is to sharpen the polarization between the Sunnis and Shiites. It would make more sense to evaluate the issue of the Arab Spring in light of this basis. In the first leg of the process they cleared up the fossilized Baath regimes through the exploitation of the Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) Movements. The Sunni-Arab world made its decision in favor of democracy in the spotlight of Ikwan. But this wave was crushed. The chaos of Post-Gaddafi Libya shows this in a dramatic manner. In Tunis, Habib Bourguibaists are in power again. The coup in Egypt crushed the Brotherhood. The wave of the Arab Spring got stuck in Syria and brought the process out into the open. At this stage, I think there is a connection between the “gentle” attitude of the U.S. towards the Syrian regime with a relative strengthening of the Shiite Block in the region.

In the Middle East, the issue of strengthening the Shiites also disturbs Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are at bay. They did not want Brotherhood’s democratic ideologies to jump to their own country. This is why they supported the coup d’etat in Egypt. However, they are just as much disturbed by the increasing presence of Shiites in the region. The reaction of Saudis to the Arab Spring in Bahrain precisely shows this. They were on the horns of a dilemma… In an unexpected manner, they received another heavy blow with the developments in Yemen.

After the fall of Brotherhood’s democracy attempt, they moved past the second and most striking part of the process. The monster called ISIL was brought out of nowhere. It was mounted in the Sunni geography in Iraq. On top of that, they went inside Syria. ISIL is like a sharp-edged knife. It does not differentiate between Sunnis or Shiites. It seems as though there is no job that cannot be done with the multifunctional knife. You can hit the Sunnis if you would like, or the Shiites. However, it is very obvious that ISIL is perceived by the global public to have Sunni Islamic ideologies. On the other hand, the fact that one of the recruitment sources of the terrorist organization is from the West provides an excellent opportunity to keep hostility towards Islam alive throughout the world. 

The common goal of the process that still continues is nothing but to relatively neutralize all sides and set them at odds. It is apparent that we are suffering great losses, but Turkey can only exit this dirty scenario by adding the Kurds into its national unity. And the Kurds have no other chance but to be in this union. The approximation of Irbil to Ankara should also be evaluated under the same rationale. If not, it is inevitable for the Kurds to find themselves simultaneously surrounded by the Shiite and ISIL threat. If, God forbid this happens, it will most probably be possible to carry out the project of “Egyptianizing Turkey,” a project deeply desired by the irresponsible political actors in Turkey who went to visit Assad and praised him. Just watch out…

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