World War I may have ended in 1918, but the violence it triggered in the Middle East still hasn’t come to an end. Arbitrary borders drawn by self-interested imperial powers have left a legacy that the region has not been able to overcome.
The vital interests of the “so-called regional players” are far from coinciding on the fronts of conflict in order to seek solutions in the wider Middle East region. The problematic cooperation between the permanent members of the Security Council leaves open the field to action and open any appétit of intervention of these countries ( when their interests are in cause especially Russia and the USA i could add).
For Michael Clare, director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies in Massachusetts,since 1990, US military policy has been governed by one overarching premise that US and international security is primarily threatened by the “rogue states” of the Third World. These states — assumed to include Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Syria — are said to threaten US interests because of their large and relatively modern militaries, their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and their hostile stance toward the United States and its allies. To counter this threat, current American strategy requires the maintenance of sufficient military strength to conduct (and prevail in) two Desert Storm-like operations simultaneously.
Additionally, for much of the past 50 years, the perceived threat from the Soviet Union formed the primary rationale for U.S. policy in the Middle East, as it did for U.S. foreign policy in general. With the demise of the Soviet Union, however, the United States has placed concerns over so-called “rogue states,” primarily located in the Middle East, at the top of its strategic agenda. Having the Middle East as the centerpiece of such a strategy is based both on the great economic and strategic importance of the region itself as well as on the number of regimes that fit the U.S. definition of such international pariahs. U.S. policy makers are also able to take advantage of a widespread American prejudice that results in gross misperceptions of Islam and the Arab world, often given a degree of credence by some prominent American scholars.
By any reasonable assessment, any state which treats international laws and conventions with contempt, flouts them with increasing regularity and maintains a brutal military occupation into the bargain has to fit into the rogue category. Israel is also one such state.
Israel claims to be a democracy, but reserves full citizenship rights for members of one particular ethnic group, the Jews; its 1.7 million Arab citizens have less than full rights and are discriminated against in law, custom and practice. Despite this, it is touted regularly as “the only democracy in the Middle East” by Western politicians and media alike.
In the Balfour Declaration, that was issued in Nov, 1917, the British Government supported the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine in order to obtain Jewish support for British war efforts.
The secret Sykes-Picot treaty agreed by Britain and France during WWI that gave control over Syria and Lebanon to France and Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to Britain, was the basis of the San Remo Treaty in 1920. The Treaty was implemented when the League of Nations (the precursor to the UN) gave Mandates to Britain and France for precisely these territories. Because France refused to give the Arabs independence in Syria, Britain as they had promised the Sherif Hussein of Mecca, decided to establish two Arab States, one for each of his sons. One was Iraq, and the other was carved unilaterally and illegally by Britain out of the Palestine Mandate, namely Transjordan, later Jordan. The only legal basis for the Mandate that Britain had in Palestine was to establish a Jewish State, which they subsequnetly tried to prevent at all costs. In fact the only legal states founded in 1920 by the San Remo conference were Syria, Iraq and the Jewish State, subsequently named Israel.
The boundaries of Sykes-Picot and of the Treaty of Lausanne have been somewhat “logical”, but quite arbitrary. It was not easy, however, for borders to have a national meaning, since internal movements during the Ottoman Empire had mixed its populations likewise during the Soviet Union era later.
Today, without the cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we might not see any possibilities of restoring balance in the wider region of the Middle East. The greater the gap between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom, the more urgent is the need to implement a coherent equal distance policy towards Tehran and Riyadh for the European Union mostly (and the United States… mostly).Europe’s interests must not be a policy of a choice between Tehran and Riyadh.
Only two countries in the broader region — Egypt and Iran — possess such a long and uninterrupted history that their state integrity can hardly be shaken, even by a difficult crisis. Two others continue to stand on the foundation erected by their founders: The Turkish Republic of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, finally united by Abd al-Asis Ibn Saud in 1932.
For the stability in the Middle East, the European Union, the USA, and Russia could work to include Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel – no matter how bold could sound today – in a regional security system according to some optimistic analysts.
As of today, the islamic caliphate created in Syria and Iraq/Lybia was defeated and its fighters dispersed. Some of them have been even used by Turkey against its operation against the Kurds in Afrin. The dream of great Arabia ended, as it was natural (The most famous of those endeavours was the formation of the United Arab Republic, a political union between Egypt and Syria that lasted from 1958 to 1961. )
The far-fledged fundamentalists we have seen in the Near and Middle East will come back to their old methods of terrorism. The representatives of the Arab Spring were defeated and Assad won the war in Syria.
The outcome of this conflict to the winners includes Russia and the real losers is the West probably because they didn’t want to involve theirselves more and made the same mistakes they did in Lybia…(one possible explanation).
Another hope for the establishment of a Kurdish state has eroded.* The Kurds were essentially abandoned by the Americans, and Turkey achieved its purpose to chase them away from its border with Syria. While the war has virtually been won by Russia and Syria, the losers try to draw the winners at the negotiating table, as they try to do with Iran, which is of course difficult to happen. Eventually the winners, Russia, Turkey and Iran recently met on their own initiative.
- Sources/ More Links/Books:
1 Samuel Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72; No. 3 (Summer 1993).
2. Noam Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World (Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books), 1990, p. 1.
The Kurds in Turkey were denied basic citizenship until the late 1990’s, and are locked in a decades-old civil war against the Turkish government. Syria’s Kurds had lived without cultural or linguistic freedoms for decades under the Assads. They were not granted full voting rights until the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011.
Iraq’s Kurds suffered from a genocide conducted by Saddam Hussein in the late 80’s, and while the Kurds in Iran attempted to establish a Kurdish government in 1946, it was quickly and brutally suppressed by the Iranian government.
Source pic, credit@Presstv/
The Middle East Players consult page here