Tag Archives: balance of power

The New Balance of Power in the Middle East – Analysis (2)

Iran, Iraq, Lebanon & “Kurdistan”

As Bernard-Henri Levy said (who i don’t like personally for a very obvious reason)“The Kurdish nation is persecuted for ages and condemned to death by ISIS jihadis, but this people have survived and their executioners are dead. This is one of the strongest elements of legitimacy of a nation”

“An independent Kurdistan it will be a little state in size but big in value,” Levy concluded. “There are many examples in the world. Many small states in size but big in value, fight and commitment,”“And the Kurds fighting against ISIS is a sign that the moment will come and very soon I hope.”

Nonetheless, one of the fundamental questions regarding the creation of an independent state called Kurdistan is under what conditions stability will prevail in the Middle East after the creation of such a state. An independent Kurdistan, strengthened by resolute US support, probably will disrupt any territorial ambitions from Iran as Kurds . In the Kurdish population both sects Shia Sunni are represented, but the majority is the Sunni group. If we consider alevism part of shiism, it is usually said around 75% of Kurds are Sunni, 20% Shia and 5% for other religions. Continue reading The New Balance of Power in the Middle East – Analysis (2)


The New Balance of Power in the Middle East – Analysis (1)

(Russia, United States, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar & Saudi Arabia)

In 2012, as part of a phenomena known as the ‘Arab Spring’, anti-government protests escalated into civil war in Syria. The combination of the Arab uprisings that ousted long-time pro-Western autocrats in Tunis, Cairo, and Yemen coupled with the ongoing civil wars raging in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen signal the dawn of a new era in the Middle East likely to be characterized by tremendous uncertainties – uncertainties that will make any balance-of-power calculations tenuous and transient at best.

The Arab Spring regions
Countries Involved in the Arab Spring protests, Source: Wikipedia

The modern order in the Middle East and the emergence of non-state actors in the region can be traced back to the Sykes-Picot Agreement signed by Britain and France 100 years ago to divide the Ottoman Empire. The agreement officially established a vertical ruling order by the West to divide and rule in the Middle East. This not only profoundly transformed the geopolitical landscape in the region, but also started the history of the separation and parallel evolution of regimes and societies in the region.

The balance of power theory in international relations suggests that national security is enhanced when military capability is distributed so that no one state is strong enough to dominate all others. If one state becomes much stronger than others, the theory predicts that it will take advantage of its strength and attack weaker neighbors, thereby providing an incentive for those threatened to unite in a defensive coalition. Some realists maintain that this would be more stable as aggression would appear unattractive and would be averted if there was equilibrium of power between the rival coalitions.

The result has been a shift in the balance of powers in the region with new powers emerging. Unfortunately, this uncertaintly predominates today in  Syria and Iraq  , where we find a battleground of the proxies of different states and non-states. To a lesser extent, focus is also on Yemen and Egypt, but with the same level of concern as ‘Arab Spring’ sentiments of democracy and a high influx of radicalism persist.

Geopolitics changes extremely slowly because geography itself does not change. What changes is the political dimension of this geography. Most of the catastrophic mistakes made by policymakers emanate from their lack of awareness of this difference between the stability of geography and the changing elements of politics.

The future of Syria, which is expressed as a breakpoint of power balance in the Middle East by Russia and Iran and the US, is a direct determinant of in what way regional balances will have shape. Continue reading The New Balance of Power in the Middle East – Analysis (1)