New Eastern Outlook
by Pogos Anastasov
Saudi intervention in Yemen at the height of negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear program in Lozanne once again forced experts and observers into wondering, was the last few decades of chaos in the Middle East the direct result of a complex geopolitical game where certain figures must be sacrificed, while others are used in order to achieve long-term results?
The definite answer often gets lost behind a veil of daily dramatic events such as the ongoing Saudi air raids in Yemen, the liberation of Tikrit that was achieved through the support of Shia militia units or the fall of the Syrian city of Idlib, that was captured by ISIL militants.
There are those that tend to believe that this game is nothing but a conspiracy theory, while others believe the dramatic changes in regional stability were triggered by a spontaneous chain of events caused by the actions of various factions that are pursuing different goals. For those nonbelievers it’s obvious that the players in this Middle Eastern game are unable to find some common ground, linking theirs interests to a single strategic pattern. Therefore, the ongoing events, they say, is a completely random sequence of events provoked by stupidity and a hunger for power.
Those who beg to differ are quickly labeled conspiracy theorists, the people that are all about groundless speculation, incapable of thorough analysis.
However, should the actual facts be examined in retrospect, the situation tends to look different, as the emerging new balance of power that is being built in the Middle East since 2001 becomes clearer today. Paradoxically, this will allow us to understand why the possible resolution amid the Yemeni crisis is connected with Russia and has every chance to succeed. This analysis will also let us understand why this success does not necessarily correspond with Moscow’s best interests, or rather, doesn’t provide it with any particular benefits, while giving other players some major strategic advantages, that is of course unless Russia’s foreign policy is not concerned with long term gains, and is instead committed to rushing forward for purely short-term goals.
Today it’s perfectly clear that 9/11 was a colossal provocation carried out to jump start the new Middle Eastern strategy of the US, aimed at the destruction of the old system of relations between states in the Middle East, inherited from the post-WWI period, with its archaic Sykes-Picot heritage and Cold War technicalities.
Everything that followed falls into a certain pattern aimed at providing globalist structures that are utilizing US military, political and economic power to form an entirely new political map for the Middle East with a brand new distribution of power. To achieve this, a ruthless set of crimes were to be carried out, which ended in millions of lives being taken and a number of Middle Eastern countries being completely destroyed.
The aggression against Iraq in 2003 was but a first step in the destruction of the entire Middle Eastern geopolitical architecture. Then under the guise of a great democratic modernization, a wave of “color revolutions” swept away the backbone of regional stability – in Egypt, Syria, and Libya. This process was due to be completed by 2005, but the vigilant Middle Eastern players cut the funding of NGOs that were used to foment instability, forcing the West into changing its plans. “Unfortunately” an awakening Russia has also made certain “think tanks” to make adjustments to their schemes.
A new set of technologies, including the restless Al-Jazeera along with Twitter and Facebook capabilities to spread unrest, was developed from 2005 to 2010 and, ultimately, put to “good use.” The results or the so-called Arab Spring turned things from bad to worse for regional players. But the ultimate goal of this destruction remains unknown for all those who tend to look at this cunning game as a mere chain of events. Especially since the destruction has not been completed and the Yemeni campaign of Saudi Arabia, supported by the United States, suggests that there is still something left to pillage. However the formal completion of the Iran deal, has not allowed us to tear down the cobwebs of allegedly random events apart by locating the motivation of this twisted logic that keeps spreading chaos. Today it is clear that the United States from the turn of the century was very well aware that in order to survive as an empire it had to deprive its competitors, namely China, of the necessary resources and strategic depth it needed to compete, while increasing its own resource base through new technologies, namely shale gas and oil, along with executing the transition to a new technological order.
It was also imperative to achieve a clear cut tactical retreat from the Middle East, depriving both Russia and China the resources they need. The only possible way of doing so was to break the region apart into small pieces, so a new policeman would manage this chaos for Washington from inside. Therefore, the US appointed Iran the new sheriff at the very beginning of the New Great Game in 2001. Washington destroyed one state after another, while Tehran occupied vacant niches.
This game didn’t always run smoothly, with Iran pushing too hard at times, as in the case of Syria, where it tried to prevent the destruction of the Assad regime, with a great deal of assistance from Russia. Here is where the two needed Moscow who did manage to prevent an open confrontation, but unwittingly facilitated the coordination of partners – Iran and the United States – when in September 2013 it successfully negotiated the withdrawal of chemical weapons from Damascus. Israel played along too.
Now the same function is being carried out by Moscow in other countries, with it taking over negotiations in Yemen, where Washington via Riyadh is “aiming” to expand the zone of Tehran’s future influence.
As seen from Yerevan, Russia must understand that it is being used by two major players for their own interests. This is neither good nor bad: this is simply a reality and a possibility for Russia to extend its own influence. It is important to be aware of this and to obtain maximum strategic benefits along with political and economic dividends. The services of Moscow should not be free for Washington and Tehran .
Pogos Anastasov, Political Expert, Orientalist, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.