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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #256 (Dec) - Middle East: The race for supremacy (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 7 Jan 2016 13:41:45 +0200

The Middle East has become a playground where the various imperialisms clash. Little review of the forces involved and their respective interests. ---- In 2011, popular uprisings in the Arab world have undermined the geopolitical order in place since the end of the Cold War, but failed to overthrow him. For a time the oil monarchies of the Gulf were panicked at the idea of being affected too. The Western powers were afraid of seeing their influence challenged by independent democratic regimes. In turn, Iran and Russia found themselves in a situation of losing their allies in the region and to be marginalized. These multiple conflicting interests to imperialism managed to divert the revolutionary impulse, to do branching out into power struggles in which people stand to lose.

After a flutter, Westerners, the oil monarchies and Turkey intervened to turn the situation in their favor, but the record is abysmal, the region is destabilized, the chaos spreads plunged tens of millions of people in poverty and benefits primarily the Islamists. Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen are now the illustrations. In Syria, Westerners are struggling for four years to topple Assad unsuccessfully because the regime resists better than expected thanks to Iran and Russia. Dispossessed of its revolution, the Syrian people is a prisoner of rivalry between regional and international imperialism. The country is destroyed, approximately 250,000 people died, millions more are displaced or refugees abroad. The number of actors, their specific objectives make it particularly complex Syrian conflict.

Syria is the main battlefield between Iran and Saudi imperialism for domination of the Middle East, a rivalry aggravated by religious antagonisms, Shiites against Sunnis and Arabs against Persians. The Damascus regime is vital for Iranian ambitions, it gives Tehran access to the Mediterranean and a safe corridor for support for the Lebanese Hezbollah. His two Arab allies for Iran are a deterrent against Israel. If Assad falls, Hezbollah vulnerable to Israeli attack and Iran loses his two best geopolitical assets. That is why Saudi Arabia is bent against Syria, especially that following the invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi Shiite parties took power in Baghdad, offering Iran a continuity to the sea. Saudi Arabia lives in the obsession with "Shia arc" that is on the register of the holy war that mobilizes thousands of Sunnis who go to fight in Syria, while its petrodollars fund the most radical Islamist tendencies of the Syrian opposition, in particular the army of conquest, one of the most powerful armies coalitions, composed primarily of al-Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) and Ahrar al Sham.

Instrumentalize political Islam

Qatar and Turkey are also major players in the anti-Assad camp. Qatar full of petrodollars that invests with the objective to get a place at the table of decision makers. In addition, it has plans to export its gas to the European market by building a gas pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, the rival project of Iranians who want to reach the same market via Iraq and Syria. Turkey wants to assert itself as a regional power in Saudi Arabia and Iran, Erdogan dream of a new Ottoman Empire. The Syrian revolt was an opportunity to make its imperialist ambitions; it is one of the main supporters of the armed opposition. It is Turkey that transit fighters, weapons and ammunition of all anti-Assad trends including Daech. Turkey is particularly engaged at the event for the Syrian Kurds have gained greater autonomy and international sympathy.

Former colonial power, France is one of the most relentless in wanting the loss of Assad. Behind the democratic rhetoric of our leaders are hiding less reputable interests. By taking a hard line on Syria, Paris seeks above all to seduce the oil monarchies in order to sell more arms but also with the hope that they invest their petrodollars in the French economy.

Syria is one of the main places of confrontation between a weakened US imperialism and Russian imperialism in full revival. Two visions of the international order it confront a unipolar world dominated by the USA against a multipolar world governed by a select club of great powers equal. By intervening militarily on the side of Assad, the Kremlin is challenging US hegemonic pretensions in the Middle East, in order to finally be treated on an equal foot by Washington. Two speeches are opposed to Assad Obama is the source of all problems, as long as he remains in power and the war will continue Daech improve, Putin to the contrary, it is the solution, only the system has the capacity to defeat terrorism.

Washington does not want to destroy Daech, it merely contain it as it is useful. The United States has not abandoned the tactic of exploiting political Islam, the Afghanistan experience has not served as a lesson to them. Having been forced to leave Iraq without keeping bases, they use Daech to negotiate with the Shiite government a permanent military presence. But in doing so they run the risk that Baghdad rocking in the camp of Iran and Russia. Especially, Daech is the most dangerous enemy of the Syrian regime they want to overthrow the idea is that their two enemies are exhausted by fighting and the pro-Western Syrian armed groups collect the bet. But they do not weigh heavy militarily and unable to defeat anyone, even with the air support of the Western coalition air, know exactly what their sponsors. The Kurds of YPG / YPJ are the only credible force that can count the US, but this creates strong tensions with their Turkish allies that anything is preferable to a self Rojava.

American imperialism, Russian imperialism

This is the impasse of this strategy, which has created favorable conditions for Russian intervention. Moscow has set up its own coalition of the regular army and the many Syrian militias linked to it, the Lebanese Hezbollah Shiite Iraqi and Afghan Islamist militias, and an Iranian military contingent. The immediate goal is to restore the military status of the plan to make it a strong position in the negotiations for a political solution to the conflict. In the medium term, if Putin succeeds his bet, US imperialism will be marginalized while Russian imperialism will have their room for maneuver considerably increased. The plight of the peoples of the Middle East is not over, the future is bleak but hope is not dead. The copy of the Kurdish struggle Rojava opens the prospect of a cleared area of the various imperialisms who bleed. Of course, the path will be long and difficult but with the help of progressive forces around the world oppression can be overcome.

Hervé (AL Marseille)

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