Mideast Imbroglio: An Outcome of Saudi-Iranian rivalry

The dominant fear among the Saudi-led Gulf States is that the Arab freedom wave may reach their shores

Mideast Imbroglio: An Outcome of Saudi-Iranian rivalry

Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami

The post-Arab revolution Middle East is apparently divided into three major blocs competing for regional leadership role. The Saudi-led bloc of ossified dictatorships, Iran-led bloc of sectarian leaders, and the Turkey-led revolutionary pro-people bloc are at odds over how to respond to the geopolitical changes taking place in the region.

The oil power Saudi Arabia and the curiously ambitious United Arab Emirates along with post-coup Egyptian warlords are determined to reverse the revolutionary changes in the Middle East. They are pursuing their belligerence on the back of oil dollars, unthinkingly hoping that their treasures are inexhaustible.

They have secured a tactical win in Egypt by installing their military strongman Sisi on the seat of power. Instigated by their foreign colonial masters, they are confident that they will hand over Libya, Tunisia and Yemen to the modern Lawrences of Arabia. In return for their geopolitical favors, they receive not only weapons but also a false sense of prestige. Despite their repressive measures, the Saudis and their regional partners have not been able to curb the surging revolutionary wave. This obviously makes them angrier and more paranoid, leading to more irrational policies.

Iran, which received Iraq as a political gift after the 2003 US invasion, is in alliance with Syria’s Al Assad tyrant family, the Houthi militants in Yemen, and its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Iranian regime is doing its best to maintain the status quo in its favor until it reaches a comprehensive deal with Uncle Sam in Washington. The Iranian tactics have been disastrous in Iraq and Syria. In both the countries, Iran-backed regimes have lost huge swathes of land to their opponents, but the Iranian egos are content with the bloodshed their policies have produced.

Those who control Baghdad and Damascus are warlords trying to keep their advancing rivals at bay. Barely controlling the capital cities and some territories here and there, they heavily depend on their Iranian allies (and their allies from outside the region) to manage whatever remains in their control.
The two regional stalwarts wearing their cloaks and turbans -- the so-called custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the self-appointed occultist deputy of the twelfth Imam Mahdi -- are helping their clients in Cairo and Damascus to carry out massacres of innocent people.

Turkey along with wavering Qatar and unsure Tunisia would like to see the overdue democratic changes in the region. The best thing about this bloc is that these countries enjoy the goodwill of average citizens in the region and beyond. However, the modern Lawrences of Arabia and their bleating clients are obviously not ready to accept popular demands which undermine their lifestyles of unchecked wickedness.

The Saudi-led bloc has the open backing of the Pentagon-managed religio-military US Empire, its colonies in the European Union (ah, clients of clients) and the thuggish setup in Israel. These power drunkards have forgotten every rule of decency in trying to rob people of their resources and dignity.
The sectarian superpower Iran has its own agenda and enjoys the backing of Russia. Iran’s negotiations with the West on its nuclear program are designed to serve its regional schemes.  The Saudi and Iran-led blocs seem to have more shared aims and common interests than the third bloc.

After the negotiated ouster of Nouri Al Maliki in Iraq and the emergence of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), the Saudis and the Iranians may start a backdoor negotiation on the future of Bashar Al Assad in Syria and also on Bahrain’s Shia dissent.

We must watch these two countries as they will try to come to an understanding against Turkey despite their hatred towards each other. If their past behavior is any guide, the Iranian and Saudi blocs are capable of doing utterly irrational things to achieve their short-term goals. Their existing policies lack long-term vision and do not inspire trust.

The dominant fear among the Saudi-led Gulf States is that the Arab freedom wave may reach their shores. The lackluster Saudi response to the Houthi takeover of Yemen’s capital, its longstanding rival, seems a swift maneuver (in 20th century tribal fashion) to end the revolution in Yemen. To counter Houthi militants, the Saudis may facilitate the reinstatement of their protege, the ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Zaidi Shiite himself. In both the scenarios, it will be the end of revolution in Yemen.

Although Turkey is a longstanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization member, there is little convergence of views on regional issues between the US-NATO and Turkey. They see the region through different eyes, especially after the July 3, 2013 coup in Egypt, which has the endorsement of the Pentagon Empire.

Problems are emerging between the US-EU and Turkey on many matters: the widespread Western espionage, the Turkish proposed acquisition of missile defense system, the issues of Cyprus and Nagarno Karabakh, Israel’s banditry against Mavi Marmara and Gaza. There are also differences over the manner in which the Syrian conflict is to be resolved.

True to their Orientalist-colonialist-Lawrence mindset, Western powers find the new Turkey a hindrance to their war schemes. Therefore, they have no problem in forging a new alliance with Iran and using their experience in manipulating countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.

In the near future, we are likely to witness some great games on the regional chess board. It shows the bankruptcy of their minds that these countries are willing to go to any extent to sow the seeds of conflicts and chaos and brainwash their young soldiers into fighting wars thousands of miles away from their homes.

Thus, it is imperative for people in the region to become more assertive and demand an end to all forms of extremism and warlordism.

Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2014, 11:24
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