The most recent thing that happened in Middle east !
- The war in Yemen and the breakthrough nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States have sent the already frenzied Middle East analysis machine into meltdown mode.
- These developments come fast on the heels of almost too many changes to keep track of: the Iraqi government’s capture of the city of Tikrit, rebel gains in northern and southern Syria, and mass-casualty terrorist attacks in Tunis and Sanaa.
Regional Dominance -- Shia <=> Sunni squabble ?
This drumbeat of headlines, however, should not distract us from the larger meaning of events in the Middle East.
We are witnessing a struggle for regional dominance between two loose and shifting coalitions —
- one roughly grouped around Saudi Arabia and
- one around Iran.
Despite the sectarian hue of the coalitions, Sunni-Shiite enmity is not the best explanation for today’s regional war.
This is a naked struggle for power:
Neither of these coalitions has fixed membership or a monolithic ideology, and neither has any commitment whatsoever to the bedrock issues that would promote good governance in the region.
Then, what is it ?
- This is, in some ways, an updated version of the vast and bloody struggle for hegemony that shook the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s.
- In that era, a coalition of reactionary monarchs, led by Saudi Arabia, did battle with a coalition of Arab nationalist military dictators, led by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.
- Just like in that past era, every single major player today is opposed to genuine reform and popular sovereignty.
- Today’s ascendant regimes are all reactionary survivors — and sworn enemies — of the Arab Spring.
Iran ka scene kya hai ?
- The Iranians mercilessly crushed the Green Revolution in 2009, and have invested heavily in authoritarian partners in Iraq and Syria, paramilitary group such as Hezbollah, and non-democratic movements in Bahrain and Yemen.
- Iran’s leaders are theocrats, but they are savvy and pragmatic geopolitical worker bees: They have backed Sunni Islamists and Christians, while even some of their close Shiite partners — like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite, and the Zaidi Houthis in Yemen — belong to heterodox sects and don’t share their views on religious rule.
Aur yeah Arabzaade ?
- On the other side of the struggle are the Arab monarchs from the Gulf, run by the same families that brought us the Yemeni war of the 1960s.
- They have extended their writ through generous payoffs and occasional violence, like the Saudi-led invasion of Bahrain in 2011, which saved the minority Sunni royal family from being overrun by the island kingdom’s disenfranchised Shiite majority.
- This is the crux of the regional fight underway: the old order, or a new one that would transform the balance of power — while changing little else about the way the Middle East is governed.
- The Saudi bloc wants to turn back the clock to the status quo ante that existed before the uprisings.
- The Iranian bloc wants to permanently alter the region’s balance of power.
- Both factions are run by opaque, secretive, repressive, and violent leaders.
- Neither side is interested in popular accountability, better governance, or the rights of citizens.
Qatar bhi Saudi k team me !!
- Qatar, the unbelievably rich emirate that has long cultivated an independent foreign policy, also found itself strong-armed by Saudi Arabia and finally caved. Its emir abdicated in favor of his son, a 34-year-old political novice, and today Doha is reading from Saudi Arabia’s song sheet.
So is their that SUNNI element ..or is it just about POWER ?
- Sunnis across the region have expressed a kind of fatalistic relief: At last someone is doing something to confront Iranian influence.
- But Tehran has extended its influence carefully, hedging its bets by supporting multiple groups in every conflict zone and always maintaining a degree of remove — if their investments fail, it will have not lost a war in which it was a declared combatant.
- This blueprint has served Iran well during 30-plus years of intervention in Lebanon and Iraq, and four years of orchestrating major combat in Syria.
- Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has entered the Yemen war directly, and therefore has no cover. It will own the civilian casualties, and inevitably — when the war has no clear and easy outcome — it will own a failure.
- Regional wars tend not to go well for invaders; just think of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait or the last Yemen war in the 1960s.
- The U.S. invasion of Iraq should also offer a cautionary lesson: Many people at the time, including some Iraqis, felt that some major action was better than the status quo, that toppling Saddam Hussein would at the least get a hairy situation unstuck. They were soon disabused of that notion, as Iraq spiraled into chaos.
- America should take particular care in this conflict.
- It has built deep alliances with Saudi Arabia, and it has been far too hesitant to reinvent its dysfunctional relationship with Egypt in the post-Mubarak era.
- It should act as a brake on Saudi Arabia’s outsized expectations in Yemen, and it should exact a price for any support it gives the war there.
- Any campaign in Yemen should strengthen, rather than undermine, counterterrorism efforts there, and the United States should share its military know-how in exchange for Saudi cooperation on the Iran deal.
- Sure, it’s bizarre to see the U.S. military working with Iran to battle the Islamic State in Iraq, while working against Tehran in Yemen.
- It’s also refreshing. This isn’t a homily; it’s foreign policy.
- It’s encouraging to see the United States operating around the edges of a complex, multiparty conflict and finding ways to advance American interests.
- Its next challenge will be finding new ways to simultaneously pressure rivals like Iran and recalcitrant allies like Saudi Arabia.
- The main event is the regional struggle for influence between the Iran and Saudi blocs.
- One need only look at the two major events this spring — the Iran nuclear deal and the capture of Tikrit with the help of Tehran’s military advisors — to get a sense of who’s winning.
- America’s preferred side has bumbled impulsively from crisis to crisis, buying or strong-arming support and launching military adventures that are likely to produce inconclusive results.
- Iran’s side, meanwhile, has crafted tight state-to-state relations with Syria and its onetime enemy Iraq, and has deepened its influence in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.
- Despite the theocratic dogma of Iran’s Shiite ayatollahs, the regime in Tehran has managed to position itself as the regional champion of pluralism and minorities, against a Saudi grouping whose philosophy has drifted dangerously close to the nihilism of al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
- Unless Saudi Arabia and its allies can learn a new, more durable style of power projection, their costly feints will only buy short-term gains.
- The kingdom might manage to bomb the Houthis back to their corner of Yemen, and its Syrian clients may seize some more towns and cities from Assad, but the long-term trend points in Iran’s favor.
Give it a THOUGHT !!!!