A region in complete chaos
We can recognize a tree according to its fruits: since the US President’s visit to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and its allies have severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and have taken steps to stifle the tiny emirate on the pretext of its support for Takfirist terrorism, whereas all the specialists know that Saudi Arabia supports DAESH and its parents Al Qaeda and its avatars from their very beginning.
The brutal repression of the majority Shia of Bahrain, who are demanding the respect of their basic rights, ordered by the ruling family who is leading the Emirate in a dictatorial way, has been accentuated even less shamelessly than before.
A coordinated double attack took place in Tehran, apparently organized by the secret services of Saudi Arabia, and no doubt its now official ally the Mossad, who together with the Mujahideen Al Kalk have suicide bombers candidates who have already proved themselves in Iran by assassinating nuclear scientists several years ago. Some Iranian Kurds lead in the mountains on the Iraqi border of western Iran an outspoken guerilla and have allied themselves with DAESH terrorists in order to perpetrate attacks such as those on the Iranian Parliament and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini on the 7 June, killing 17 people.
Finally, the destruction of Yemen by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues in the form of crimes against humanity, the civilian population suffers losses by tens of thousands because of strikes or diseases resulting from it. This barbaric aggression was initiated in March 2015 by the Saudi Minister of Defense, 31-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, who has been recently appointed Crown Prince on 21 June by his father, the king, replacing Prince Nayef, a clear indication that the tough trend of the Wahhabi monarchy prevails, this prince having declared last May that he would lead the war on Iran. This did not prevent the US Senate, after controversial discussions, the Senators worrying about the crimes committed in Yemen, to allow finally the arms sales to Arabia.
All of this is following Donald Trump’s thunderous declarations in Riyadh on May 21, calling on the Arabs to fight terrorism now, implicitly recognizing that he knew well where the problem started, but acted “as if” he didn’t. He did not hold the Saudi accountable and accused Iran of being the perpetrator who had to be isolated! Iran, as everyone knows is fighting hard against these organizations, in cooperation with Syria, Iraq, and Russia. Iran has already had 2,000 martyrs killed in Syria during the fighting against the takfirist to defend the legal government of Damascus which is a secular regime, contradicting the false presentation of Saudi Arabia of a war between Sunnis and Shiites. First, Saudi Arabia is not Sunni, it is Wahhabi, a bloodthirsty sect detached from the true meaning of Islam, which perverts theology every day and claims to kill all those who do not think alike, Muslims, Christians or atheists. This very brief anachronistic ideology could only develop thanks to the financial power of the oil monarchies.
It is doubtless that the Iranian strategy in Syria, closely coordinated with that of Russia disrupts that one of the United States, making Iran so detested by America. The United States of America is militarily present in a country without the authorization of its government, directly or with the relay of the Syrian Democratic Forces, composed of Kurds and Arabs, and since 2011 supports the so-called moderate rebels, as takfirist and bloodthirsty as the others, while noting its tactics failing, given the support that Iran and Russia bring to the government of Damascus. The USA precisely intends to overthrow and replace the official governments with Islamists that have been manipulated by the USA’s secret services for decades. The Turks too, who constantly change friends, are militarily present in Syria and Iraq without the government authorization, while the Russians and Iranians are present under military assistance agreements with the legal/formal government. The Turks, even if they have a changing and even unpredictable diplomacy seem to have understood that in order to play a decisive role in the region, it is better to get along with Russia than with the United States and enter Moscow’s diplomatic game. Little by little this game bears fruits in Astana but also in Beijing where the BRICS recently voted unanimously their support to the Russian solution in Syria which progresses in spite of the pitfalls that Washington, noting the failure of its strategy, regularly hampers the pathway to peace. One example in this sense is the destruction by an airstrike of one of the F-18s of a Syrian SU 22 that attacked terrorists on 18 June and various strikes on the Syrian government allies near their illegal base from Al Tanaf on May 18 and June 6, including the destruction of an Iranian drone Shahid 129. And one still dares to speak of a civil war that is splitting the Syrians between them, and proclaim according to Washington, London, Paris, or Ankara that the elected President should no longer rule the country.
In this dramatic and confusing situation, a glimmer of hope comes from the recent statements of the new French leader in favor of a rapprochement with Russia to solve the Syrian crisis and to fight against terrorism. No doubt that it happened due to pragmatism, noting the remoteness of the new American president to Europe and the failure of the French President predecessor’s policy in Syria. Thus, President Macron in Paris, after Foreign Minister Le Drian said it in Moscow on 20 June, mentioned a change in French policy in Syria. The new French Minister of Foreign Affairs announced a new vision of the situation, more realistic and pragmatic, devoid of the obsessive anti-Assad ideology, which allows France to consider playing a role in the outcome of the crisis Syrian-and probably another benefits-accompanying Russian diplomacy, which was wise and restrained since the beginning of the conflict, for the greater good of the Syrians, but also in the name of the fight against terrorism. The lack of sympathy for Donald Trump’s confused and ultimately warlike policy is undoubtedly an element that has helped the new French government to propose a rapprochement with Moscow in order to resolve together with the major challenges of our time. This rapprochement with Moscow should facilitate the rapprochement with Tehran, already initiated by France.
On 19 May, by re-electing President Rouhani and a significant voter turnout, the Iranians showed the strength of their democracy. The analyses of the experts wanted to see in it a desire for change that is certainly real. The population has chosen to renew its support for the President who has shown his willingness to open up and dialogue with the West with a huge majority, although the economic benefits of the nuclear deal sealed July 14, 2015, did not improve the course of the country, because of the continuity of the sanctions that only America continues to apply and even were reinforce recently by a vote of the Senate of June 18. It only means that the populations wants peaceful relations with Iran’s international entourage by pursuing constructive dialogue. Moreover, those who we call the Conservatives have obtained 16 million votes, they fall in a category that considers that it is necessary to stand firm against those enemies who have not let loose until now. It would be wrong to believe that the candidate Raïssi and his supporters are obscurantists who refuse to evolve: for having met several of them, it is evident that they are perfectly aware that a change in the way of life in the Islamic Republic of Iran is expected by a large part of the population, but that it must be done in order, gradually, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Islamic revolution. These principles are based on the originality of Persian history, on the conviction that a civilization cannot be founded apart from a metaphysics that Shiite Islam offers and the patriotism that unites the Iranians against external enemies. In this respect, the thinkers of today’s Iran are convinced that the Western civilization is coming to an end because of its unbridled materialism worse than that of communism which nevertheless bore the hope of a better world, while the West, despite its technological superiority, has succeeded in destroying the very foundations of any society, in particular family ties, in the name of an ultra-liberalism which generates its own internal contradictions and refuses any religious reference to the human activity.
The two conceptions that have faced confrontations in a democratic manner during these elections do not differ regarding the objectives but only when it comes to the means to achieve them. What characterizes today’s Iran is the pride of its identity rooted in the Persian history, which is vivified by the virtue that Shiism brings to it. Truth and Justice are two of those virtues, which the national anthem mentions with fervor. Since this election, events seem to confirm the harsh trend that assumes that there is nothing to expect from the United States and its Gulf allies since the US Senate has voted to strengthen sanctions, in particular against the Revolutionary Guards Corps, considered a terrorist organization. (1)
Moreover, the terrorist attacks that took place in the Iranian Parliament and at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini were clearly seen as the execution of the incantation made by the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Minister of Defense, who vowed to carry the war on Iranian territory, giving a posteriori reasons to those who think that no concessions should be made to the United States and its allies.
But the Iranian response came unexpectedly, according to most experts: on June 18, six strategic missiles reached targets in Syria with great detail, in support of the Iranians’ fight against the takfirist in the region Rakka and destroyed a headquarters of DAESH, depots of weapons and ammunition, armored vehicles and 67 takfirist fighters, whose various nationalities were announced by the Iranians, proving that they were well informed before and after their strikes. The precision of the firing from the Kermanshah region in the Iranian Kurdistan, was seen as a symbol since the terrorists of June 7 were precisely Kurds. After a 650-kilometer route everyone should know that Iran can no longer be attacked by anyone without immediately fearing a brutal response. This ballistic skill, coupled with a mastery of the drones systems, which were able to film the objectives before and after the strikes with precision, places Iran at the level of the first military powers. The United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies had to understand the lesson. President Rouhani, with this demonstration of strength, holds an additional advantage in international negotiations.
These strategic upheavals indicate that we are perhaps approaching the end of an era of incessant American wars that has been perpetuating since Bush Jr. era and pursued by Obama. Wars have ranged from Afghanistan to Libya and Yemen via Iraq and Syria, devastating these countries, killing millions of innocent civilians, in the name of a hypocritical fight against terrorism that in reality it is fueling it and has transformed it into a global calamity. The announcement of a reinforcement of several thousand American soldiers in Afghanistan, where the support of the jihadists has begun in order to drive out the Soviets, requested in the Senate and obtained by the Secretary of Defense, does not go in this direction, but we can observe that President Trump has formally decided to delegate his powers to his minister Mattis for the conduct of military operations. This could indicate that Donald Trump’s statements during his campaign were sincere: ending the incessant costly wars, discussing with the other powers rather than forcing them to implement the American view. Let us hope that the clear failure of the American solution in Syria and taking into account that an attack on Iran is impossible to push Washington to face without hypocrisy the real threat of terrorism by reminding to order its friend Saudi Arabia that the disturbances within the royal family do not lead to any stability.
We noticed that President Trump has done the very opposite since his inauguration, being taken over by the system against which he won the election and which actually directs the United States: the financial powers and the military-industrial complex that lead in fact the multiple and powerful intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the media almost completely, with the active support of the Israeli lobby groups. Threatened by a procedure of dismissal, or even more secretly, Trump had to backtrack and apply the instructions of the system that runs the country. Several dummy investigations were launched, chanted by the media, accusing him of all evils up to that of being a Russian agent! All of these because he had said that it was necessary to discuss with the Russians in order to resolve the crises and the conflicts s of the world, the American “deep state” which thinks it is possible to perpetuate the American supremacy, even if the United States remains the first military power, but less of an economic power, intends to bring it back into the ranks/top. If Russia, which is still in the process of reconstruction, is so strong, it is because it relies on a network of alliances and on countries that also challenge the imperialist vision of the American neo-conservatives. The projects of China, India, and BRICS, in general, are projects that do not want to harm anyone and the United States could intelligently join through a wise policy.
In the rest of the world, the conflicts between the Asian powers have to be resolved through diplomacy. This is what China is proposing and we see that in the Philippines in its own way, while South Korea with its new President is also engaged similarly.
In Europe, the Powers acknowledges that Crimea has always been part of Russia and has joined the motherland through a unanimous movement of its inhabitants and the war of one part of Ukraine against the other could find a peaceful approach, undoubtedly a federal solution.
NATO should understand that disposing of nuclear vectors at Russia’s borders and strengthening its military presence in the Baltic States and in Poland, is not the way to appease Russia and ultimately, tensions will disappear. Pressure is causing reprisals: Russia has not only had to strengthen its military presence in the face of the NATO regime but it has just shown that it is not alone, since it made joint maneuvers these days with the Chinese Army. This is an obvious way for China to tell the world, in which camp it falls in, despite being usually more discreet. This clear support for the Russian policy in Europe meets mutual support from Russia to China in Asia. Yet the joint meeting at the State Department on June 21 between the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Minister Jim Mattis with their Chinese counterparts, the Foreign Minister Yang Jieshi and the General Fang Feng Hui, Chief of The People’s Liberation Army, does not show an understanding of this reality: demanding pressure from China on North Korea while increasing the military threat on it in the region, is the opposite of what should be done. It is not an encouraging sign. After all, North Korea does not threaten to invade the South of the peninsula or attack the American allies in the region; it only uses successfully the concept of nuclear deterrence, which is a defensive concept “from the weak to the strong.” It would be better to let the Chinese wisdom move slowly towards a diplomatic settlement with its ally especially that the new President of South Korea, Moon, is showing openness on the subject.
Alain Corvez. 22 June 2017
(1) Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities (Loi pour la lutte contre les activités déstabilisatrices de l’Iran en 2017) ou S.722 est le nom du plan élargi que le sénat US vient de voter contre l’Iran.
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Note: This paper was presented during the International Conference “Evolutions in Fighting Terrorism and the New Challenges of the Middle East”, held in Bucharest on the 5th of July 2017