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Outlaws and Sheriffs in the Wild Wild Mid-East – A Birds Eye View

Andrew Korybko
Global Village

The past week was very geopolitically eventful for the Mideast even by the region’s dynamic standards, which shows that a new international order is indeed being formed there but that serious challenges still remain to its ultimate fruition. 

The prevailing trend is that the region is becoming more multipolar as the imminent defeat of Daesh — crucially obtained as a result of Russia’s 2015 anti-terrorist intervention in Syria and Iran’s consistent military support to the government over the years — opens up a plethora of possibilities for reconstituting what had previously been the American-led unipolar order in this transregional pivot space.

Likewise, the shifting sands in the Mideast are also making it possible for the US and its “Israeli” ally to creatively disrupt this process through the weaponization of chaos theory, or in other words, provoking artificial conflicts in order to spoil the success of this disadvantageous paradigm shift against their grand strategic interests.

The resultant outcome of this friction is that the Mideast is once again thrown into uncertainty at a crucial moment in its history and that the situation is a lot more complicated than some observers might present it as.

Bearing this contextual backdrop in mind, here’s a brief review of all that happened over this wild week and why it’s so important in terms of the bigger picture:

1) The Russian-Iranian Partnership Takes Shape

President Putin’s landmark visit to Tehran to attend a trilateral summit with Azerbaijan unexpectedly yielded several very important outcomes such as the announcement of two transregional pipelines (Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia and Iran-Pakistan-India) and serious discussions on de-dollarization, with the end result being that the Russian-Iranian partnership was immensely strengthened and is fast becoming one of the core components of the Multipolar Mideast.

This represented the most stabilizing event of the past week and showed the world the fruits of pragmatic Great Power diplomacy, importantly demonstrating that extra-regional actors such as Russia don’t always have the destructive intentions that the US traditionally had and can actually play a positive role in preserving regional peace.

2) “Israel” Threatens To Invade Southern Syria

In what appears to have been a tacitly coordinated response with the armed Kurdish “federalists” in response to Damascus’ promise to liberate Raqqa from their occupation, “Israel” announced that it was contemplating a formal ground invasion under the pretext of “protecting” a Druze community near the occupied Golan Heights, thereby forcing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to immediately redirect its strategic post-Daesh focus from the northeastern corner of the country to the southwestern one.

It’s unclear whether “Israel” truly intends to go through with this threat or if it was just grandstanding in order to buy some time for its Kurdish allies to better defend themselves from any possibly forthcoming liberation operation by the SAA in freeing the seized territories, but it nevertheless reminded the world that Tel Aviv could always resort to direct conventional force to advance its regional “Balkanization” vision for dividing and ruling the Mideast according to the “Blood Borders” scenario inspired by the infamous Yinon Plan.

3) Saad Hariri Steps Down

Dual-Saudi billionaire and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri surprised the world by announcing his resignation while on a visit to Riyadh, drawing immediate concern that this was part of a plot to politically destabilize the fragile country in order to undermine the Axis of Resistance’s anti-terrorist success in Syria and prompt the return of Hezbollah fighters back to their homeland, which would tacitly fulfill the US-“Israeli” goal to reduce the group’s post-Daesh regional footprint.

It’s too early to say whether this ploy will succeed in its suspected objective of sparking a national crisis and triggering Hezbollah’s withdraw from Syria, but it, in any case, undermines the hard-fought relative stability that Lebanon enjoyed over the past year and could return the country to the never-ending political horse-trading that paralyzed it in the past.

4) Mohammed Bin Salman’s “Deep State” Coup

Preemptively acting against a speculated pro-American royalist plot to unseat him in response to the ambitious socio-economic and religious reforms associated with his Vision 2030 project, not least of which is Saudi Arabia’s possible future use of the petroyuan, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman carried out a “deep state” coup against his opponents under the guise of an “anti-corruption” campaign, thus preserving his hold on power and safeguarding the game-changing multipolar partnerships that he’s recently clinched with China and Russia.

In order to thwart off any forthcoming retributive Daesh or Color Revolution threats, the Crown Prince absolutely must command the loyalty of the military, but this is difficult to do so long as he remains committed to the disastrous War on Yemen and seems poised to respond to the Houthis’ dramatic (though non-deadly) missile attack against the Riyadh airport that occurred on the same day as his “deep state” coup.

5) Damascus Denounces Armed Kurdish “Federalists” As Terrorists

Jamal al Zuubi, a deputy of the Syrian parliament, told Sputnik that “Kurdish self-governance in the north of Syria is only a mere desire of some terrorist groups”, thus equating the Kurdish PYD and their larger SDF “federal” forces as terrorists and severely complicating the upcoming “Congress of the Syrian People” in Sochi by inferring that Moscow committed a faux pas by inviting these dangerous anti-constitutional groups to the gathering.

This statement is a clear expression of Syria’s unease at Russia’s well-intended “balancing” policy towards the Kurds, especially in the context of the Russian-written “draft constitution” from January that contradicts Damascus’ existing policy by suggesting that the Kurds be granted “decentralization”, so it remains to be seen whether this issue will be delicately resolved behind closed doors in the next two weeks or if it will negatively impact the success of the Sochi conference.

In the grand sense of things, Russia and Iran are cooperating to construct a Multipolar Mideast on the ashes of the unipolar world’s failed Daesh project, through their joint efforts have unexpectedly come across the obstacle of renewed Lebanese instability and “Israeli” threats to Syria.

Moreover, the “deep state” drama taking place in Saudi Arabia could pose a formidable challenge to the region if it spirals out of control and the Kingdom starts to collapse as a result, as could the seemingly divergent views that Moscow and Damascus have over the post-Daesh political future of the Syrian Kurds if the two allies don’t sort out their disagreements in time for the Sochi conference.

All told, while the events in southern Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia may have come as a surprise, the Russian-Iranian Great Power partnership and disagreement between Moscow and Damascus regarding the Syrian Kurds were predictable, though as of now the latter is still manageable and could conceivably be addressed in a way that strengthens the region instead of inadvertently weakens it.


Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, journalist and a regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia.

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files




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