Monday, December 07, 2015

Business as Usual in the Middle East

"We will be negotiating Assad's departure. If this regime stays, violence will continue in Syria and there will be no stability."
Mustafa Osso, vice-president, Syrian National Coalition

"The action will divert Vienna political efforts on Syria from its natural path and will drive the Vienna talks toward failure."
Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian deputy foreign minister

The Syrian rebel factions are quite clear on what they will accept, and American concurrence, belated and regrettable, along with ally France that accommodation can be made for temporarily agreeing to keep Bashar al-Assad in place as Syria's president to accord with Russia's demands cuts no ice with them. Under no circumstances will they agree that a murderous tyrant whose attacks against his own citizens have slaughtered a quarter-million, injured countless more, and created migrants out of half the country's population should be permitted to remain in power.

It is beyond reasonable to expect that they would agree. But there is Russia alongside Iran, propping up the bloody tyrant, insisting that no change in government should be contemplated until such time as the civil war has been put to rest. An unrealistic expectation even if the rebels agreed that the regime dedicated to obliterating the majority Sunni Syrian population leaving the Shiite minority to enjoy what hasn't been destroyed in Assad's assaults on their own be allowed a temporary respite.

This conflict has made for some strange bedfellows. Russia, in supporting Assad, has seen its fine relations with Turkey suddenly implode. Turkey, with its congenial relations with Iran has seen that regime sidle alongside Vladimir Putin to assert what everyone knows to be true, but has kept discreetly under wraps, that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cronies have benefited from the black market sale of Islamic State-extracted oil. But then, so has Syria, actually.

The larger war behind this conflict is that between the Sunni bloc in the Middle East led by the irascible Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shiite bloc led by the Islamic Republic of Iran. And just as Iran feels that the sacred Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina are being subjected to sacrilegious alterations and lack of pilgrimage safeguards by Saudi Arabia (which they are), and Saudi Arabia in turn chafes at the manipulation of neighbouring countries to bring them into the Shiite fold, their mentoring of 'their' sides in this conflict threatens the larger geography.

International pressure has been brought to bear on both sides to the intractable, ongoing conflict of sectarian hatred and tribal vengeance, so typical of the Middle East. A non-Arab country is attempting to force its self-credentialed superiority as the most powerful agent with direct access to Islamic virtues and values over the aggregated Arab and mostly Sunni Middle East as the dominant historical leader. Ottoman-era Turkey once held that prestigious caliphate in place.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 16, 2015. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 16, 2015. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Now the congenial relations that one virulently Islamist regime has enjoyed with a counterpart has come undone as Sunni Turkey, claims "astonishment" by Shiite Iranian accusations that Ankara has been and continues to support Islamic State and its involvement in oil dealing with the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. President  Erdogan has warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over Iranian media reports that he and his family are involved in oil trade with ISIL jihadists.
"You will pay a high price if it continues like that", he warned in his inimitable way. The Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Bilgic stated that any attempts to distort the situation were "not only immoral but also equal to hiding the truth from neighboring Iranian people." The convoluted and volatile relations between various states in this benighted part of the world with their incessant tribal and sectarian eruptions leading to massive loss of life would be a tragedy even if none of it ever left the confines of the Middle East.

It is the octopus stretch-and-reach of its hate-mongering, victimizing, blame-game and vitriolic accusations aligned with its attraction to blood-letting stretching out to pollute the global community with its death-wish for all and sundry that makes this a region that countries with no interest in its bloody ideologies find themselves embroiled in against their own better interests.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Follow @rheytah Tweet