June 28, 2010

Iran, Turkey and the Arabs...

Was watching an interesting interview on Al-Jazeera Arabic. The guest is a Kuwaiti professor, a political analyst and an ex MP who was basically kicked out of the Kuwaiti Parliament and who goes by the name of Abdallah Al Nafissi.

The discussion revolved on the rise of a new regional power - Turkey, as a competitor to Iran, what will be the future developments and consequences for the Arab world, and what role the Arab countries should capitalize on in view of this new balance of power.

I have several comments to make and I am not reiterating what this Kuwaiti analyst said. Rather, I will use the above theme as a basis for some political reflections.

First, it seems that the Kuwaitis, but not only, the whole of the Gulf countries, are waking up to the fact that Iran, with its DOUBLE political discourse, is very much a threat, not only a political threat but a historical threat.

It also seems that finally, the Iran-Iraq war, and its necessity in thwarting Iranian political advancement in the Arab region for at least by 2 decades is only now being acknowledged as having been a life saving jacket, postponing the Iranian take over until 2003 - year of the American occupation of Iraq by not only an Anglo American arsenal but also by Iranian political figures as represented by people such as Maliki, Hakeem, Sadr, Chalabi, and the rest...

If there is one sure thing this American occupation managed to achieve, is the enhancement of the Iranian role and its consolidation not only in Iraq but in the whole Arab region. This is a FACT that no one can deny. All this endless parroting about an imminent attack on Iran is pure BULLSHIT and I shall show you the extent of this bullshit thinking by giving you more facts.

I've said it before and will repeat it again, one needs to understand how Iran operates and I have written at great length on Iranian political maneuvering, its use of Shiism as an ideology, its double political discourses and its endless tricks.

When I refer to the Iranian occupation of Iraq, people react with great bafflement.
The typical nonsensical argument I usually receive - but Iran does not have an army in Iraq. This is the thinking of simpletons, and please these kinds of simpletons need to stay away from politics and take up comic books instead.

Besides army don't have to look like regular armies, armed militias are also an army. And Iran has several armed militias in Iraq but not only. Hezbollah is another armed militia of Iran and to some extent so is Hamas,(or some of its elements). However I will leave Hamas out of it for the moment.

What is most important to note about the Iranian role in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and I just learned that Iran is making great headways in Mauritania  (not to forget the famous Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan alliance). Iran operates not only through the training, funding, arming and backing of armed groups in these countries, but its occupation is more characteristic of a POLITICAL occupation / influence. (and heavy economic investments are part of it)

Iraq is the prime example of an American MILITARY occupation and an Iranian POLITICAL occupation. A simple example is that all the political alliances in Iraq cannot be made without Iran's approval first. This is another fact however much you try to deny it.

This Kuwaiti analyst who has been to Iran several times since the 70's, said something very pertinent that not many Arab academics and political analysts care to touch upon -- namely that since the Khomeinist revolution, Iranian society with its political Shiism revivalism, has been holding a discourse (that was present during the Shah's reign but to a lesser extent) a discourse that is reclaiming its Persian roots away from the "Arabization" that has been imposed upon it historically. In other words - a chauvinistic discourse.

This is not news to me, Iran's contempt and hatred for anything Arab is a well known fact and Iraqis are the best placed to know it. The double discourse is presented, cloaked in Islamic jargon, where Iran tries very hard to portray itself as an Islamic country that is above any sect or race. The Iraqi experiment has proved the fallacy of such Iranian claims.

Iran's use of Shiism, is not so much out of love for Imam Ali, Hassan or Hussein. Iran's use of Shiism is nothing but a political tool to extend and consolidate its political and regional influence in those Arab countries. Because and I keep repeating myself, Shiism in itself as a sect is not a Persian invention, Qum only became the center for Shiism relatively late, while historically Arab Nejaf and Arab Kerbala were always the centers of learning for Shiism. Moreover neither Ali, nor Hassan nor Hussein were Furs - Persian, they all came from the Hijaz today's Saudi Arabia.

A short paragraph here. Turkey on the other hand has no "Sunni revivalism" aspirations. Turkey is based on  solid, well founded secular institutions, secular civic society and a secular polity -- despite the fact that its current government has an Islamic coloring to it. Furthermore the Turkish experiment - the ability to cleverly combine secularism, democracy and still retain its adherence to Islam - a reformed, democratic Islam,  is way more dangerous for the West and for Israel than an obscurantist theocracy. I personally find the Turkish model very interesting to study and  draw lessons from for other Islamic countries, in particular Arab countries. And that too - must be rather worrisome for the West - what if the Turkish model is contagious ?

So while Iran tries to maintain this "Islamic" political discourse, it is clear from its scheming in Iraq, that it has created, backed and armed the "Shiite only" parties in Iraq, and we all know the deadly sectarianism that these parties advocate and exercise. But not only.
Iran has also backed Al-Qaeda in Iraq and today this is a known fact that even Al-Jazeera mentioned during this program. Something that Iraqis have known all along.

The latest Iranian charade about sending flotillas to Gaza is not so much out of support for the Palestinians. Fact is - Iran is VERY worried about the rise of Turkey as some Hero for the Arabs. Diplomacy aside - Iran and Turkey have some important issues that are cause for an underlying conflict -- namely in Iraq.

Iran supports the Turkish Kurdish rebels, which have been a major source of instability for Turkey. Turkey on the other hand is very much against the annexation of Kirkuk by the Iraqi Kurds whom the Iranians fully support. The sphere of competing influence is Iraq - and there the Iranians have the upper hand. That definitely beats a couple of flotillas.

Turkey having realized that it will never be accepted by the EU, after many years of efforts to do so, (because it is a Muslim country - let's face facts here and Europe who is battling its own anti-Islamic demons is in no position to accept a powerful Muslim country as a member part of its European Christian Identity). And having realized that it has been left behind insofar as Iraq is concerned, Turkey had to make some weighty moves. It established solid bilateral ties with Syria, and tried to win over Arabs by playing a brokerage role, a sort of mediator of Peace. (Syria/Israel, Hamas/PA/Egypt, etc...)

The massacres on the Mavi Marmara were not a surprise. This was expected after the slap handed by Erdogan to Shimon Peres in Davos. The Zionists Jews are a vindictive, vile bunch, and they hit the hardest when least expected. The Davos slap did not go well with the Israelis - despite the 2 billion dollars worth of economic ties between the two countries. Since Davos, the Turkish pro-Palestinian tone has been rising reaching the Iranian one, even surpassing it. Something that Iran has not taken too well, either.

Most analysts believe that Turkey's new found role in the Arab world, will earn it more favors from the West, in particular the U.S - who will use Turkey's rising power as a balancing act against Iran, therefore weakening Iran's spreading influence in the Arab countries I mentioned above.

These analysts furthermore argue that the possibilities of seeing Turkey and Iran at loggerheads can become a reality further down the line --another example of Divide and Rule.

I disagree with the above hypothesis and strongly so.

I believe that everything will be done to weaken and destabilize Turkey and I believe that both the Israelis and the Iranians are very much hoping to see that happen.

I ask the reader to refer to my post of 9th April 2010, where C.Hills U.S ambassador to Iraq was interviewed, more like grilled...and I will quote a short excerpt from this post as per the words of C.Hills himself.

...for us, the Americans, we have a long term relationship with Iraq, we have diplomatic and economic interests, we have the biggest american embassy in Iraq this shows how much we care about our long term relationship. Iraq on the map is also the heart where shiites and sunnis meet, this is important for us, look at Turkey next door...(he did NOT mention Iran but mentioned Turkey...watch out for your ass Turkey)"  rest of post here

In that interview C.Hills rationalized away the incestuous ties between the Iraqi ruling puppets and Iran, as "normal" yet he mentioned Turkey as some - biggest Sunni next door.

It could very well be that the U.S including Israel realize that Iran beyond its fiery anti-Zionist, anti-Imperialist jargon poses no real threat. After all Iran did demonstrate its good will efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan in bringing about regime change to both the Iraqis and Afghans as per the American plan with its new birth pangs for a new era. Again the Iranian and American Zionist plan seem to be in total harmony - and not by coincidence.

As for the Arabs, the most worried are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Now that Iraq is gone, their worries have turned into angst. Well what do you expect folks ? You wanted Iraq broken you got it...

Egypt is Iran's priority right now. Iran has been trying very hard to penetrate Egypt with its endless political manipulations - through Hezbollah, and yes, through Hamas.

Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and is very much influenced by some of its ideology and political program - adapting it to the Palestinian context. Iran by co-opting some important parts of Hamas has also won over the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood party. A simple reading of this latter's daily rhetoric shows the extent of its sympathy for Iran.

This of course, worries the Egyptian government greatly - and the Egyptians realize that Iran's influence in Egypt is not a threat to their peace treaty with Israel as most leftists like to believe, but a threat to Egypt's political stability itself.

And this where Turkey's rise was a coup de force. And this is where the Flotilla massacre marked a turning point for Iran, and for the Arabs - who, as usual have trapped themselves by their own treason and impotence. It has also put Hamas in a tight spot, however paradoxical this may sound.

What happens next in Iraq will show who controls most of what and who has the most long term influence in the region. And Iraq shall remain the playing ground for the strongest. The one who controls Iraq, also controls the rest of the region i.e has all the playing cards to do so.

A hint : re-read what C.Hills said in that interview.

I repeat it again - Turkey watch out for your back !