Deepening conflict among Arab states in the Middle East has made headlines recently. Experts are analyzing the ongoing events from different angles, and what is obvious is that the situation is taking a very dangerous turn. There is a growing likehood of new war. How regional and global powers will behave under these circumstances is very interesting. What awaits Eurasia, in general, is now a global concern.
The Arab world controversies: what is the cause?
Amid growing international concern over the developments in Ukraine, a new threat is emerging in the crisis-torn Middle East. The Arab world has long been beset by certain rifts, but what is happening in Syria and Egypt has deepened the division. Ignoring this means making an improper judgment of the state of affairs and pushing the Middle East deeper into chaos.
In fact, it is Syria`s civil war that polarized the Arab world. Initially, regional countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had actively assisted the Syrian opposition. And the strategy was clear: to oust Bashar al-Assad`s regime through the use of force. The reason was that the West as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni states wanted to include Damascus, which was in the Iranian and Russian sphere of influence, in their own sphere of influence.
This scenario ended in failure as toppling the Assad regime by force was impossible because Damascus was supported by Russia and China. This put all Middle East countries face to face with fresh wave of terror, forcing the Arab countries to search for ways of ”not getting into Syria`s situation”.
The process has been seriously impacted by the Egyptian events too. The fate of political Islam has taken topicality in light of recent developments in Cairo. Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, Hizbullah, Hamas and other religious groups saw their political and ideological courses end in fiasco. More and more often they have been associated with terror acts. In fact, no Arab state now has a religion-based or globally accepted rational ideological line. This, as a whole, is a serious blow to the Islamic world.
Such turn of events caused intrigues among the Arab states that had regional leadership ambitions, and they started accusing each other of jeopardizing the situation. (see: Мехди Джоукар, Асгар Юсефи. Обострение противоречий на заседании Совета сотрудничества арабских государств Персидского залива / “Inosmi.ru”, 13 March, 2014).
Another factor polarizing the Arab world is Iran, whose promoting Shia Islam irritates Sunni Arab states. However, some of them are eager to cooperate with Iran, but it is what Saudi Arabia dislikes. Recent escalation of Sunni-Shia confrontation has dramatically affected the situation. Official Baghdad accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of provoking a civil war in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki openly accused Doha and Riyadh of ”effectively declaring war on Iraq”. (see: Петр Львов. Кто будет тушить пожар в Персидском заливе? / “Новое Восточное Обозрение”, 12 March, 2014).
Analysts believe it is a response to Shias` activities in Syria. An important area between Iran and Syria, Iraq is also Tehran`s ”backyard” in a geopolitical sense. Al-Maliki, a Shia, has close ties with Iran so official Baghdad is concerned about activation of sectarian armed groups with links to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Iraq. More and more Iraqi Sunnis are involved in armed clashes, with the army still unable to neutralize them.
From Near to Far East: all roads lie through the Gulf
The situation is not that clear as it seems to be at first sight. The point is that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar (see: previous source). The reason is that Riyadh and Doha have different approaches to what is happening in Syria. Qatar strongly supports Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nusra Front, and The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the terror groups that are banned in Saudi Arabia. Pro-Qatari groups in Syria are believed to be behind attacks on Iraq. This makes the situation very complicated promising a continuation of tensions in the region.
Reports say Saudi Arabia is preparing to make new steps, including the closure of its borders with Qatar. By this move Riyadh will both warn the Arab states that seek closeness with Iran and also protect itself from radical groups (see: previous source). It`s no secret that experts are forecasting an escalation of separatism in Saudi Arabia itself. Another aspect of the problem is linked to global geopolitics.
The point is that the establishment of the ”Shia arc” (Iran-Iraq-Syria) in the Middle East was blocked, which was accompanied by deteriorating situation in Iraq. Experts say tensions will hardly ease here. Tehran is trying to stir separatist moods in several Sunni states. So terror groups that failed to succeed in Syria may blame Saudi Arabia and Qatar for this.
Washington is concerned about these events, but it is unable to impact the situation because it is occupied with what is happening in Ukraine. Left alone, Saudi Arabia is sometimes making radical moves. Political analysts and pundits believe this situation increases the likehood of war in the Middle East.
Indeed, America and Israel are to a certain degree interested in new war in the Gulf as it may suit some of their geopolitical interests. First, Muslim Arab states will be involved in a serious conflict, which eliminates the possibility of Muslims uniting into a single front against Israel. Second, none of the Muslim countries will be able to be the regional leader because of war.
Third, the West will have a chance to draw Iran into a long and exhausting war. Certainly, Tehran cannot remain indifferent to the processes taking place near its borders. Reports say Iran has started reinforcing its troops in the Gulf, with some analysts pointing to Tehran`s heavy military presence there. This means that a war among Arab states can pave the way for the carrying out of attacks on Iran too. It`s impossible to downplay riskiness of this move.
A broader look at the developments reveals the existence of thought-provoking plans. Given Eurasia`s geography, the Ukrainian front from the North and the Iranian line from the South provide a double access to China. A large chaotic zone emerges in the direction of Europe, including Russia. New Gulf war creates the same picture in the direction of South Asia, being a source of chaos for China. And this will obviously have catastrophic effects.
Anyway one should realize that a very dangerous geopolitical situation emerges around Muslim states. But, interestingly, no one can prevent this as if someone launched a deadly mechanism, which is wiping everything out. But why no one is concerned that this will have harmful effects on humanity in general?