Clusters of change


Domestic and world media, speaking of the Middle East, are focusing on the strategy of the American administration in relation to the countries of the region and to what pitfalls it encounters. Meanwhile, there are plenty of problems in the Arab world without the United States. Saudi Arabia is facing a change of monarch and is faced with a frank front of influential forces in the royal family coming to power of the son of King Salman. Turkey is stuck in Syria, with Ankara defeated in Idlib from pro-Saudi militants and trying to isolate itself from its neighbors, including Syria, Iraq and Iran. The crisis in the relations of Qatar with the coalition of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, KSA, Bahrain and their allies led to a stalemate: neither Qatar nor its opponents can gain an advantage.

A referendum in Iraq threatened by the Kurds, regardless of the outcome, will not bring independence to Kurdistan, although it will complicate relations with all its neighbors, primarily with Baghdad. Consider some of the situations described, based on the materials of the IBI expert Y. Shcheglovina.

Vanity around the throne

All summer, the expert community was actively discussing rumors about the soon-abdication of the KSA King Salman in favor of the son and Minister of Defense M. ben Salman, who had recently become crown prince. As far as can be judged, this issue is now postponed indefinitely due to the difficult situation in the country, the conflict in Yemen and the crisis in relations with Qatar. The problem of the appointment of a new crown prince in the event of M. Ben Salman being proclaimed king remains unresolved with all the leading branches of the royal family. Prince B. Bin Abdel Aziz is considered the most likely contender. There is another option that is supported by influential members of the family, including Prince M. Bin Naef and his clan. This is an extension of the transitional period with the appointment of M. Bin Salman as Prime Minister within the framework of the implementation of the reforms announced by him. An example of the implementation of such a verification scheme is the precedent of King Faisal, who served as prime minister before the coronation. In case of failure, this may bury M. bin Salman's powerful ambitions.

In the royal family, there are discussions about succession, and the authority of the crown prince is not enough to control the situation in the kingdom. Even though financial flows from armory contracts with the US and the EU are concentrated in the hands of people associated with him, and in the power bloc, due to recent appointments, the presence of people close to the crown prince in the leadership has increased. When deciding to prolong the procedure for the transfer of the throne by King Salman, it was also taken into account that a change of power during the period of reforms unpopular with a significant part of the population could lead to a drop in the authority of the heir. Many transformation programs - the fight against bureaucracy, the rejuvenation of the cadre of civil servants - are not fully defined and spelled out. They do not promise to be simple, given the results of early attempts to force Saudi entrepreneurs to curtail the use of guest workers in favor of local cadres. These measures, initiated by M. bin Salman, failed, and now the adopted laws are being revised, including in connection with the lobbying of associations of KSA commodity producers.

Not all is well with the implementation of the project to nationalize a part of the ARAMCO oil company. The procedure will be postponed to 2019, although it was previously planned to be held in 2018. This is explained by "technical reasons", but in reality there are disputes in the ruling elite about the choice of the main operator for IPO placement. M. bin Salman insists on the American stock exchange, his opponents in the family and the economic block of the government on the British one. These disagreements intensified against the background of the question of the fate of the May arms contracts signed during the visit to Riyadh of US President Donald Trump. Through the US Congress, it was difficult to approve the sale of KSA precision weapons. Opponents of this deal called the bombing of peaceful targets in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian aviation. The rest of the contracts with KSA got stuck. The question arose about the two most important topics for the Saudis: contracts for seven billion dollars for the purchase of high-precision ammunition for aviation and eight billion for the modernization of the Royal Air Force, including F-15 aircraft. Problems in relations with the United States hit M. bin Salman, since he turned over the entire range of Saudi-American relations.

The diversification of the country's oil economy also required an adjustment. In the royal family, it is believed that the reform program announced by the crown prince turned out to be ambitious and difficult to implement. Thus, the course on “personnel saudization” faces the unwillingness of a significant part of the young generation of Saudis to work. The government promises to make the necessary amendments by the end of October. It is planned to increase the transparency of decisions of the Cabinet and to reform the state bureaucracy in line with the program "Vision-2030". Today KSA continues to be dependent on oil prices. Amid the crisis, the kingdom's revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons fell by 17 percent this year and last year. Failed plan for the first half of the budget to saturate oil exports. This forces to postpone the introduction of unpopular measures - cuts in government subsidies for electricity and water for the population. The transfer of power depends on how much damage the reforms will cause to the authority and popularity of the crown prince. On his initiative, an extremely unpopular in Saudi society intervention in Yemen happened. All this takes into account King Salman, making the decision to postpone the transfer of power to his son.

In this case, he continues to strengthen the position in the power unit. Experts associate the appointment of General A. Al-Hauarani as the director of the KSA MIA intelligence service with the end of the stage of complete subordination of the staff of the kingdom’s domestic and foreign intelligence services to the Crown Prince. Al-Khawarani is considered a supporter of the Salman clan, although until the resignation of the former Interior Minister, the crown prince and the main rival of the struggle for the throne, M. Bin Nayef maneuvered between them. In the new post he faces several tasks, including the eradication of the legacy of Prince M. Bin Nayef - his cadres in the structure of the Ministry of Interior. He should lead a new superstructure uniting all the intelligence services of this ministry. Now they have entered the unified State Security Presidency (SSP), which is now headed by A. al-Khaarani.

SSP’s main responsibilities include investigating criminal cases within the kingdom, supervising special operations forces, escorting counter-terrorism operations, and providing aviation security. The total budget of this structure is five billion dollars, which is twice as high as the appropriations for the General Intelligence Agency (RBD) KSA. Hence the conclusion about the priorities of the Salman clan: the tightening of the internal security system and the elimination of departmental confusion in this area. The new head of the SSP has a reputation as a professional who has received special education in the United States and has good connections with the FBI. The anti-terror investigations in KSA and counterintelligence work in the Shiite Eastern province were recently overseen by A. al-Khaarani.

He will have to rebuild the security system and carry out a general "sweep" of the internal opposition before the forthcoming coronation of M. Bin Salman. One of the first steps was the arrests and detentions of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in major cities in the past three weeks. Moreover, in this case, they struck not so much the “brothers” as the clerical and business elites of the country, the opposition M. Ben Salman, who advocated the restoration of Qatari-Saudi relations. This stratum turned out to be unexpectedly powerful, since the economic blockade of Qatar hit the interests of Saudi businessmen. Al-Hawarani does not hide the fact that the main goal is not the elimination of the intra-Saud opposition belonging to the “brothers”, the “Islamic state” or having committed economic crimes, but the accompaniment of internal reforms in the kingdom. He must provide “proper conditions” for the commencement of the procedure for the transfer of power to KSA M. ben Salman.

The decision of King Salman to postpone the transfer of power to his son is opposed by a significant part of the Saudi clerics, who were supervised by Prince M. Ben Nayef, who had confidential relations in their midst when he was Minister of the Interior. In the close circle of the king, the topic of the voluntary addition of M. Bin Salman of the title “Guardian of the Two Shrines” after his accession and the separation of top positions in the executive and religious hierarchy is seriously discussed. This should be a compromise with the religious elite, which in exchange for loyalty to the new king will receive the highest religious post. Separating religion from the state, the new king risks getting opposition from clerics, which will influence his decisions on domestic and foreign policy, taking into account the penetration of Islam into the daily lives of the Saudis. How such a confrontation can end is demonstrated by Iran’s 1979 revolution of the year.
Iraqi Kurdistan: plebiscite will not change anything

The head of Iraqi Kurdistan, M. Barzani, reaffirmed his government’s readiness to proceed after a referendum on independence planned for 25 in September for comprehensive talks with the central authorities in Baghdad. The Kurdish leader said this, speaking to supporters of the plebiscite at the central stadium in Erbil, reports Rudaw TV channel. Barzani stressed that the militant Peshmerga will ensure the security of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan against any enemy. “After September 25, we are ready to discuss borders with Baghdad, oil, whatever,” he said. A delegation from Erbil should have gone for negotiations with the federal government two days before the referendum, but Baghdad refused to negotiate with the Kurds.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a statement that holding a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan could destabilize Iraq and make it difficult to fight against IS. The UN Security Council stressed that they support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and called for resolving all disputes between the regions of Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad "in accordance with the provisions of the Iraqi Constitution, through dialogue and on the basis of compromise, with the support of the international community." From here it is easy to draw a conclusion about the consequences of the referendum. The point of no return in the matter of its passing. Barzani, if he returns, buries his political future. Holding a referendum is the last chance for him to stay afloat in the state hierarchy of Kurdish autonomy. The legal terms of his tenure as head of Iraqi Kurdistan have expired, and the reason for their extension (including under pressure from Washington) in the form of the need to maintain stability to combat ISIS disappeared with successes in Syria and Iraq. The pressure on Barzani on the part of his opponents is demanding to leave his post.

The general support of all political parties in the autonomy of the idea of ​​holding a referendum has a basic requirement - Barzani must resign from the leadership and pledge that the head of the region will not be occupied by representatives of his clan. This was a condition for supporting the holding of a referendum and unblocking the work of the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament by the opposition Goran party. The willingness to support the referendum on the part of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) J. Talibani also derives from the inter-Kurdish struggle and the problem of sharing oil revenues. September 16 one of the main figures in the PUK - B. Salih announced that he would go to the upcoming parliamentary elections on his own. The split in the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), where supporters of A. Ocalan are being ousted from leading positions. One of the motivations of the elderly leaders of the Kurdish politicians to hold a referendum is the distraction of the population from the crisis of the change of elites. And the political struggle after the referendum will only grow.

The economic aspect is also important. Erbil is not ready to be left without Turkish goods when blocking export capacity to send oil to Turkey and to stop financial tranches from Baghdad. He will not stand it. This eliminates fears that after the referendum, the process of establishing state borders and separating Kurdish autonomy will proceed, which will provoke fighting in the disputed areas of Iraq and the intervention of the armed forces of Baghdad and Ankara in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish areas in Syria and Iraq. Separate incidents are possible, but it’s not worth talking about the beginning of a full-scale Arab-Kurdish or Turkish-Kurdish war. The Kurds will not go for it, and the main regional players - Iran, Turkey and Iraq are not interested in escalating the conflict. However, in 2005, a referendum was held in Iraqi Kurdistan, and about 98 percent voted for independence. In the end, nothing happened.

Turkish wall

According to the Anatolian Agency, Turkey expects to complete the construction of a concrete wall along the border with Syria by the end of September. Builders left to install about 97 from 828 kilometers. Work is underway in the southern highlands of Hatay Province. The border barrier project “Emergency Physical Security of the Border” project started in 2016 year. For the barrier used concrete blocks with a height of three meters with barbed wire. Every 300 meters are towers equipped with thermal and infrared video cameras, night vision systems, radars, seismic and acoustic wave detectors. They install laser and rifle systems with remote control for the defeat of manpower, ground-based equipment and UAV, a device suppressing radio signals at different frequencies. The Turkish Armed Forces intend to use airships equipped with tracking devices to monitor the situation and movements in the Syrian territory.

The Turkish authorities are building a wall on the border with Syria to protect their territory from the infiltration of terrorists and illegal migrants, the smuggling of weapons, explosives and drugs. Ankara will not stop accepting refugees from Syria and will not close the border, but all movements will go through border crossings. The technical arrangement of the border suggests that the Turks are not planning an invasion of Kurdish areas in the adjacent territory to liquidate the detachments of the Party of the Democratic Union (PDS). The probability of military confrontation of the Turkish army with the Americans deployed in the north of Syria in the Kurdish areas and supporting the PDS is negligible. Although if Ankara aggravated the situation, the Americans would certainly try to avoid a collision. But R. Erdogan is not ready to solve the Kurdish issue by force.

This does not mean that Turkey will leave the Kurdish problem at its border unresolved. She will try to influence through controlled armed groups from two directions: from the zone between Azzaz and Jarablus and from Idlib. However, the expensive technical equipment of the Turkish-Syrian state border means that Ankara is preparing to create an independent Kurdish enclave in the north of Syria. No one in Turkey will ever officially say this, but this scenario is recognized as a reality there, primarily because of the position of Washington, which the Turkish leadership will not forget about this (which President Erdoанan tirelessly reminds Americans).

September 22 in the Kurdish areas of Rogava (Syrian Kurdistan) held municipal elections in 3700 communes. The elected deputies in November should participate in the elections of local councils, and in January - of the parliament. At the same time, the Federal Council is already operating in the region. This, along with the holding of a referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan and the “neutral position” of the United States, which are interested in further staying in the north of Syria due to the loyalty of local Kurds, makes the option of semi-state separation of Rajava resolved. Although in many respects it is a declarative and propaganda moment, and not a real isolation.

As for the equipment of the state border by the Turks, in addition to the Kurdish issue, they establish control over the channels of material and technical assistance to the Syrian opposition in Idlib. Given the presence of the Turkish military in the de-escalation zone in the province as a monitoring mission, this should play a crucial role in combating Saudi influence in Idlib to minimize the Dzhebhat al-Nusra combat potential and enhance the similar capabilities of the pro-Turkish groups. Without feeding them with weapons and manpower, Turkish domination is questionable there. The efforts of Ankara to minimize the Saudi influence in Syria will determine for the medium term the development of the situation in the province of Idlib, which fully meets the interests of Moscow.
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  1. +1
    27 September 2017
    Turkey expects to complete the construction of a concrete wall along the border with Syria by the end of September. Builders have to install about 97 of 828 kilometers.

    The Great Turkish Wall ... this is the scale ... not like our barbed wire on the border of CRIMEA with an independent one.
    In general, the Middle East now resembles a hive of evil and hungry bees and bumblebees into which Uncle JO from the USA climbed.
  2. +5
    27 September 2017
    And the boys in the photo have the same handkerchiefs, no fantasy! Zverev: the star is in shock!
  3. 0
    27 September 2017
    Vanity around the throne
    Well, again, Putin will determine your feeding? One cannot do without Moscow’s hands in the world.
    1. 0
      27 September 2017
      An interesting position of Satanovsky, especially in Kurdistan, they say, do not be afraid .. there will be nothing .. Or maybe it is necessary ..- Israel?
      1. 0
        27 September 2017
        40 million Kurds need to be attached somewhere. Better in Germany. Versace in the Russian Federation will move to work.
        SERIOUS- oil production doesn’t give all 100% of the money, the sweetest thing is for oil traders (sign a piece of paper) !!! who and how will divide the chain from the production of valves and fittings to the gas station? - now this question is rubbing
        Kurdistan ISIS oil, Syrian borders, KSA, etc
        ----- no one will tell political scientists what they will do with the BBV, they will later turn out and explain (like economists about crises)
  4. 0
    27 September 2017
    Two subjects. Eraser and towel.
  5. 0
    29 September 2017
    “Every 300 meters, there are towers equipped with thermal and infrared cameras, night vision systems, radars, seismic and acoustic vibration detectors. Laser and shooting systems with remote control are installed on them to destroy manpower, ground equipment and UAVs, radio signal suppression devices on different frequencies. The Turkish armed forces intend to use airships equipped with tracking equipment to monitor the situation and movements in Syrian territory. "
    it is extremely cool, they will do --- they will be ahead of the whole planet.
    I haven’t met this yet.
  6. 0
    29 September 2017
    For all the guys you have to pay. And for the war in the Caucasus, and for the collapse of oil prices in the 80s. And why are Kurds worse than Jews? And it is time for the Saudis to choose, either with Russia or with the USA, they will not sit on two chairs. While they buy mattress weapons and trade oil for dollars, nishtyaks from Russia will not wait. hi
  7. 0
    October 1 2017
    Quote: fif21
    For all the guys you have to pay. And for the war in the Caucasus, and for the collapse of oil prices in the 80s. And why are Kurds worse than Jews? And it is time for the Saudis to choose, either with Russia or with the USA, they will not sit on two chairs. While they buy mattress weapons and trade oil for dollars, nishtyaks from Russia will not wait. hi

    ..and Kurds and Jews are all Arabs ... a Jew is not a nation and not a nationality - this is a way of life and a worldview - this is a persecuted people by all - just the result of them climbing into other people's penates with their charter as the god of the chosen people .. Gather all your people in your penates - a hoe to help you ..

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