2013 year for the Middle East, without any doubt, could be called the year of Iran. Although the Arab spring continued to rage in the region, the war in Syria, the hardest disintegration processes in Libya continued, Yemen, Iran rightfully came out on top in terms of the large-scale global game around it and its nuclear program.
To understand the meaning of the game, you need to go back a while ago. Already in 1979, Iran became an unequivocal signal for the entire Islamic world - the westernization of this unique civilization under the guise of modernization led to severe internal stresses and distortions. The fast-moving processes that took Europe for centuries, inevitably caused rejection on the mental level, and the attempt to change cultural codes and life motivation ultimately led to an explosion and a rollback to civilizational origins.
Nevertheless, the Arab rulers indifferently perceived a very obvious threat and continued their social and economic experiments. As a result, after the beginning of the Arab Spring, most Arab countries were faced with the need to revise the strategy of modernization and began to painfully search for a balance between the need to continue it and the mental features of Islam as a way of life.
In this sense, Iran immediately turned from an outcast of the Islamic world into its leader - so far implicit and in many respects potential. In the three decades that have passed since the 1979 revolution of the year, he managed to go through this path, and he combined two extremely difficult tasks, finding his own special way of solving a very nontrivial task. However, a tough standoff with the West and the United States, in the first place, made his leadership very virtual.
It is precisely this marginalized Iranian position that made it necessary to treat it from the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel with the utmost seriousness. Their position in the region depended entirely on Iran’s confrontation with the United States, and immediately changed with any change in this conflict.
The struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia for influence in the Middle East was a purely family affair that did not affect the position of their main enemy - Iran
The Arab spring 2011 of the year gave the Arabian monarchies a unique chance to occupy a special position in the region after the collapse of almost all secular projects. The struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia for influence in the Middle East was a purely family affair, without affecting the position of their main enemy, Iran. However, even in its cramped position, the Islamic Republic was able to impose on the monarchies, with their endless financial resources, the hardest struggle in Syria. Iran has proved that its power, even under the “crippling” sanctions of the European Union and the United States, is quite comparable with the combined resources of the Arabian Four. Of all the Arabian monarchies, only Oman and Bahrain excluded themselves from the struggle. The first - for internal ideological reasons, the second - because of its own Shiite spring.
However, external interests and players intervened in this quiet family dispute. From the beginning of his first term, Obama’s policy was subordinated to an extremely important task. The United States, realizing the threat emanating from the Asia-Pacific region, turned out to be completely unprepared for its parry. The American army stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan was excluded from politics and did not pose a threat. The withdrawal of troops became inevitable, but was impossible without creating a fundamentally different configuration of the region’s space. What was needed was either total chaos, or "looking" for the region, which could be controlled remotely, like a drone.
The Middle East region was transformed from republican fiefdoms into a more balanced structure from their henchmen and Democrats' pillars represented by the “Muslim Brotherhood”»
At the first stage, the choice of moderate Islam as a “beholder” seemed not only justified, but also very logical. Ideologically, Obama, as a peddler of the ideas of democracy and human rights, such a neo-Trotskyist, was quite satisfied by moderate Islamists with their ideas of Islamic democracy, a position in relation to modernization, flexibility in relation to the issue of modernizing Islam. At the same time, the problems of interparty struggle were solved in the United States itself. The Middle East region was transformed from the fiefdoms of the Republicans into a more balanced structure from their henchmen and the support of the democrats in the person of the "Muslim Brotherhood". Finally, Iran, locked in a corner by sanctions, was objectively excluded from the Big Game and could not influence the processes launched in the Spring in the region.
Nevertheless, political moderate Islam failed in all countries of the Arab Spring. Why - this is a topic for a separate conversation, and it is quite possible that it is not easy and not fast. So far, we can only state that Obama’s policy in the fall of 2012 has failed. It was not only insulting, but also dangerous in connection with the elections. Obama had to present a new plan, guaranteeing the solution of the main task, for which, in fact, he came to the White House. Convince not only the electorate, but also the American elite in their capacity.
Iran has become the lifesaver of Obama
Iran has become Obama's lifesaver. All the efforts of the US administration were now directed to Iran, and the characters assigned to them in the foreign policy direction - the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the head of the CIA best demonstrated the direction of the new policy. All of them are specialists in the Middle East, all have personal and informal connections in the region, and all are marked by a more than loyal attitude towards the Ayatollah regime by the standards of the American establishment. A new tour began, in which at first an important place was occupied by signs and hints.
Already at the end of 2012, the US administration began to send signals about the possibility of changing its attitude towards Iran, offering to advance in the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue from the standpoint of "new initiatives". The United States has rather radically approached the rhetoric about the Syrian conflict, seriously changing its attitudes towards the Syrian militants. If earlier the issues of helping them were resolved incrementally, and almost no one doubted that the help weapons and technology is only a matter of time, and almost a no-fly zone can be put on the agenda, which was supported by the supply of air defense systems to Turkey, then by the beginning of 2013, the situation suddenly began to change. The United States began to express concern about the radicalization of the Syrian opposition, the dominance of al-Qaeda emissaries in its ranks, and then the Western media in general began to equate the Syrian opposition with this iconic scarecrow.
In the spring of the thirteenth, the main leitmotif of comments on the Syrian theme is the painful choice that the United States has to make between fighting the illegitimate and bloody Assad regime and the Al Qaeda terrorists. However, the administration’s main game turned around Iran.
On the one hand, the ayatollahs made already frankly unequivocal hints about the possibility of a warming of relations and a change in the position of the United States at the talks on the Iranian nuclear issue. On the other hand, a completely undisguised preparation of the left-wing radical terrorist group Mojaheddin-e-Khalk began to invade Iran, which was synchronized with the presidential elections. The ghost of the 2.0 Green Revolution was too obvious and frank. The evacuation of the families of the Mojaheddin-e-Khalk militants from Iraq to Spain before the elections in Iran was the last warning to the Iranian elite.
Khamenei understood the hint, and Rouhani’s reformer won the election in Iran, beating the conservative and quite passing candidates from the opposite camp in the first round. At the same time, the intrigue of the east was maintained until the last for the election campaign, and it was just before the voting that the balance leaned in favor of the current president. The repetition of the “Green Revolution” 2009 did not happen, and the new president practically took off at an unprecedented pace, putting his opponents inside the country before making unthinkable earlier decisions.
The time of signs and allusions has ended, and literally six months after the elections turned into key decisions on the Iranian nuclear program, opening up prospects for Iran to lift the sanctions, printing out for him the region of the Middle East and turning its virtual possibilities into quite real ones.
Iran will now have to guarantee the security of Afghanistan and become the backbone of the regime of Hamid Karzai after the withdrawal of NATO troops
However, not everything is so simple and good, and the Iranian leadership is aware of why Obama suddenly needed it. The price for "warming" relations with the West is extremely high. Now Iran is responsible for the elimination of the Salafi International, which is concentrated in the Sunni territories of Iraq and Syria. The size of this powerful conglomerate in 100 is thousands of people and the mobilization potential accumulated during the Arab Spring of at least half a million potential jihadists is a very serious threat to the stability not only of the Middle East.
Iran will now have to guarantee the security of Afghanistan and become the backbone of the Hamid Karzai regime after the withdrawal of NATO troops. Iran will have to eliminate the threat emanating from Saudi Arabia, which has suddenly been faced with the fact of betrayal by its most important ally. Finally, Iran faces the extremely difficult task of preventing conflict with Israel, which is extremely concerned about building up the power of its adversary and is capable of unexpected moves.
Provocation in Eastern Gute at the end of August 2013, in addition to the tasks of disrupting agreements between the US and Iran, carries with it a warning about the possibilities of a tactical alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, abandoned by its patron. The Kingdom, worried about the current situation, is rapidly creating a military-political alliance of the six Arabian monarchies as a response to the threat of Iran’s gain. The Arab Spring from the socio-economic explosion of underprivileged masses enters a phase of bloc confrontation, which looks much more dangerous and serious.
The contradictions between Iran and Saudi Arabia seem to be intractable, although factions have already emerged among the Saudi elite, ready to accept the current situation and suggest a different way of interaction than the confrontational one. However, while the probability of a collision between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not removed. Naturally, in the modern world, direct aggression and war are practically excluded, but a wealth of experience has been gained in indirectly collapsing the enemy. Saudi Arabia in this sense looks extremely vulnerable - along its perimeter there are points of tension and fault lines at which Iran is able to successfully conduct a series of extremely painful operations, the result of which could be the disintegration of the Kingdom. An additional source of instability in Saudi Arabia is the unsolved problem of the transfer of power between generations.
One way or another, 2013 has become a year of potential for Iran. The new President of the Republic has successfully dealt with previously unsolvable problems, but then he faces a great deal of trouble. Iran must pass along a narrow path, on the one hand, which is the interests of the country's peaceful development, on the other - the interests of the United States, for which it was “freed” from isolation. We need to find a way that suits Iran itself, and fulfills at least some of the tacit agreements with Obama. How to do this is a difficult question. It is even more difficult to pacify the agitated region and unite it with a new idea of Islamic modernization.
It depends on Russia whether we will be its subject or become the object of the Persian Renaissance.
Russia in this conglomerate of problems looks like a serious stabilizing factor that can allow Iran to solve difficult problems using an independent source of power from the United States. Iran’s interest in supra-state structures that are being formed in Eurasia’s space is obvious - it needs support in a rapidly changing environment. Russia, having created a strategic regional alliance with Iran, will get a partner with a strong economy, prospects and leadership in an extremely important region.
Another question is that this alliance must become equal, and for this we need to protect ourselves from the imperial aspirations of the Iranian leadership. Dizzy with success is a well-known problem, and Iran’s success may in some way allow its elite to view its allies as instruments of Iranian politics. It depends on Russia - whether we will be its subject or become the object of the Persian Renaissance. The question is still open.