Military Review

Chaos "Arab Spring". What will the Middle East look like in the next decade?

Three years of the “Arab Spring” do not give grounds for optimism. A more or less peaceful and successful transformation of power took place only in Tunisia. Egypt, to which the eyes of the whole world were riveted at the beginning of 2011, made a full circle of transformations and returned to the times of the Mubarak autocracy, only in much worse economic and political conditions. If in the last years of Mubarak’s rule the country was experiencing an economic boom, now Egypt has become a bankrupt state: we are seeing the collapse of the industry, the tourism crisis, the most severe budget deficit and the split of the society after the annual failure of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Libya, torn apart by tribal clashes, is no longer a full-fledged state. Rather, it is a conglomeration of rival tribes, clans and gangs. If you recall the events of 2011, at least two facts now cause a grin. The pretext for the aggression of NATO countries against a sovereign Libyan state was the shooting of a peaceful demonstration in Benghazi (the number of victims in the West was clearly exaggerated). In the summer of 2013, the Islamic Battalion of Misurata also fired on demonstrators in Benghazi, but this blatant violation of human rights did not cause any reaction in the West. In 2011, some conspiracy theorists noted that NATO’s armed intervention in the Libyan events was caused by the US intention to provide Europe with a new source of high-quality and cheap oil that could replace Iran, which is in an economic blockade. But after the tribes of Cyrenaica recently blocked the Libyan oil pipelines leading to the coast, it became obvious that the country was not able to saturate even its refineries and was experiencing gas interruptions. What to say about the export.

Syria, once a flourishing country, is half destroyed. The situation here is a dead end. Neither the government nor the armed opposition can win a military victory, but none of the country's political forces is ready for a compromise. The Syrian conflict, like the civil war in Lebanon, which lasted from 1975 to 1990 a year, threatens to become chronic and protracted. Most likely, it will spread to neighboring countries: Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. But the worst thing is that the events of the “Arab Spring” sharply deepened the contradictions between the secular forces and the Islamists, as well as between the Sunnis and Shiites.

Religious Wars

Revolutionary events in the Arab world began as a movement of protest of the masses against the "privatization" of power and property by a few elite circles closely associated with the ruling families. The crowd was especially annoyed with the intention to establish in a number of Arab countries “monarchist-type republics” in which power would be handed down from father to son. So it was, for example, in Syria, where Bashar Asad ascended the throne after his father Hafez. The protest sentiments here were fueled by the neo-liberal reforms of the Ba'athists, who actually abandoned socialism and put a significant part of the peasantry and state-owned enterprises on the brink of ruin. Thanks to external sponsors, peaceful protests turned into jihad. And since the leadership of the Syrian secret services and the army was dominated by the Alawites, Qatar and Saudi Arabia managed to shake the pendulum of hatred (although the rank and file representatives of the Alawi sect lived no better than their Sunni brethren)

Syria, which was once the most tolerant country in the Middle East, now lives in fear of religious persecution. Massive terror against the Syrian Christians by jihadists forced a fifth of them to leave the country. The atmosphere of mutual distrust reigns in some quarters of Damascus, where Alawites are wary of Sunnis and vice versa. So it can come to the new apartheid.

The region has a powerful anti-Shiite ideological and religious campaign funded by the Gulf states. It is conducted with the help of large satellite TV channels and social networks: Twitter and Facebook. Radical Salafi preachers call Shiites heretics, rafidites (apostates), and even "minions of Shaitan." What is worth only one attack of Sheikh Adnan al-Arura, who issued a fatwa that allowed the rape of Alawite women in Syria. Another Salafi cleric, originally from Kuwait, Nabil al-Awadi, in his blog on Twitter, talks about a conspiracy of Shiites who want to "destroy and smash the holy Kaaba stone." “Iraq is captured by the enemies,” he writes, “and we declare holy jihad to the“ henchmen of the Safavids ”(Safavids are the dynasty of the Shahs of Persia, during whose rule Shiism became the official religion of Iran). Let them know that the fear originated in their hearts will not leave them, no matter where they take refuge: in London, Washington or Moscow. ” In Egypt, where Shiites make up a small minority that does not affect the political situation, Wahhabi preacher Mohammed Zuegbi threatens to “cut off their fingers and tear out their tongues.”

The propaganda of hatred is already paying off. Take at least the disturbing events in Lebanon and Iraq. In Lebanon, since August of last year, there has been a real terrorist wave of such magnitude that many began to talk about the resumption of civil war in this state. 15 August 2013 exploded in the Behrut neighborhood of Dahie, the stronghold of Hezbollah, which killed 25 people. Responsibility assumed Salafi group, dissatisfied with the participation of Hezbollah in the civil war in Syria. On August 23, Salafi mosques were blown up in Tripoli in the north of the country. And it is possible that Lebanese Shiites were behind the bombings, who were thus trying to avenge their fellow believers. Finally, on November 19, a terrorist attack was committed against the Iranian embassy in Beirut. 24 people died and more than a hundred were injured. In general, more than 100 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks in a country that was not officially conducting hostilities in six months.

A difficult situation has also developed in Iraq, where the enmity of the Shiite and Sunni communities has led to armed conflict in the province of Anbar. The situation is exacerbated by short-sighted government policies, in which Shiite religious parties play a key role. Instead of seeking to consolidate Iraqi society, the authorities persistently pursue a policy of isolating Sunnis, subjecting the most active members of the community to repression. As a result, the Sunni provinces of Iraq have become a real al Qaeda bastion. The terrorist attacks only last December destroyed the 756 people, primarily representatives of Shiite Islam. And now in one of the largest cities in the country - Fallujah - a war is being waged with Sunni rebels.

"Great Middle East" or a pirate paradise?

So, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, religious wars broke out in the Middle East, comparable in intensity to the conflict between Catholics and Huguenots that swept Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among other things, this means that the region is rapidly becoming archaic. In all countries of the Middle East without exception (except Morocco and Algeria), state structures are becoming less effective. In some places, like in Libya and Yemen, they no longer exist at all. Under these conditions, not national but community, religious or clan identity comes to the fore. What can this lead to?

In November last year, an article by the famous American journalist and political scientist Robin Wright was published in the New York Times newspaper, which predicted that the map of the region would soon be changed beyond recognition. And it's hard to disagree. The system that emerged in the Middle East arose as a result of the Sykes-Pico Agreement 1916 of the year when Great Britain and France divided the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, having drawn artificial borders in the region. The desire to overcome them was expressed in a rush to pan-Arab unity after World War II. It was then that the Baath party began its activities, and at the same time Gamal Abdel Nasser’s integration projects appeared. However, great intentions were not realized. Selfishness and localism of secular elites hindered. In addition, supporters of the union faced a systematic opposition from the United States and the conservative monarchies of the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. New nations failed to create within the borders of individual Arab states.

How will the fate of the Middle East region? There are optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. Pessimists are convinced that we will witness further chaos and disintegration. Libya falls into two or three quasi-states: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. Cyrenaica, in which the main oil reserves are concentrated, sooner or later falls into the sphere of influence of the European Union.

Of course, the best option for Libya at this stage would be to join Egypt. This option, on the one hand, would allow breathing new life into the Egyptian economy (thanks to oil investments), and on the other, would provide the wise leadership of Cairo to the rebellious Libyan tribes. However, in the context of political instability in Egypt itself, this scenario seems unlikely. By the way, further chaos in Libya is fraught for the EU with a revival of threats that the Europeans have not heard for more than two hundred years. In the 16th – 17th centuries, the Western Mediterranean was kept at bay by Berberian pirates who captured ships and plundered coastal villages. The threat of piracy in the region disappeared only after the French colonial conquest of Algeria, but now it can again become a reality.

The possibility of disintegration of Syria is also very large. If the civil war in the country continues, the Sunni fundamentalist enclave is likely to arise in the north. The extremist organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) calls for its unification with the provinces of Anbar and Mosul in Iraq, which, of course, will lead to the final disintegration of this country. The Shiite provinces in the south form a separate state, imbued with Iran.

However, this is unlikely to mean the end of the Iranian-Saudi confrontation. The “cold war” between Riyadh and Tehran is being waged in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and even in Yemen, where Shiite Zeidites enjoy increasing support from Iran. By the way, Yemen, probably, also expects decay. The southern provinces of the country, which once built socialism in the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen, are extremely unhappy with the discrimination of the northern tribes. An independence movement is gaining more and more scope in the south of the country.

If Iraq collapses, further radicalization of the Kurdish issue is inevitable. In the case of the separation of Sunni provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan, which is already de facto independent of Baghdad, will declare its independence de jure and will become an assembly point for other Kurdish lands. The Kurds, who live in the Syrian northeastern provinces, have already gained wide autonomy from Damascus, agreeing to wage an armed struggle against jihadists. If Syria ceases to exist as a single state, they will in any case turn their eyes towards Iraqi Kurdistan. Moreover, it is worth noting that Kurdistan is the most stable and economically developed region of modern Iraq. Then come the turn and the Kurdish regions of Turkey. The Turkish government should not be under the illusion that Ankara resolved the Kurdish issue by becoming the largest economic partner of Iraqi Kurdistan and establishing allied relations with President Massoud Barzani. Barzani is not eternal, and the process of national awakening, as is known, is not subject to rational considerations. Erdogan and his advisers are deeply mistaken that they managed to relieve the tension, giving the rights to the Kurdish language in Turkey. As we know, the process of secession of the Baltic republics from the USSR also began with the struggle for equal rights of local languages. An independent Kurdistan is likely to become a strategic partner of the United States and Israel in the Middle East.

It remains to add a few words about the position of external players. The United States bears a considerable share of responsibility for what is happening now in the region. It was Washington that supported the authoritarian dictatorships (for example, the same Mubarak). It was the Americans in 2003 who, under a false pretext, destroyed Iraq by waking up demons of religious intolerance. However, in the next ten to fifteen years, the Middle East seems to be sidelined on the American agenda. The reason is that the strategic confrontation between the United States and China has recently become more acute, and the center of gravity in Washington’s policy has been shifted to the Pacific region. Therefore, having concluded a “big deal” with Iran, the Americans, according to the chairman of the Islamic Committee in Russia, Geidar Jemal, leave this state alone with the hatred of a Sunni street. The Sunni-Shiite conflict, according to American strategists, should divert radical Islamists from attacks against the West and for a long time prevent the formation of an independent center of power in the Arab world.

Of course, a positive change is possible. The reason for optimism is the fact that Al-Qaida and similar organizations have no future. They have neither an ideology, nor an intelligible political program, and the will to die will not be able to inspire their supporters for a long time. In the Arab world, of course, there are passionate young people, who have long sought to get out of the influence of religious extremists. The new doctrine, which will be able to unite young passionaries, will, in the opinion of optimists, combine the features of humanistic Islam and renewed Arab socialism. Another condition for the revival of the Arab world is the formation of the Cairo – Damascus – Baghdad axis, which must return the original meaning to the three traditional centers of power in the region. If this happens, then over the next ten to fifteen years we will witness the rebirth of the "great Middle East."
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  1. AVV
    AVV 30 January 2014 12: 27
    Here he is the project of the USA planting American democracy everywhere, now Libya, the former flourishing social state, was driven into the Stone Age, where people lived and had no problems, now they are migrating to the same west !!! They want to do the same with Ukraine !!! people traveled around the world at work, and how the same Poles grafted on the thresholds of Lords and burghers !!!
  2. svp67
    svp67 30 January 2014 15: 34
    What will the Middle East be like in the next decade?
    The same as always - REST ...
    1. Vovka levka
      Vovka levka 30 January 2014 18: 37
      Quote: svp67
      The same as always - REST ...

      Add - A little more, a little less.
    GREAT RUSSIA 30 January 2014 15: 44
    Everything that happens in the Middle East can be defined like this: "For what we fought for, we ran into that." They wanted democracy, please, here it is: anarchy, corruption, death of hundreds of people, thousands of injured. They wanted prosperity, this is it: the actual death of industry, a dying tourism industry. All this garbage only in Egypt benefited, and even then the military. And by In the course of the Arab Spring, only now in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, they should have understood that the boomerang always returns, the main thing is to catch. But apparently the monarchy of the Gulf will not catch a boomerang, it will hit them in the neck (or head) and The West and America will also regret, after the Arab Spring these terrorists will go to the West, to America, to Turkey, where they will preach their Jihad, and then the Americans will be seriously hurt.
  4. RUSS
    RUSS 30 January 2014 15: 46
    The US plan for a "parade of sovereignty in the Middle East" is beginning to bear fruit. Iraq and Libya won't fall apart today tomorrow, who's next? Syria? Hopefully Saudi Arabia!
    1. alone
      alone 30 January 2014 22: 33
      Quote: RUSS
      Hope Saudi Arabia!

      and don’t hope! Sa is always in the sphere of interests of the Americans. They won’t replace the authorities, let alone make a mess there. There are hundreds of billions of American money there. They don’t risk that kind of money.
      1. RUSS
        RUSS 31 January 2014 11: 19
        Quote: lonely
        Quote: RUSS
        Hope Saudi Arabia!

        and don’t hope! Sa is always in the sphere of interests of the Americans. They won’t replace the authorities, let alone make a mess there. There are hundreds of billions of American money there. They don’t risk that kind of money.

        Being a friend of the United States is more dangerous than being a US enemy ....
  5. rugor
    rugor 30 January 2014 15: 47
    The United States has a considerable share of responsibility for what is happening in the region now.

    More precisely, full responsibility, or rather, complete impunity, since there is no one to ask from them.
  6. Same lech
    Same lech 30 January 2014 15: 57
    The bonfire of the war is blazing in the Middle East — the United States has achieved its goal.

    In vain, some forum users think this this fire of death will not be able to spread to us — it’s just a matter of time — and we need to be ready to MEET IT IN ALL-ARMENIA — the first signs of impending disaster are UKRAINE with its crazy Maidan.
      GREAT RUSSIA 30 January 2014 16: 44
      Quote: The same LYOKHA
      In vain, some forum users think this this fire of death will not be able to spread to us — it’s just a matter of time — and we need to be ready to MEET IT IN ALL-ARMENIA — the first signs of impending disaster are UKRAINE with its crazy Maidan.

      Personally, I know this very well, I live in the North Caucasus, which means that these creatures will be the first to come to us.
      1. smersh70
        smersh70 30 January 2014 16: 49
        Quote: GREAT RUSSIA
        which means that these creatures are the first to come to us.

        first to us smile
        US National Intelligence Director James Klapper spoke at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on global threat assessments with a statement that is also a warning to Azerbaijan. He stated that Syria is gradually turning into a “new” Afghanistan - a hotbed of terrorism and radicalism, but actually on the borders of Europe. According to him, the An-Nusra Front and similar radical Islamist groups involved in the hostilities began to create training camps for training foreign mercenaries, who will have to return to their homeland and start jihad there after training, ”Associated reports Press According to Klapper, today about 26 thousand extremist fighters and about 7 thousand 7 thousand foreign fighters from 50 countries of the world are fighting against the Assad regime in Syria, there are training camps in this country to train terrorists. Among foreign fighters in Syria there are many Azerbaijani citizens . This week, the head of the Caucasus Muslims Office, Sheikh-ul-Islam, Haji Allahshukur Pashazade, directly accused the sons of a number of high-ranking Azerbaijani officials who finance the sending of militants to the war in Syria. According to the sheikh, these ministerial children are moving into alien “tarigats,” with the goal of creating a caliphate.
        1. Black
          Black 30 January 2014 17: 47
          Quote: smersh70
          first to us

          ... well .... "We can't live without each other!" what

          And soon they will understand this in Georgia, Armenia ....
        2. Ascetic
          Ascetic 30 January 2014 18: 56
          Quote: smersh70
          Personally, I know this very well, I live in the North Caucasus, which means that these creatures will be the first to come to us.

          Quote: smersh70
          first to us

          They will gradually come to everyone, sooner or later. The fact is that global corporations do not need independent strong and developing states, so it is easier to get access to resources (without any bureaucratic obstacles), labor, sales markets and, most importantly, keep everyone in the dollar curb. When there was a confrontation with the USSR in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, on the contrary, they needed dictatorships and strong states - vassals that could resist the same pro-Soviet states (as the Americans themselves said about these, although they are a son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch). Let us recall South Africa, a country with nuclear weapons and strong power was needed to resist the USSR in Angola, when the USSR collapsed, strong and independent states were no longer needed, or God forbid, they begin to pump up the rights. To create anti-American alliances and, most importantly, they will try to dispose of resources themselves and refuse from the dollar. So the controlled process of destruction and chaotization of these countries that had developed during the confrontation with the USSR began. The same South Africa released a mandela and he turned the country into a bantustan not dangerous to America and went under the guise of implanting democracy, reformatting the world to please a group of monopolists and several banking families. We started from the Middle East and Africa with the richest regions in energy resources. Those who in any way resist such a policy are declared outcasts and put on the waiting list for democratization. And all this religious terror has been nurtured by them. Moreover, this is the old Anglo-Saxon policy of destroying unwanted countries and empires. Just as the BV is now being razed, the Ottoman Empire was destroyed, not without the help of the Wahhabite sect created by the British. They also had a hand in the Russian one. This is why it is so important not to let Syria die and to delay the spread of further destruction. It is necessary to create anti-American centers of power and Unions, which Russia is trying to do, otherwise one by one all "independent" countries will sooner or later face the fate of Syria and Iraq, especially if they have oil or gas. Or external control through compradors or chaos and ethnic and religious wars and the transformation of states into bantustans.
  7. 787nkx
    787nkx 30 January 2014 17: 20
    We'll have to strengthen the border, strengthen the border garrisons, and please the friendly neighbors.
    In general, this spring will cost us dearly.
  8. Bosk
    Bosk 30 January 2014 17: 44
    Libya, Egypt, Syria, and if you dig further, then the same Lebanon ... who is next?
  9. shelva
    shelva 30 January 2014 18: 02
    Of course, the best option for Libya at this stage would be joining Egypt. Such an option, on the one hand, would allow breathing new life into the Egyptian economy (thanks to oil investments), and on the other, it would provide the wise leadership of Cairo to the rebellious Libyan tribes.

    Firstly, where is the wise leadership in Egypt now ?, and secondly, how can Libya join someone if it falls apart.
    Muammar, ours, Gaddafi managed to unite all the tribes of Berbers, Tuaregs and even reconcile them with the Arabs. Being a personality, highly charismatic, he had an absolutely independent judgment about the needs of the state and the aspirations of the people. He invented and built "Islamic socialism" in spite of the most powerful opposition from both the West and the Islamic East.
    There is no such leader now, and the crowd of semi-literate people, tainted by alien ideas, has no reference points.
  10. atalef
    atalef 30 January 2014 22: 39
    the article is superficial, many of the stabilizing as well as destabilizing factors are not mentioned
    In general, for the first time I see an article on BV, and with such a big name, where neither Israel nor Palestine is mentioned, only due to this article is a minuscule,
    What hornos can you do excluding from it the main players
    1. Gorinich
      Gorinich 31 January 2014 13: 49
      Israel and Zionism have no future, all its inhabitants are potential victims, regardless of brilliant victories or the presence of nuclear weapons. Therefore, if you look at a very distant future, then there is no Israel in the Middle East.