The crisis in Ukraine demonstrated the reality of the exacerbation of the military-political confrontation in Europe, which since the collapse of Yugoslavia has remained in the realm of theory. The policy of expansion in the post-Soviet space, aimed at “containing Russia in its natural limits”, met with the answer in the form to which those who had substantiated it and had implemented it for a quarter of a century, were clearly not ready.
The inadequate reaction of the leading US and EU politicians to the referendum in Crimea and its reunification with Russia, and then to the expansion of opposition between the new authorities in Kiev and their opponents in the east of Ukraine makes one suspect that there are no realistic leaders in the leadership of NATO countries, which is dangerous in itself. The same can be said about the expert community. According to the dominant theories, realists who perceive the world as it is and not as it should be, still have no chance to participate in the development and decision-making at the highest level.
At the same time, despite the statements of all new politicians about sanctions against Russia, these sanctions themselves remain the subject of more theoretical than practical. Reasoning senior American leadership about the necessity and inevitability of isolating Moscow are an integral part of the information war, but probing the readiness of even the closest allies of the United States to participate in the formation of such isolation at their own expense demonstrates their lack of enthusiasm.
Germany, France and a number of not so significant partners of Russia from among the NATO countries support point sanctions against certain individuals, including those not having any relation to the situation in Ukraine, and organizations, when and if these individuals and organizations are not tied to strategically important for them contracts. Turkey does not do that either. Israel abstained from voting in the UN, referring to the strike of the Foreign Ministry staff, postponed the visit of the Prime Minister and sent to the tank biathlon competition not a team, but a group of observers. The states of the Asia-Pacific Region are trying to figure out the Russian market, preparing to intercept it from European suppliers, if they still leave it.
The suspension of Russia's cooperation with NATO in terms of the lack of procurement of weapons and military equipment in Western countries is an unexpected gift for the Russian defense industry. As for the termination of internships in the West for servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, it was hardly worthy to call it cooperation in the best of times. All that is important for the United States and the European Union in their partnership with Russia remains unchanged.
At the same time, the general atmosphere created by foreign media writing about Russia recalls the times of the Cold War, with a mass of fraud and misinformation. An attempt to understand the reasons for such a harsh, unexpected for sincere supporters of Russia's European integration in the domestic political establishment of the West's reaction to Moscow’s actions in the Ukrainian crisis, which was not provoked by the Russian leadership, is forced to draw several conclusions.
First, the West was clearly not ready to meet with a situation of this kind and does not have an adequate response to it. Secondly, the point is not in the Crimea or Ukraine as a whole - the stakes are obviously much higher. Thirdly, the referendum in the Crimea and the consistent position of the Russian leadership, voiced by the Foreign Ministry on this occasion, caused a severe crisis in and around the western community, fraught with consequences for this community.
A characteristic, though not the most significant symptom of what is happening, was the decision of Rais PNA Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen to reconcile with Hamas in the framework of the idea of the national unity of the Palestinian people. Moscow welcomed this decision, was condemned in Washington, and was assessed in Jerusalem as the completion of attempts to negotiate a peace settlement. The latter have long since exhausted themselves and kept solely on the demands of the United States to continue the negotiation process, which has almost become the main priority of Secretary of State Kerry.
The fact that the Palestinian-Israeli peace process was a failure and was it from the very beginning is an open secret. The maximum concessions that the negotiating parties are ready to make are far from the “red lines”, for which they cannot retreat. However, until now, the top Palestinian leadership has refrained from steps that could finally bury the talks, including because it depends on cooperation with Jerusalem in the security sphere, as well as money from Israel, the United States and the EU. The share of taxes in the formation of the PNA budget does not exceed 15 percent, and the assistance from the countries of the Islamic world is seven to ten percent.
Did Abu-Mazen consciously wait for the moment when disagreements among the co-sponsors, albeit unrelated to the Palestinian issue, are so great that any concerted actions of the Quartet regarding his reconciliation decision with Hamas are impossible, or so coincided that Ramallah and Gaza simultaneously exhausted the scenarios of independent development, no one will say. However, the decision was made, it was announced. As a result, it remains to wait, in what form and with what degree of rigidity Israel will react.
At a minimum, Jerusalem will freeze all political contacts with the PNA and stop those transfers to Ramallah of tax duties and customs duties, which they have been used to as indispensable and obligatory for 20 years. Although these payments from the very beginning were the result of an exclusively voluntary decision of the Israeli authorities, designed to stimulate the development of the Palestinian economy, and not the plunder of funds by the Palestinian population, which repeats history with Russian discounts on the price of natural gas for Ukraine.
As a maximum, the idea of cantonization of the Palestinian territories, which was once put forward by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, will be developed. Fortunately, statehood in a number of countries in the Middle East, not to mention Africa, is crumbling. Countries with formal attributes of statehood, such as Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and the Central African Republic, not to mention the newly emerged South Sudan, are falling apart before our eyes. Why shouldn't this happen to a Palestinian state that has never become a state? Moreover, centrifugal tendencies on its territory are manifested much more clearly than centripetal ones.
This is not only about the desire of Christians to consolidate the stature quo in those enclaves that they have not yet lost, but they ceased to be the majority of the population in almost all the localities where they constituted it at the time of the signing of the Israeli agreement with the PLO. The Islamization of Iraq, the destruction of the Christian communities of Syria, the irreversible displacement of the ethno-confessional balance in Lebanon and the ousting of the Egyptian Copts from Egypt took place at least as part of civil wars and revolutions. But in the territories controlled by the PNA, the reduction of the Christian population since the beginning of the 90s is no less than in the most conflict areas of the Middle Eastern Region.
Expansion of the practice of invoking Israeli Christians to the army is voluntary, but according to agendas, an indicator of the implementation of the principle “no loyalty is no citizenship”, which in the near future should be extended to Jewish Orthodox and Muslim Arabs, as long as neither the call nor the alternative service is not subject to. Although the Circassians, Druze and Bedouins serve in the Israeli IDF (Bedouins - voluntarily). A strategic change in Israel’s approach to relations with its own citizens cannot but affect the change in its approach to the Palestinian residents of the West Bank, Judea and Samaria.
In addition to Christians, Palestinian society includes many sub-ethnic groups - from descendants of Sudanese slaves liberated by the British in the early 20-s to Kurds, which number several hundred thousand. As well as Samaritans, Jews, ethnic Georgians, Greeks, French, Bedouins and many others. All these groups have their own identity, do not mix with each other and, as a rule, have big claims to official Ramallah, which can be implemented as soon as they get the opportunity to enter into agreements with Jerusalem directly. Moreover, each Palestinian village has its own hierarchy of clans and clan leaders, which the PNA authorities do not obey or are subject to very conditionally.
Cantonization is a natural and inevitable consequence of the agreement between Abu Mazen and Hamas, it changes the entire format of Palestinian-Israeli relations. And this is most likely a matter of the near future. However, such changes are taking place not only in this corner of the region and not only in the Middle and Near East. Traditional Western mechanisms of checks and balances begin to slip for objective reasons, but this does not soothe Brussels and Washington.
For example, in North Africa, France, even with political and logistical support from the United States, cannot stop the genocide in the Central African Republic, where clashes between Christians and Muslims became the main events of the current month. The peacekeeping mission in Mali is unsuccessful - mechanized and usual for the French to restore order in the former colonies of the Sahara and Sahel aviation patrols without relations with leaders of tribal groups were ineffective. To establish them with the leaders of the Tuareg of Azavad does not give resistance to the government in Bamako attempts to involve them in the system of distribution of power and income.
In Nigeria, the expanding attacks of the Islamists “Boko Haram”, exciting hundreds of hostages, including children and adolescents studying in colleges and schools that this organization opposes, call into question the existence of this most densely populated African state with the continent’s largest economy. And all this is happening against the background of the ongoing confrontation between the Islamic north and the Christian south of the country and the expansion of tribal conflicts.
In Djibouti, the United States with difficulty lobbied the refusal of the local government for Beijing to build a PRC naval base on the territory of this strategically important state of the Horn of Africa. It is symptomatic that they recently agreed to grant the right to build such a Tokyo base along with the bases of France and the United States operating in Djibouti. At a minimum, this development, while China’s role as the largest investor in hydrocarbon production and the development of East African infrastructure, means starting regional rivalry between the western bloc and China for controlling the ways of transporting cargo in the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
The expansion of the Yemen conflict between Shiite houses, al-Qaida and Sunni tribal associations takes place against the background of the intrigues of ex-President Saleh, who did much to ensure that the Housits won a victory over their compatriots who refused to hand over the presidency to his son. Against the background of strengthening positions in the race for the presidency of Hadi, who is the successor of Saleh, and the conflict in the oppositional union Lika Mushtarak, which overthrew Salekh, a struggle for power began among the Yemenites-southerners, traditionally distinguished by a high level of separatism.
The destruction of several dozen Islamist terrorists by American UAVs in Yemen, widely publicized by the Western media, did not have a noticeable impact on them. The “cloning” of al-Qaida’s structures in Yemen is a constant factor, as is the rivalry on its territory of Saudi Arabia and Iran with the minimal role of the United States.
A characteristic, albeit unexpected, consequence of the Ukrainian crisis was an attempt to lobby Russia for deliveries of MANPADS to Yemen to counter the American UAV. Simply put, the Yemeni Islamists attempted to hold the same combination in Moscow, which at one time succeeded the Afghan Islamists in Washington. He in the 80-e put them "Stingers", which led to the sad consequences not only of the USSR. It should be noted that the Russian leadership, unlike the American one, did not go for such an operation, despite the current deterioration in bilateral relations.
The high significance of what is happening in the interior of Africa, which supplies world markets with strategically important raw materials (uranium to France from the countries of the Sahel), or peripheral countries of the BSV, the presence in which military bases and BLA base stations allow the Western community to control sea routes. The main threats to the stability of the existing world order, however, are hidden in the possibility of global changes in the countries of the Persian Gulf and the Maghreb.
In North Africa, it is Algeria, the last country in the region, ruled by a secular military junta. Another victory in the presidential election of Bouteflika Pyrrhus, she split the establishment. The open conflict between the leadership of the special services and the officials responsible for the election campaign is a front that is dangerous for the future of the country. Moreover, it takes place against the background of the expanding confrontation between the Arabs and the Berbers-Mozabig in Ghardaia and the intensification of the Islamists in the Algerian Sahara.
The influence of the USA and France on what is happening in Algeria is weak. Their support of Morocco, the main regional rival of Algeria, does not contribute to the expansion of military-political cooperation with either the former metropolis or the United States. At the same time, Algeria, after a catastrophic drop in oil production in Libya as a result of the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, is for the EU countries one of the main sources of hydrocarbons alternative to Russia. The aggravation of the situation in this country will lead to a serious crisis in the European economy, as was the case after the Islamists seized the Al-Agriya oil and gas production complex "In-Amenas".
Libya provides a classic example of the "somatization" of a large oil-producing country after the overthrow of an authoritarian regime. Democracy in Arabic led to a split of the state into tribes, the Islamic Emirates (in Libya in Derna), structures close to Al-Qaeda, and territorial "brigades" (Zintana, Misurati and others). Taking control of oil production sites, pipelines and terminals by armed groups is incompatible with a normal economy, although it can bring income in the form of smuggling. The US seizure of a North Korean tanker loaded with “regionals” bypassing Tripoli demonstrates the prospects for the development of the oil industry in this country.
The stability of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is also questionable. The conflict between the UAE, Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with Iran, the confrontation between the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the danger that the Arab monarchies of the Gulf have for migrant workers adds to the split in the GCC. We are talking about the frictions of Qatar with KSA, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain due to Doha’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and about the plans for the integration of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which are opposed by the rest of the alliance. However, the main threat to the system is the disintegration of large states in the region: Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq.
The American map of a potential redistribution of borders in the region that caused a lot of noise at the time was nothing more than an attempt to simulate the development of trends visible to the naked eye. Iraq can be considered a single state very conditionally today. Kurdistan, Sunni areas (some as the Islamic Emirates) and Basra may cease to obey Baghdad at any time. It was not by chance that during the preparation of this article, it became known that the Iraqi Air Force for the first time struck in Syria a blow at the Sunni jihadists moving to the Iraqi border.
Syria’s future as a unified state is also more than doubtful. Splitting the country into five or six or more enclaves, including the Christian, Druze, Kurdish, Alawite and Sunni, given the development of the jihadist movement in this country is not the worst outcome for the population. Although it is likely to bring down the Hashemite regime in neighboring Jordan. However, the key problem of the region is the preservation of the unity of Saudi Arabia, which can break up into separate areas, including the Jafarit (Eastern Province), Zeidit (Asher), Ismaili (Najran), Salafi (Nejd) and moderately Sunni (Tihama) population.
According to American and European analysts, the events in Ukraine have shown that the decisive voice in territorial disputes is not necessarily left to the Western community, and thus the Pandora box opens. It is a question of the West losing its decision-making monopoly within the framework of the existing system of checks and balances, which ignores the interests of all other players besides Washington and, to some extent, Brussels.
Given the growing contradictions between the rich regions of the EU, seeking greater independence, the system of world order that emerged after the dissolution of the CMEA, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union may change irreversibly in the near future. This, of course, is not about restoring the USSR or joining Corsica, Scotland, Veneto, Flanders, Catalonia, Basque Country and other “European Dissidents” to Switzerland or Russia, but about things that are much more important.
Losing control of events on the BAS and in Africa, the Western community suddenly demonstrated its inability to control the situation in Europe itself. NATO cannot fight with Russia, and the leadership of the alliance is well aware of this. In the absence of a direct military threat, of which the Russian Federation in relation to the West is not, casualties inevitable in this conflict will bring down any government. Sanctions against the Russian Federation scare few people in Moscow and obviously will not be effective. Further developments are unpredictable. It is impossible to admit the rightness of Russia, having signed on to their unprofessionalism. Where, in fact, inadequate reaction. What can understand and sympathize.