Saturday, July 07, 2007

Middle East 2025

I wish I had written this article. By Dan Smith in the Asian Times.

It's about the back channels starting between the Saudis and Iranians (we know they already worked together on the Palestinian Unity Gov't before it collapsed).

Smith writes:
Sensing a possible change in the balance of power in the Gulf as the coalition military forces leave Iraq, the Iranians secretly approach Saudi Arabia with a proposal to stabilize the political-economic conditions in the Persian Gulf – Caspian Sea oil fields.

The core of the proposal calls for Riyadh and Tehran to pressure Baghdad diplomatically (and with the sectarian militias always in the background) to reject any form of a residual US military presence in Iraq. In return, both Iran and Saudi Arabia would assist the redevelopment of Iraq's oil sector, enabling the three countries to form a powerful sub-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries triumvirate.
However, the revival of widespread violence associated with the historical Shi'ite-Sunni sectarianism is largely the result of an inexcusable misreading of the region's history and the subsequent mishandling of the post-March 2003 occupation by the US-led coalition.

Given its origin, this violence should decline in parallel with the departure of occupying forces. Equally, the departure of foreign forces will elevate the Iraqi military from its present regional (and thus essentially tribal) security focus to the broader national horizon, both in terms of its operations and its national symbolism. And in this latter role, it would re-affirm the self-identity of Iraq and Iraqis.
In other words, the Iraqi War will be the 30 Years War equivalent to the Arab world, where:
That is, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq - while resting on only a quasi-religious rationale - are the Islamic equivalent of the 30 Years' War, which redrew the religious boundaries between the Protestant and Catholic realms in Europe and ended the Holy Roman Empire.

Thereafter, Europe focused its energies more on political-economic rather than political-religious concerns. Once the Western armies leave Iraq, it will also be able to put sectarianism aside and, along with the wider Middle East, rebuild its political-economic sectors and rejoin the community of nations as a fully functioning nation-state.
In other words, Bush will go down by his failure of bringing about the real modernization of the Middle East, which can never happen as long as it is controlled by European powers (Britain, France, Soviets, then US). I think there may be more violence than Smith conjectures between the Saudis and the Iranians, but the future of the post-Protestant/Catholic, Shia/Sunni Middle East is the Saudi and Iranian regimes calling for a peace.


Post a Comment

<< Home