Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Armenia

Turkey’s Strategy

In part one, I explained the many problems that Turkey resolved with its neighboring States such as Greece, Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  The long-term strategy of the Turkish State in the coming two decades is to be at a par  with Italy, France, and Spain in deciding for the Mediterranean Sea peace, security, and development. To be able to be a credible partner and valued mediator Turkey has, in the mean time, to iron out all its historical and current difficulties with its global neighboring regions such as the Balkan States (such as Bulgaria, Romainia, Albania, and Serbia), the Caucasus States (such as Armenia, Azerbajan, Georgia, and Tchechnia), the Central Asian States (such as Tajikistan, and Uzbakistan), the Middle East States (such as Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan), the Near East States (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine), the major north African States (Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco), and the Arab Gulf States. 

The Balkan States have over four centuries of interactions with the Othoman Empires.  Even in the 15th century, most princes in the Balkan States were vassals to the Turkish Prince who later will be called Sultan and the Caliph of Moslem after defeating the Mamelouk Sultan of Egypt in the 16th century.  Even the Byzantium Emperor was a vassal, paid tribute,  and had to join the Turkish Prince in his expansion wars.  After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, (the Turkish Prince had build a navy and blocked any sea entrance to Constantinople for sea supplies and secour by Genoa and Venice), the Othoman Empire expanded to all Central Europe and the Caucasus region. 

The Othoman Empire set siege twice to Vienne (later the Capital of the Habsburg Empire) and Vienna suffered famine and was saved at the nick of time.  At that time, there was no Russian Empire and the only Kingdom that could come to the rescue was the Catholic Kingdom of Poland that included current Belorussia and Ukraine.  Obviously, Greece was also part of Othoman Empire and the dividing line between Turkey and the rest of Europe was the Danub River (the eastern part of Hungary was under Othoman domination.)

Emperess Catherine of Russia in the 18th century expanded the Russian Empire toward the Caucasus and Central Europe.  The Balkan States were freed from the Othoman occupation but were vassals to various European Nations such as France, England, Russia, and mainly Austria (that was desintegrated after WWI) as the Othoman Empire (allied to Germany) was then defeated.  Communist Russia or the Soviet Union set claim to most of the Caucasus States and a few Central Europe States. 

The Caucasus region and many Central European States share many cultural, customs, linguistic, and culinary traditions (even among the Orthodox Christians) with the Turkish traditions.  It seems that Turkey managed diplomatic and political entente with most of these States and the oil pipelines crossing Turkey from the oil production sources in Azerbajan and the Ural region of Russia are vital economic relief to all these regional States. Turkey managed a peaceful settlement of the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabach within Azerbajan.

During the Cold War, the military regime in Turkey sided with the USA against Communist Russia and Turkey was included in the OTAN.  As West Germany was the main buffer Zone to the remaining Western European States, Turkey was the main buffer zone to the effective expansion of the Soviet Unions in the Middle East.  Israel was but a secondary ally and a typical mercenary State that the Western Powers supplied financially, militarily, economically, and politically so that the Israeli Jewish soldiers pay the price for believing that they were building their ancestral mythical State (that never existed historically but in stories in their Bible).  Fact is, most Arab States had sided with the US who purchased oil and supported the Arab monarchies and dictators.

The Soviet Unions extended defensive arms to the Middle East States because it refused to witness a reverse immigration of the Russian Jews.  Egypt was the main State that received substantial economic and financial aid from Soviet Unions, not because Egypt was viewed as the largest Arab State but mainly because Egypt did not consider itself directly concerned with the Israeli/Palestinian cause until the invasion of Israel, France, and England in 1956 on the Suez canal.

Turkey and Iran have a long history of interactions since antiquity.  Fact is, most of the Persian dynasties were Turkish in origine.  In the 18th century, the Persian Safafid dynasty was indeed a Turkish tribe and then, it turned to Chiaa Islamic sect and expanded its territory all the way to Afganistan and Central Asia.  Then, as it wanted to expand westward, the Othoman Sultan defeated badly the Safafid monarch and the current borders between the two nations were drawn at that period and remain intact since then.  Thus, the Othoman Sultan got control of Iraq and the Arabic Peninsula (current Saudi Arabia).

As the tribe of Seoud in the Hijjaz reverted to a fundamentalist Wahhabit sect and expanded in the Arabic Peninsula then, the Othoman Sultan dispatched one of his generals Muhammad Ali (Albanian of origine) to crush the Wahhabit revolts.  Muhammad Ali was very successful and destroyed the Seoud tribe Capital.  Thus, Muhammad Ali was appointed governor of Egypt and then, turned against his master and established his own dynasty in Egypt.  Consequently, the political relationship between Turkey (OTAN) and Egypt of Gamal Abdel Nasser (who had no option left but to side with Russia for military hardware and economic development) were mainly cold for over 35 years.  Turkey is attempting to warm up with Egypt, but the current Mubarak political regime in Egypt is viewing the growing power of Turkey with suspicion since it supplanted Egypt as the main power broker in the Middle East with the Western nations.

Modern Turkey is no longer an Othoman Empire but its rapid strategy, in the last two decades, to link up with all its regional States that were part and parcel of its vast Empire for over 4 centuries is giving ammunition to the so-called “moderate” isolationist and defeatist States in the Arab World (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco) that refuse to reform and plan for the future.

Fact is, Turkey is the cornerstone State for the larger alliance among Iran, Syria, and Iraq for a stronger and much more stable Middle East political climate.

The two most powerful regional powers: Turkey and Iran; (Nov. 10, 2009)

Turkey is the 16th ranked economy and Iran the 17th, with the understanding that Turkey has no oil or gas production while Iran was the second exporter of oil and the second in world’s reserve.

Turkey has a population of 70 million while Iran is about 60 million.

Iran is much larger than Turkey in size, but the two nations are big enough to be considered continent ,self-sufficient and independent nations.

Turkey planned to be  the turnpike for most of oil and gas pipelines originating in Russia, Iran, and central Asia and converging to Europe.  (The upheaval in Syria is mainly due to foiling Turkey strategy). Iran has a strategic access to the Straight of Hermouz.

Russia has borders with both nations that dictated the foreign policies of both countries.  Both countries have over 7 States along their borders.

Both nations share the Kurdish problem for self-autonomy: The Kurds are about over 20 millions and live in inaccessible mountain chains and high plateaus in Iraq; they overflow to vast regions in East Turkey, West Iran, and North Syria.

Turkey is mostly Moslem Sunnis and Iran Moslem Shiaa since the 18th century. Turkey has the least number of Christian  in the Moslem world in proportion to the total population, due to successive genocide policies in the last century that forced the minorities to exit this country. Before last century, the Ottoman Empire was the most lenient empire in matter of religious belief.

Since antiquity, Turkey influence reached to the Euphrates River in Syria while Iran to the Tigers River in Iraq. Both large rivers take sources in Turkey. and the Euphrates River crosses Syria and Iraq.

The good news is that these two most powerful regional powers have many interests in common that dwarf any petty political divergences; they are the cornerstone for a new economic and strategic alliance in the Middle East.

Turkey has cultural and linguistic influence in Azerbaijan, the Caucasus regions, Serbia regions, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran has the same kinds of influence in most of these regions in addition to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Brief history:

Throughout antiquity till our modern days 3 main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast economic and political empires before the advent of Islam. Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires, but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs.

Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and the most advanced in civilization.

Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities, but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali.

The former 3 empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects.

The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of about 70 millions and increasing at high rates.

The Iranian empires relied on Afghanistan’s and the central Asian’s tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive.

The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.

As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions, then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive.

The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Kars” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

Modern Status:

In around 1920’s, two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey.  Rida “shah” in Iran and Mustapha Kemal “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.   Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin.  Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long-term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more lenient with its minorities, it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage; for example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish.  Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.

In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they constitute 65% in universities.

In the 70’s, Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long-term, oil in underdeveloped nations is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was $14 billions and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates.

Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities; they had this implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

Turkey is a member of NATO and has a chance to joining the European Union.  Turkey is out of its 60 years hibernation and is currently very active in Middle East Affairs.  Turkey was on excellent terms with Syria (until 2011): they recently opened their borders to enter without visas and are conducting joint military maneuvers.  Turkey is about to reach a peace agreement with the Kurdish opposition movement.

Iran is struggling to be incorporated in the world community and the nuclear issue is poisoning its relations with the western nations.

Note 1 :  this is a revised and updated version of my post “Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)”

Note 2:  Turkey has the potential to normalize its political and diplomatic relations with almost all Islamic and Arab States except Saudi Arabia.  The most obscurantist theocratic and monarchic Wahhabi sect would never forgive Ottoman Turkey to have sent a military expeditionary force in the 19th century that destroyed and erased the Wahhabi Capital in Najd.

The same Wahhabi dynasty would never normalize relation with Shiaa Iran because it is always feeling insecure of this close powerful State that infiltrated the northern regions of Saudi Arabia in the last two centuries.

Turkey is currently the main cornerstone regional power;

Erdogan next in line for Nobel Peace; (October 21, 2009)

 

            In December 18, 2004 I wrote “Turkey: A Regional Power in the Making “.  In February 4, 2009 I updated my article “A Regional Power out of hibernation in the Near East“.  Another update is required because Turkey seems to vigorously and quickly act everywhere.

Turkey forgot the Islamic world for over 60 years and relied on its military to impose a secular state and emulate the Western culture in alphabet and in dress codes. Ataturk wanted to shed the image of backward Ottoman Empire that lost an Empire extending from Hungry to Iraq to Arabic Peninsula, the Near East, Egypt and all Northern Africa.   The other Empire to the east was the Persian Safafid Dynasty that extended to Pakistan. The Safafid Empire was founded by another Turkish leader and opted to adopt the Chiaa Moslem sect as the religion of his Empire.

Turkey is part of NATO (this year is its turn to lead the NATO forces in Afghanistan) thanks to the cold war against the defunct neighbor of Soviet Union: Turkey was the main effective ally to the US in the region during the cold war. Turkey was denied full membership in the European Union because the same Soviet Union disintegrated into “independent States” recognized by the UN; France and Germany offered a rational for their refusal on ground of Turkey not satisfying the basic social and political requirement of a homogenous member.  For 60 years Turkey had turned its back to the Arab problems, and allied to the State of Israel and the Shah of Iran.

Things are changing fast after the horrors of Gaza and the tearing down of the mask of the Zionist ideology of terror, expansion, and apartheid.  Turkey was playing the fair mediator between Syria and Israel in order for the return of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Turkey was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians to render the life of the Palestinians under occupation more bearable during the peace negotiations for a separate Palestinian State.  Israel Olmert PM lied to the Turkish PM Erdogan before the barbaric re-incursion into Gaza.

Rajab Tayyeb Erdogan, Turkey’s PM is undeniably the most powerful leader criticizing the Zionist State for its genocide in Gaza. He canceled a joint military maneuver with the US and Israel. The US has nobody else to conduct military maneuvers but Israel in this region; the latest naval one is to last two weeks with objective to save Israel of mass missile attack!

Turkey, under Erdogan, is currently more powerful than the whole of Europe in the Near East for establishing peace, stability and equitable political resolutions.  Turkey is a self sufficient independent Nation and has ruled the whole Middle East for four centuries. Turkey has awakened from a long hibernation and decided to be a major regional power broker.   

Turkey is demanding and acting as the main power broker in the Near East because it has interest in the stability of its south eastern borders with Syria, Iran, and Iraq.  So far, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq were peons for the larger policies of the US, Europe, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.  Turkey’s current policies beg to differ: “no more war zones at my borders and in my back yards”.  The US and Israel must have understood the message clearly and loudly. The so-called “moderate” Arab States of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are cowering down and are taken by surprise to the emergence of the new revitalized Turkey siding with the underdogs.

We are not hearing anymore about the Turkish war on the Kurdish self-autonomous movement.  I wholeheartedly wish that negotiations are secretly and seriously underway with the Kurdish Workers’ Party for a peaceful resolution.  The Kurdish problem was used by the USA and Israel to blackmail Turkey.  I have a feeling that the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran appreciate the new directions of Erdogan’s government and would find in Erdogan a viable interlocutor and would cooperate with Turkey to lighten up this heavy burden of a useless and fruitless civil war. The new policy in Turkey is to open peaceful negotiations with the opposition Kurds; around 200 Kurdish leaders in the resistance movement have turned themselves in and all indicates that a resolution is palpable.

Turkey will be asked to exercise its beneficial influence in restoring peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region.  It will inevitably join the European Union with the unavoidable important changes that Turkey will have to accept and undergo in matters of democracy, liberty, human rights, social and economical constraints.

This transformation of a powerful neighbor will transcend into a drastic transformation of the societies surrounding Turkey. The benefits are already materializing in closer ties with Syria, pressures on Israel to agree on a Palestinian State, and greater normalization with Iran.  Turkey is obviously the main power that can provide autonomy to the Kurdish nationalism spreading among Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Turkey is the main power that can efficiently check US omnipotence in the Middle East and any resurgence of Russia militarism. Turkey prevented Bush Junior to invade Iraq through its territory; the US air base in Interlink was prohibited to launch air raids on Iraq.  I have great hope in this new power amongst us, especially that the current Turkish government has proven to be far sighted and confident in its power and role in this region.

For a couple of years after Europe shut off the door for Turkey entering the Union Turkey felt the need to crawl in a cave and hibernate; Turkey shook off its lethargic attitude and is now in the driving seat and operating a strategy that befits its power in the Middle East.  It has surmounted tough obstacles in economic difficulties, human rights issues that are frequently reemerging, and demonstrations that are occasionally broken by brute force. Turkey is no longer allowed to relax.  Turkey is quickly learning that it has to keep pace with the culture of Europe and to fight harder to catch up with lost time. Its dialogue with Syria has brought fruits: no visas are needed to cross joint borders, seasonal water resource shortages are frequently revised, and the western world had come to term that it can no longer circumvent Syria in this volatile region with Turkey’s backing.

Europe must be appreciating the decision of Turkey to play a major role in the Near East but the US is very wary because it refuses to share pre-eminence in the Middle East.  Turkey active diplomacy and clear policies should weight heavier in the decision process for joining the European Union.  The frustrations of Turkey with the EU must have given it a clear hint of what its policies should be based on and where its focus should be directed to.

            Turkey is the new pivotal power in the Middle East in the coming decades.  It is the cornerstone for new emerging Northern Middle East Block with Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  This strategic block in formation is inevitable after the US troops leave Iraq and would constitute the best guarantee for this volatile region to peace and security.

            Erdogan should have received the Nobel Award for Peace instead of Barak Obama who has no active records to show for earning this prize (Read my post “What that! Nobel Prize for Passivity?”  Erdogan has already executed peace treaties with his archenemies: Syria, Armenia, the Kurds, soon with Cyprus, and has definitely sided with the Palestinians against apartheid Israel.  Normally, Erdogan is in line for the peace prize. Judging from the trend, the cynical Nobel Committee never feels comfortable awarding Peace Prizes to Middle Eastern leaders unless it is shared with the devils such as Began and Shimon Peres. Erdogan got my highest prize and we all feel much more optimist in our future.

The inevitable Northern Middle East strategic block

(Report #30); (October 21, 2009)

 

 

            There would be much turmoil within the next five years in the Greater Middle East.  There is this inevitable trend toward forming a strategic and economic bloc in the northern Middle East region of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq.   Turkey and Iran are the main regional powers with the means to drive this trend to fruition.  Saudi Arabia is in line to supporting this bloc which will secure to the monarchy a new lease on life and not relying exclusively on the US Administrations.

            To prevent this new emerging bloc many superpowers are in a frenzy to obstruct this natural trend in economic and financial stability.  For example, this week the south eastern region of Iran witnessed a terrorist attack that decapitated the military leadership of the paramilitary Pasdaran or Guardian of the Islamic Revolution.  Iran is blaming Pakistan to facilitating the movements of the Sunni “Jund Allah” with full backing and finance from Britain and the USA. Personally, I tend to see indirect coordination of the Iranian regime in that attack: decapitating the paramilitary organization is the first phase into disbanding an organization that is no longer the guardian of the revolution but the military backer of the retrograded clerics working on maintaining their hold on the political climate in Iran.

            Another example is the terrorist blasting of a couple of ministries in downtown Baghdad.  This attack followed the signing of full diplomatic relation with Syria at the instigation of the US and France.  In retaliation of Syria cozying up with Maliki of Iraq without Iran’s full consent a prompt response sent the appropriate signal; Maliki promptly broke diplomatic ties with Damascus under lame excuses.  Syria got the message clear and loud not to cooperate with France, the US, or any regional power without prior coordination with Iran.  Syria is not about to ruin its internal security for any baits extended to it by the Western powers.

            The Arab Emirates are under pressures to kick out all Islamic Chiaa immigrants, starting with the Lebanese.  Israel is constantly pressuring the US to get militarily involved in Iran. Turkey is in excellent terms with Syria and Iran: it has canceled an air exercise with Israel and the US that was intended to cross the borders of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq; it is an exercise for Israel to take this alternative air route to blast Iran’s nuclear power stations.  Lebanon is unable to form a government for 4 months; it is waiting for green light of the new strategic block that is now backed by Saudi Arabia.  The US, Israel, and Egypt are counter blocking any unity government in Lebanon.

            The trend toward forming a strategic and economic bloc in the northern Middle East region started in 1979 as the Islamic revolution in Iran came to power and the Shah went to exile (Only Sadate of Egypt accepted the Shah to take political refuge in its land). Thus, the first clue goes back to 1979.  Iran of Khomeini, Syria of Hafez Assad, and President Bakr of Iraq decided on a rapprochement of Islamic sects (Sunni and Chiaa).  Saddam Hussein was chief of security and Vice President of Bakr; Saddam hated the Chiaa as well as Hafez Assad his archenemy to the leadership of the Baath Party.  At the instigation of Saudi Arabia and the green light from the USA Saddam deposed Bakr and swiftly executed all the Iraqi Baath members who supported this entente; these prominent members of the Iraqi Baath were mostly Chiaa. At the time the Saudi Defense Minister Sultan and the Interior Nayef (Sultan’s cadet brother) hated the Chiaa and were worried for their obscurantist and salafist Wahhabit Sunni sect. Thus, Saddam and the Saudi monarchs joined forces to destabilize Iran of Khomeini.  Many regional States, the US, France, and Britain would not allow a strategic and economical block in the Middle East to be formed of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. Thus, Saddam was encouraged to invade Iran. After two years, Saddam had to retreat his troops from Khuzestan.  Iran wanted this war of attrition to resume as an excuse to clean and re-structure its Islamic regime; (this nonsense war lasted 8 years).  

            The second clue is after invaded Kuwait in 1990.  Saddam’s regime was publicly terribly weakened; the Chiaa in southern Iraq and the Kurds in the north were threatening to destabilize Saddam’s regime.  The US wanted to help Saddam by any means to prevent Iran from taking hold of Iraq and joining forces with Syria (Iran’s ally).  The short-term strategy was to give Saddam an external activity or a semblance of war to re-unite Iraq on a national excuse.  To that effect, the US lured Kuwait to pressure Iraq into refunding 50 billions in war loan.  Saddam amassed his troops on the borders with Kuwait. The unstable Saddam wanted to believe that he got effective green light to conquer Kuwait. Bush Senior formed a coalition and forced Saddam to retreat from Kuwait. Saddam was defeated and the US and coalition forces could easily enter Baghdad. The purpose of this war was not to depose Saddam but for Iraq to be a buffer zone between Iran and Syria.  Saddam was permitted to crush the Chiaa insurgency in the south and the Kurdish upheaval in the north. Turkey strengthened its relationship with Syria and Iran. Syria was given bait for a mandate over Lebanon. Moubarak of Egypt was ordered to accept the deal and help put an end to the civil war in Lebanon. These hot regions needed to be pacified while the US and Europe tends to bigger problems: the proper dismantling of the Soviet Union, stabilizing Europe, and overseeing the financial globalization.

            The third clue is the massive occupation of Iraq by the US troops in 2003. (Read my post “Why the massive occupation of Iraq?”).  After 9/11/2001, the US demoted the Taliban regime in Afghanistan but did nothing to finish off the job and stabilize Afghanistan: the US Administration had other strategic plan than worrying about Sunni salafist Al Qaeda “terrorism”: it was contained in northern Pakistan.         

            At the time of the invasion there was no nuclear program in Iraq and the Bush Junior Administration knew that fact.  Iraq had resumed the development of two other means of mass destruction: the biological and the chemical arms. Saddam Hussein prevented any further inspections by the UN for two years because he had these two arms programs functional.  Thus, the US employed Russia and France to misinform Saddam: Russia would displace and decontaminate the presence of the biological and chemical arms that it had supplied Iraq in return for vetoing any pre-emptive attack by the US in the UN.  This maneuver was effective and the inspectors found no arms of mass destructions in Iraq. It was when the US was totally confident that Saddam had no arms of mass destructions that it invaded Iraq; Saddam had nothing to counter the massive offensive of the US forces, especially that the officers in the field of the Iraqi army had no power but to wait orders from central commands:  that was how Saddam restructured his army since 1980 to prevent any army rebellion to his regime.

            Why the US had to completely occupy Iraq?  Saddam could have been deposed in many ways without any military invasion or at least a partial occupation of south Iraq with Chiaa majority and the north with Kurdish majority. Why the US did not invest one more year in Afghanistan to stabilize this country before turning on to Iraq?  Why the US failed to get out after Saddam his entourage were finished?  Why this occupying force is still there after seven years of the invasion?  The US wanted its physical presence in Iraq to prevent the formation of the Northern Middle East Block. Turkey was against this invasion and did its best to prevent the US troops crossing its territory to northern Iraq.  Syria and Iran played cats and mouse with the US to harass its presence in Iraq.

            Thus, deposing Saddam without US military presence in the field meant that Iraq will quickly link with Iran; the other bonus was to control oil production and distribution of the second largest oil reserve to put the squeeze on the giant economic power of China. This “pre-emptive” intervention didn’t turn right: first, radical Islam increased and proliferated even further; second, it was the catalyst for the severest financial crash ever, and it alienated Turkey. 

            What are the scores at this junction?  The Saudi Arabia click of (Sultan, Nayef, and Bandar) is deposed and Saudi Arabia is seeking stronger ties with Syria.  Turkey is increasingly improving its ties with Syria and de-linking with its former “strategic” ally Israel. Iran is recapturing its initial strategy of uniting the Islamic sects.  Pakistan will cooperate fully with Iran to stabilize Afghanistan and save the unstable State of Pakistan deeply involved militarily to crush the Taliban brand in northern Pakistan. Thus, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Armenia are changing their policies to join this bloc as allies if not partners.

            The trend is already inevitable and it cannot be stopped with the world economy and finance state in such disarray.  It is the movement of political leadership in the four States that is the driving force and not simply individual leaders. By the end of 2011 the US is to remove all its military troops from Iraq. During this period, the US, Russia, France, and Britain will coordinate efforts to keeping Turkey and Iran on tip tow; Syria and Iraq are to be frequently destabilized.

Why the massive occupation of Iraq? (October 12, 2009)

           

            The crucial main question is unanswered yet: why the US had to completely occupy Iraq?  Saddam could have been deposed in many ways without any military invasion or at least a partial occupation of south Iraq with Chiaa majority and the north with Kurdish majority. The second question is: Why the US did not invest one more year in Afghanistan to stabilize this country before turning on to Iraq?  The third question is: why the US failed to get out after Saddam was finished and his entourage exterminated; why this occupying force is still there after seven years of the invasion?

            At the time of the invasion there was no nuclear program in Iraq and the Bush Junior Administration knew that fact.  Iraq had resumed the development of two other means of mass destruction: the biological and the chemical arms. Saddam Hussein prevented any further inspections by the UN for two years because he had these two arms programs functional.  Thus, the US employed Russia and France to misinform Saddam: Russia would displace and decontaminate the presence of the biological and chemical arms that it had supplied Iraq in return for vetoing any pre-emptive attack by the US in the UN.  This maneuver was effective and the inspectors found no arms of mass destructions in Iraq. It was when the US was totally confident that Saddam had no arms of mass destructions that it invaded Iraq; Saddam had nothing to counter the massive offensive of the US forces, especially that the officers in the field of the Iraqi army had no power but to wait orders from central commands:  that was how Saddam restructured his army since 1980 to prevent any army rebellion to his regime.

            The first clue goes back to 1979.  Iran of Khomeini, Syria of Hafez Assad, and President Bakr of Iraq decided on a rapprochement of Islam (Sunni and Chiaa).  Saddam Hussein was chief of security and Vice President of Bakr; Saddam hated the Chiaa and also Hafez Assad.  At the instigation of Saudi Arabia and the green light from the USA Saddam deposed Bakr and swiftly executed all the Iraqi Baath members who supported this entente; these prominent members of the Iraqi Baath were mostly Chiaa. Thus, Saddam and the Saudi monarchs joined forces to destabilize Iran of Khomeini.  Many regional States, the US, France, and Britain would not allow a strategic and economical block in the Middle East formed of Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

            Thus, deposing Saddam without US military presence in the field meant that Iraq will quickly link with Iran; the other bonus was to control oil production and distribution of the second largest oil reserve to put the squeeze on the giant economic power of China.

            This “pre-emptive” intervention didn’t turn right: first, radical Islam increased and proliferated even further; second, it was the catalyst for the severest financial crash ever, and it alienated Turkey.  The trend is for Turkey to become the fourth State to joining the Greater Middle East strategic and economic block.  Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Armenia are changing their policies to join this bloc as allies if not partners.

            There would be much turmoil within the next five years to prevent this new emerging bloc.  For example, Iran blasted a couple of ministries in downtown Baghdad in retaliation of Syria cozying up with Maliki of Iraq without Iran’s full consent; Maliki promptly broke diplomatic ties with Damascus under lame excuses.  Syria got the message clear and loud not to cooperate with France, the US, or any regional power without prior coordination with Iran.  Syria is not about to ruin its internal security for any baits extended to it by the Western powers. The Arab Emirates are under pressures to kick out all Chiaa immigrants, starting with the Lebanese.  Israel is constantly pressuring the US to get militarily involved in Iran. Turkey is in excellent terms with Syria and Iran: it has canceled an air exercise with Israel and the US that was intended to cross the borders of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq; it is an exercise for Israel to take this air route to blast Iran’s nuclear power stations. . The trend is already inevitable and it cannot be stopped with the world economy and finance in such disarray.

Mutual genocide: Armenians and Turks

 Note: The Armenians in Lebanon demonstrated yesterday against the potential accord between Armenia and Turkey.  What is the story?

            There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.  This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities; for example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas. 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus; the Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

            The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century. In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.  In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecutions.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, led by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three-quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted. In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey; the Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassments, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Armenia and Turkey owe each other deep apologies for the mutual genocide they perpetrated in history.  I applaud the rapprochement between the two neighboring states as a start for serious active and pragmatic apology and remuneration.

Cursed Cities: Karss (April 14, 2009)

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas.

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.

I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and is a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades.

The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus.

The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.

The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The absolute monarchic Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century.

In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.

In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecution.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and Shamel was defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.

Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians.

After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted.

In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.

Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey. The Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul), and the people in the Adana region shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.

The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum.

An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassment,  genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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