Britain’s Maplecroft, which specializes in consulting on strategic risk, has said that we are witnessing the balkanization of the Syrian state: “Kurds in the north, Druze in the southern hills, Alawites in the coastal northwestern mountainous region and the Sunni majority elsewhere.”
We are already hearing people like White House advisor Vali Nasr talking about all this. The religious and ethnic cleavages in Syria are not demarcated in purely geographic terms and the balkanization process could play out as a lebonization process, which means that Syria will be divided along violent sectarian fault lines and face political deadlock like Lebanon during its civil war without formally breaking up. Lebonization, a soft form of balkanization, has already taken place in Iraq under federalism.
The events in the Middle East and North Africa are seeing the animation of mass movements against local tyrants - like in Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, but there is also a vicious script from Israel’s Yinon Plan and its offshoots. The Yinon Plan and similar schemes want a contrived Shitte-Sunni war amongst the Muslims as the central piece of the sectarian divisions - or fitna in Arabic - that are to include Christian-Muslim, Arab-Berber, Arab-Iranian, Arab-Turkish, and Iranian-Turkish animosity.
What this process intends to do is create sectarian hatred, ethnic divisions, racism, and religious wars. All the countries that the US and its allies are destabilizing have natural dividing lines, and when tribal, ethnic, confessional, and religious animosity is ignited in one country, it will spill over into other countries. The problems in Libya have spilled into Niger and Chad and the problems in Syria are spilling over into Turkey and Lebanon.
Egypt is the venue of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary currents that have kept the largest Arab power busy with its attention on domestic politics. While Egypt is facing domestic upheaval, the US is attempting to play the country’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood against one another. Before the upheavals Sudan was formally balkanized by Tel Aviv and Washington through the manipulation of identity politics, which led to the secession of South Sudan.
Libya has been neutralized and divided by various groups. Lebonization, as mentioned earlier, has also taken root in Iraq as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with foreign support - specifically foreign support from the US, Western Europe, Israel, and Turkey - begins to act more and more as if Northern Iraq or Iraqi Kurdistan is a separate country from the rest of Iraq.
Dore Gold, the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is worth quoting for his views: “What you have in Syria is that the Middle East is coming apart; a new form of chaos is replacing what has existed.” This of course is part of the wishful thinking of Israeli policy makers who have an interest in seeing this. Originally, the position of Tel Aviv was ignored when the crisis in Syria began, but it is clear now that Israel has an interest in seeing Syria fragmented into pieces and in a state of continuous civil war. This is what the Yinon Plan and its successors have outlined as being Israel’s strategic objectives in both Syria and Lebanon.
Syria, like Iraq, can be viewed as a key pressure point in the Middle East. Disarray in both will create a regional meltdown. As things heat up in Syria, fragile Iraq is also beginning to pulse as a regional geo-political volcano simmers.
For those who have doubts that the US is fanning the flames of a fire to create a meltdown in the Middle East or that the events in Syria are beginning to have regional ramifications, they merely need to look at the region of Kurdistan. Kurdish nationalist fighters have begun to mobilize in Syria and in Turkey and Turkish troops have been attacked by them. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has begun to take major steps that signify its independence from Iraq.
In Iraq, the KRG is essentially a de facto state with its own parliament, flag, army, visa regime, armed forces, police, and laws. In violation of Iraq’s national laws, the KRG has even made illegal arms and oil deals on its own with foreign governments and entities without even so much as notifying the government in Baghdad. Moreover, the KRG has even prevented Iraqi troops from going to Iraq’s northwest border with Syria to ensure that weapons smuggling and lawlessness end.
Turkey, which maintains close ties to the KRG, has also been encouraging this behavior and has even treated the KRG like a national government by having diplomatic contacts without consulting the Iraqi government in Baghdad. The leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government are also allowing their country to be used as a Mossad operation base against Syria and Iran.
Ironically, Turkey has warned that it will take military action against Kurdish separatists in Syria while Ankara is supporting separatist tendencies amongst the KRG and the division of Syria. Aside from creating tensions between the Turkish and Iraqi governments, this has had consequences in Turkey. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has begun to remobilize. The PKK has claimed that it is in control of the Semdinli (Semzinan) District in Turkey’s Hakkari Province and fighting has broken out in southeast Turkey.
Casualties have begun to mount as Turkish troops and security forces have begun to face attacks. Martial law has also been declared in Hakkari Province according to the Turkish press. Turkey itself now faces its own fight against anti-government forces as it appears unable to rule its own territory. A Turkish opposition MP from the People’s Republican Party has also been kidnapped by the PKK. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has tried to blame Syria for fighting that has erupted in Turkey’s Kurdish areas, but he omits the fact that the violence in Turkey is a direct result of Turkish interference in Syria. If they already have not, the weapons that Erdogan is sending into Syria will eventually find their way back into Turkey where they will be used by anti-government forces.
Tel Aviv Targets Lebanon: A Second Levantine Front is Opened?
The case of the Israeli tourist bus attack in Bulgaria is ominous to say the least. What is striking about the incident is that Israel blamed Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran immediately, before an hour even passed after the attack or an investigation was conducted.
What is worth noting is that just a few weeks earlier officials in Tel Aviv were threatening to attack Lebanon again, saying that they would totally destroy Lebanon in a third Israeli-Lebanese war. The Israeli comments were made by Brigadier-General Hertzi Halevy, the commander of Tel Aviv’s 91st Division, just a week ahead of the sixth anniversary of Hezbollah’s victory against Israel in the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon. Halevy and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly threatened to reduce Lebanon to ashes by launching an all-out attack
Syria’s allies are all being pressured in a multi-dimensional war. Iran, Russia, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinians are being put under increasing pressure to abandon their Syrian allies. The Israeli threats are aimed at putting psychological pressure on Lebanon and Hezbollah as a means to expand the psychological, media, economic, diplomatic, intelligence, and political siege against Syria into Lebanon. US sanctions against Syria are already incorporating Iran and Hezbollah and Lebanese banks have faced cyber attacks and pressure from Washington and its allies.
Looking at the Coming Horizon: Welcome to America’s Arc of Instability?
The US-sponsored siege of Syria is part of its attempts to divide Eurasia and maintain its global primacy as a superpower. Washington has no mercy on its friends or its foes either and countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia will eventually be used as cannon fodder. US strategists want the area running from North Africa and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia, and India to be turned into a black hole of fighting, à la Brzezinski’s “Eurasian Balkans.”
The Arabs, Iran, and Turkey are being lined up for a major conflict, because the US is losing its superpower status. All that remains of Washington’s superpower status is its military power. Towards the end of its relatively short life, the Soviet Union only had it military power too. The Soviet Union experienced social unrest and was in economic decline before it collapsed. The situation for the US is not much different, if not worst. Washington is broke, socially divided, becoming racially polarized, and declining rapidly in its international influence. US elites, however, are determined to resist what more and more looks like the unpreventable loss of their country’s superpower status and their empire.
Igniting Eurasia with fire and sedition appears to be Washington’s answer to preventing its own decline. The US plans on starting a great fire from Morocco and the Mediterranean to the borders of China. This process has essentially been begun by the US through the destabilization of three different regions: Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The first steps that the US and its NATO and Arab allies took to do this did not start in Syria.
In the Middle East, this process started through the siege of Iraq that eventually gave way to the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of that country in 2003. In Central Asia, the process started with the destabilization of Afghanistan during the Cold War and US support for fighting between different fractions, including what would become the Taliban; 9/11 merely gave the US and its NATO allies an opportunity to invade. In North Africa, finally the US and Israel balkanized Sudan through years of pressure and covert operations.
In the three regions mentioned above we are seeing the second wave of destabilization now. In Central Asia, the war in Afghanistan has been extended into Pakistan by NATO. This has given way to the term “AfPak” to describe Afghanistan and Pakistan as one theatre. In North Africa, Libya was attacked in 2011 by NATO and the Jamahiriya has essentially been divided by various groups. In the Middle East, this second wave of destabilization operations is targeting the Syrian Arab Republic as a continuation of what happened in Iraq.
Washington seems to be dreaming of this scenario: Kurdish revolts taking place in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran; sectarian civil wars consuming Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen in fire; instability and fighting bleeding Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, and Sudan; Berbers and Arabs fighting one another across North Africa; insecurity and political uncertainty spreading in Central Asia; a war in the South Caucasus consuming Georgia, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan; revolts igniting amongst the Balkars, Chechens, Circassians, Dagestanis, Ingush, and other local Caucasian peoples against Russia in the North Caucasus; the Persian Gulf being a zone of instability; and Russia at loggerheads with the European Union and Turkey. Such a conflagration is steadily being buoyed by Washington.
Ultimately all this is meant to disrupt some of the world’s major energy routes and supplies to hurt the energy-importing economies of China, the major European powers, India, Japan, and South Korea. This could force the European Union to become more militaristic out of desperation to save its economy.
Such a scenario could be dangerous for energy-supplier Russia as well as OPEC states, which would have to choose between the EU and China if there are energy shortages. A resource war - like World War I - could be ignited that would bring ruin to a great deal of Africa and all the industrialized regions of Eurasia. This would happen while the US would stand by in the Western Hemisphere, watching from a safe distance, just like it did during the First World War and the Second World War, before it steps in to pick up the pieces as the economic benefactor of a devastating war.
An award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy. He has also addressed the Middle East and international relations issues on several TV news networks including Al Jazeera, teleSUR, and Russia Today. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2011 he was awarded the First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club for his work in international investigative journalism.What is happening in Syria is a sign of things to come for the region. Regime change is not the sole goal of the US and its allies in Syria. Dividing the Syrian Arab Republic is the end goal of Washington in Syria.