After six years of struggle for the future of the Middle East, we can project what the endgame will be.
First we must define what was the goal of the creators of the “Arab spring” and what did they achieve in this huge global operation. First, one of the key elements of manipulation with targeted populations within countries, was the fact that the present day borders were created by colonialists several generations ago. In North Africa they succeeded in creating a big wave of takfiri revolution witch tore apart Libya and made Tunisia and Egypt for some period an incubator for foreign fighters, for the fight against Syria. The main goal of it was destroying Syria, cut supply routes for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and after that attack Iran which would be completely isolated after losing two main allies in the region.
This goal only could be achieved with a coalition of states which have common interests. Secondly this common goal and enemy made for an alliance of the US (NATO), Turkey, Gulf monarchies, and Israel – against a coalition of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and at the end joined by Russia. The plan was that Gulf monarchy states in cooperation with the EU and Turkey, would build a gas and oil pipeline across the Syrian desert through Turkey to EU, completely isolating Russia from exporting energy to the EU which would be a great blow to the Russian economy.
So, the aim was destroying Israel’s and the Saudis’ common enemy, securing a future for Israel in Middle East, isolating Iran, and putting the final blow to Russian economy. On the way to this goal though is one big obstacle and primary problem: Syria with Bashar al Assad in power.
Bashar: a man of principle
No matter what the cost of the war is, Bashar Al Assad will stay true to the principles of maintaining an alliance with Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and not recognizing Israel. Several times president Assad said “the main enemy has not shown its face yet”. This policy goes on. Because the US coalition against Syria could not resolve things militarily, the way to defeat Syria and Iran in a wide regional war where the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, they continue to use proxy and hybrid war with regional allies against Syria.
The US coalition opened the Syrian border with Turkey, part of Lebanon (Arsal pocket), Anbar province in Iraq, Jordan and Israel (Golan), and an internal rebellion which created situation where the Syrian army become overstretched, and the economy was hard hit with isolation and war. Foreign fighters from “Arab spring” countries and Wahabbis from all over the world, sent tens of thousands fighters to Syria against the Syrian army. The only possible way to destroy the coalition is to destroy Syria through a hard and long war without direct intervention to avoid regional war. Syria was never isolated from the help of her closest allies Iran and Russia, not to mention Hezbollah, Arab nationalists, communist from the province of Hatay, and wide scale secular Palestinian organizations.
What the US did not count on is a wide scale negative response on the regional level where the US showed weakness in a crucial moment.
US weakness at a crucial moment and a turbulent response
The US has a long history of creating false flags and hoaxes to justify intervention. It is not still clear from among which American allies organised the Ghouta “chemical” attack, but what is clear is that direct intervention from the US like in previous cases didn’t happen. Strong Syrian air defense and the regional alliance with Iran played a crucial role, also Russian technical support. The veto from Russia and China was just a legal way to confirm American weakness; unable to use its own military option.
The US hawks mantra about “leadership” fails and consequences were catastrophic in the Middle East for the US. The US began to recognize that it can’t control all processes in the Middle East, the leaders of states started to play more independent roles on which US diplomacy previously counted, and which ultimately, little by little ,turned the tide.
Nuri al Maliki the leader of Iraq first saw to utilize the weakness of US policy. First we must look at the position of Iraq. After US troops pulled out, Iraq was left as a very unstable country with deep religious and regional divisions, not a strong army not a single combat plane, not a single air defense system.
Except for several big units with good training, the Iraqi army was not capable as the future would show. Nuri Al Maliki saw that if in a possible future, Assad fell from power, the US with its allies will create a big Sunni extremist land from which Iraq will be permanently subordinate to the US, and would have to keep its distance from Iran. An Iraq-Iran alliance was the biggest fear of the Saudis and US after the US army left Iraq.
In terms of the Syrian civil war until the Spring of 2013, Iraq played a neutral role. From the province of Anbar, big convoys left in support to Syrian takfiris, also a lot of Iraqis from the Sunni triangle went to fight against the Syrian Arab Army. Al Maliki could not oppose this.
When the US showed weakness, he ended this policy in the Summer of 2013. Maliki switched sides and openly said “Bashar Al Assad will not be toppled”.
Then Nuri Al Maliki proceeded to give land passage to supplies from Iran through Iraqi and the Syrian desert across the Al-Tanf crossing. The result of this is that the Iraqi army started to cut supply lines for terrorists from Anbar province inside Syria, and started sending “Badr corps” Shia brigades to Syria with help from Iran.
This was the first blow to US policy, because in response the US had no single option then, and could not program a direct intervention against the Maliki government. The blow to Maliki would come later, but for now he was safe from the US.
The second blow came in Egypt in just the same period. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with the help of countless protesters against the Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi, and with the army playing a leading role, created a line of events in which the army established a dictatorship. In western media this was shown as an anti-democratic move, especially on CNN. The problem for the US was that one of the main incubators for Muslim Brotherhood fighters sent to Syria was destroyed.
The Egyptian army with 500,000 troops, several hundred planes, and control of the Suez, is not something the US could handle with its power. Sisi massacred more than 2500 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, arresting more than 40,000.
What was important for Syria, Egypt’s Mukhabarat (secret service) start to share information about terrorists with Syria.
This dealt a hard blow to Qatar and Turkey, as the main sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia slyly did not accuse Sisi of massacring the Brotherhood, and gave him an alternative economical deal. The fear that Sisi can switch side totally with the help of Russia was very big.
In terms of regional policy, Sisi sits in two chairs like Tito in the Cold War, but in the context of the “Arab spring” process, Egypt was first country in which the wave of the Spring hit a rock, reversed the process, and this was just the beginning.
War beyond Syrian resources, allies, enemies, and ISIS
The summer of 2013 was the biggest test for the Syrian army, government and the majority of people. Operation “Armageddon” with the goal to take Damascus failed, the blockade of Aleppo, and direct threat of military intervention. In same summer Hezbollah directly enters the war in Syria in the famous battle for Al Qusair. The more that pressure was on Syria, the more support Syria got from her closest allies in supplies, man power, and training. The situation starts here to improve.
The two main strong pillars of the Syrian army were in air defense and strategic missiles, which still were practically intact, but on the other hand these had no effect on the 4th generation hybrid war that enemies of Syria wage.
Thousands of enemy jeeps with machine guns, anti-tank rockets, and foreign fighters from more than 83 countries directly influenced the next evolution of Syrian armed forces with the help of Russia and Iran. Multiple hostile supply routes from neighboring countries were set up with one goal, that the Syrian state collapses in the form of Afghanistan. But nevertheless, in that time the end of the war did not look far until a new threat was created in Iraq – ISIL.
The goal of ISIL’s (now ISIS, or IS) creation was multiple. First, because Maliki switched side and started ordering weapons from Russia and Iran, they wanted to get him out of power. Secondly, to homogenize all takfir groups from the Syrian Euphrates with the whole Sunni triangle in Iraq with Al Qaeda groups, Iraqi Baathists, and others.
With that new army, they were to destroy Iraq and open a new front for the Syrian army, create a good story for international jihad which could prolong the war. Many of these goals were successful.
In the beginning of 2014, a big group from north-eastern Syria entered Iraq, and with this attack coordinated an uprising in the Sunni triangle. Mosul, Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit – all places which were against central government – began to fall like dominoes, and the Iraqi army collapsed in these areas. As latter admitted by Abadi, more than 2300 humvees were captured along with several hundred tanks and all kinds of other weapons. In just one month, an army of more than 200,000 which is lead by former experienced Saddam officers were created.
In this period, not a single air strike was done by US. But what was to follow?
In part II, we will look at the role that Turkey played, as well as give our final prognostication on the endgame of the Middle-east.