NOTE: I deal with Iran first, followed by its Syrian ally in a subpost.
GROWING ANIMOUSITY BETWEEN TURKEY & A DESPERATE MULLOCRACY
Mansour Haqiqatpour, the deputy chairman of Parliament’s National Security Committeehas criticised Turkey for serving as “the infantry for the US politico-military objectives” in the Middle East.
It’s a response to accurate Turkish charges that the mullahs have been arming Kurdish rebels and encouraging them to fight against both Turkey and the Syria rebels in a scheme to aid Assad. Haqiqatpour argued that Turkey should reconsider its wrong policies of interference in the internal affairs of the neighboring countries.
If the IRI and Russia really opposed “interfering with the internal affairs of other nations, then what are they doing helping Assad against his people in Syria? Why have they engaged in so many covert schemes in the region and globally? In this case Turkey isn’t alone in accusing the IRI. Most nations friendly to the Turks agree with the charge. Whoi else believes the charge? Most Iranians who grumble about the billions of dollars their ruling mullahs are sinking into Syria in a futile effort to prop up Assad. Here’s a nice example of that:
Khamenei’s failed plans to save the Syrian dictator
1. No one will believe mullah denials.
Reasons: The Pariah State has been caught red-handed in so many external destabilization plots and in each case denied everything. Turkey and the world also recall the regime’s amazing domestic whoppers (“We did not rig the 2009 election!” “Our judicial system is fair and we have no political prisoners!” “We’ve never employed death squads against reformers and journalists!”)
2. Turkey will not forget. Tensions will continue and may grow even worse given incompatible rivalries.
3. When Assad falls, Turkey and Syria may follow a “turnabout is fair play” policy directed at a vulnerable IRI and its allies.
Iran will persist in its covert anti-Turkish schemes anyway so what is there to lose by playing the same game in reverse? The Supreme Leader got Iran in its present pariah position because he fails to grasp the old adage by now: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” For Syria, shipping jihadis off to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon would make great sense once Syria goes. Give ’em something to do and pay back Mullahs & Pals at the same time. Again, why not?
It’s almost funny how Assad keeps trying to persuade the West he is needed as a “bulwark” against radical Islamists. Everyone knows how the man employed them as a handy-dandy policy tool in Iraq a few years ago. The world knows he’d do it again if he managed to survive. In April of 1945 Nazi appealed to the West that they were needed as a “bulwark against communism.” In appeals fell on deaf ears because the loose cannon regimes in question were too discredited, troublesome and dangerous. The world was/is better off without them.
ENLIGHTENED POLICIES WE PROBABLY WON’T SEE
The Middle East canot stabilize unless the present Kurdish and Israeli/Palestine problems are addressed, In the first case the nation in the best position to solve things is Turkey. By contrast, Iran’s discredited mullocracy is in the worst position.
So long as the Kurds seek self rule via autonomy or independence while remaining divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, it ought to be obvious by now that neighbors with rival ambitions will not be able to resist using the Kurds in similar schemes. Of the four countries just listed only Turkey occupies a credible position in which it can resolve the problem in a way that win-win advantages to both sides. Erdogan would have to grant the Kurds either full autonomy (included the right to its own militia) or full independence and sovereignty to pull it off. In either case his “price” would have to be that the new Kurdish government remained democratic and subject to popular legimacy and respect for the civil rights of all citizens. The Kurds could demand in turn that Turkey not oppose the right of other Kurds to join. The Turks would have to ask three other things just as beneficial to the Kurds as to Turkey: 1. a common market that could also include post-Assad Syria, 2. a loose political political confederation of those three fully sovereign states and 3. a defensive-only alliance between all three.
I’ve often thought that a settlement based on similar ideas (confederation, common makret) might also be the best solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict especially if Jerusalem (so symbolic to all parties) served as official confederation capital while Tel Aviv reverted to its old role as Israel’s national capital and Palestinians chose an equivalent of their own. The deal would have to include subsubstantial compensation to Palestinians for past grievances. Naturally radical Islamists and nationalists as Iran would likely try to derail any such deal for selfish reasons. Either would sell Israelis and Palestinians in a heartbeat if they could.
In any heterogenous and highly diverse state with past animousities, it is desirable to discourage (but not forbid) the growth of sectarian parties that emphasize “us against them” politics. The best way to avoid that is to provide a winner-take-all plurality electoral system rather than the usual proportional representation system which evolved in a Europe that was far more homogenous at the time unlike the diverse Middle East, so full of past grievances. To see why, read:
Extremism and Proportional Representation