3 factions vie for the MidEast, Should we care? Yes but it looks like we’re on the sidelines…for now

Seems a clear eyed look at the Middle East, a mess as always, trending rapidly nuclear…what me Worry?

After the Pax Americana: Three factions vie for influence and dominance in the Middle East.
by JONATHAN SPYER PJMEDIA


  • The Iranian block: Assad’s Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon– replace the U.S. as the dominant power Gulf area, build a contiguous alliance from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and into the Levant. It is committed to acquiring a nuclear capability to underwrite and insure this process

  • The MB block: Turkey, Qatar, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood– the Sunni Islamist alignment that a year ago looked to be on the march across the region. They have lost power in Egypt and in Tunisia, the new emir in Qatar is not aggressive. And in Syria, al-Qaeda and Salafi-oriented units now form the most active pillar in a confused insurgency which shows signs of turning in on itself.

  • The monarchist block: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (excluding Qatar) and in the shadows Israel– they survived the recent wave of popular agitation in the Arab world, which instead took its toll on the “secular,” military regimes. But Saudi Arabia sees the MB as an existential threat and was infuriated by the Qatar-MB nexus. Nuclear Iran’s potential domination of the Gulf and the wider region is also an existential threat. Saudi support for and cultivation of allies in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere should be seen in this light.

  • So the Saudis are engaged in a political war on two fronts, with an acute awareness of the high stakes involved.

    The Iranians and their allies have a clear-eyed view of the obstacles to their ambitions, ..

    The Turks and the Muslim Brotherhood also well understand the nature of the power political game. Their current dismay reflects their recent setbacks in it.

    One Two Three Four, We Could Get A Nuclear War

    One Two Three Four, We Could Get A Nuclear War.

    ARES a AWST blog….

    “money quotes:”

    Watts argued that many countries are no longer pursuing nuclear weapons as a direct counter to U.S. nuclear power, but to compensate for relatively weak conventional forces. That includes Russia, where Watts cites president Vladimir Putin’s emphasis on the importance of nuclear weapons, and post-Cold-War doctrinal writings that talk about using limited nuclear attacks as “demonstration and de-escalation” strikes, to deter or terminate a large-scale nuclear war.

    …it’s like a police department whose only force option is to blow up the entire block where the perpetrator lives.

    Indeed, U.S. extended deterrence is something that not enough people think about when they advocate further cuts in U.S. nuclear forces. The American “umbrella” covers nations such as South Korea, Japan and Turkey, which have the industrial and technological capability to go nuclear very quickly if they feel that they can no longer rely on the U.S.

    Watts warns, “limited use of low-yield nuclear weapons will become the new normal and give rise to a second nuclear age whose dangers and uncertainties will dwarf those of the first.”

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    Crap!