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The continuing tension in the Middle East has yet again become a discussion point during the so-called top-level week of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. What made the situation worse this year was Washington’s decision to strengthen its military presence in the region, which it adopted a few days before the summit. According to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the measure was taken at the request of Saudi Arabia, which had been attacked by drones: “The President (Donald Trump) approved the deployment of US forces, which will be defensive and will focus primarily on air and missile defense”. According to the head of the Pentagon, this “will send a clear signal that the US is supporting its partners in the region.”
  • Category: Analytics |
  • Date: 30-09-2019, 12:40
  • Views: 225
An escalation of the Arab-Israeli confrontation was reported in late August following a terrorist attack that took place in a holiday resort popular among Israelis. A homemade bomb killed one person and left several others injured. On the night of August 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out air strikes against three countries at the same time: in Iraq, it struck at the positions of the Badr Organization, in Lebanon - at the Hezbollah information center, and in Syria - at the headquarters of an al-Quds unit that is part of the special-task forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
On August 1-2, the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan was playing host to the 13th round of inter-Syrian talks, held as part of the so-called Astana format. The Russian delegation was led by President Putin’s Special Representative for the Syrian Settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, the Iranian - by the Assistant Foreign Minister Ali Asgar Haji, and Turkey was represented by the Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. Iraqi and Lebanese representatives were taking part in the meetings as observers. The negotiations focused on the situation in Idlib, discussing not so much "who is to blame" for what is happening there, as "what needs to be done."
The twists and turns of political developments in the Middle East largely stem from the rivalry between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. While Iran seeks greater influence in countries with significant Shiite populations, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are sparring on one territory, both claiming leadership in the Sunni world: Turkey by “birthright,” and Saudi Arabia – by the “right of the strongest,” i.e. of the most economically advanced actor boasting the strongest army in the region.
Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia threatens NATO security and is putting Ankara at risk of losing its status of “a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history,” US Vice President Mike Pence has warned. Experts from the Turkish Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) participating in a panel discussion, organized by the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, spoke about the problems currently existing between Turkey and the United States as well as their country’s cooperation with Russia.
The breakthrough in trade and other economic relations between Russia and Turkey has quite naturally spread to the realm of politics, best reflected in the two countries’ coordinated actions in Syria. This is all the more surprising, since only recently military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Ankara was absolutely unthinkable. Wary of this trend, members of the Western antiterrorist coalition fighting ISIL (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) have been working hard to “tear off” Turkey from Russia, with mass media spearheading this effort.
The Syrian conflict was high on the agenda of a conference on the problems of the Middle East and Africa, which was recently held at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. The participants pointed to the external aspect as the main factor in the conflict, with Boris Dolgov, a senior researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, describing the Syrian crisis as a result of the US model of globalization.

Elementary arithmetic routinely holds keys to much more complex political algebra. At the moment, for example, it appears that fairly simple regards explain the bizarre conduct of the Arab League which, contrary to reasonable expectations, alligned itself with the West in destabilizing Syria and keeping B. Assad under pressure.