"Security Arc" forms amidst Mideast terror

Map of 'Security Arc' by S. Narwani, E. Adaime, A. Amacha

Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift - that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.

But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it?

It has now become clear that the new Mideast "direction" is guided primarily by the “security threat" posed by the proliferation of extremist, sectarian, Islamist fighters in numbers unseen even in Afghanistan or Iraq. This shared danger has been the impetus behind a flurry of global diplomatic deals that has spawned unexpected cooperation between a diverse mix of nations, many of them adversaries.

These developments come with a unique, post-imperialist twist, though. For the first time in decades, this direction will be led from inside the region, by those Mideast states, groups, sects and parties most threatened by the extremism.

Because nobody else is coming to “save” the Middle East today.

As Salafist militants swarm various borders – from the Levant to the Persian Gulf to North Africa and beyond – states are disintegrating, their territorial integrity and sovereignty under threat, their institutions and economies in shambles, and their armed forces impotent against the irregular warfare practiced by these invaders.

But from within this chaos, a group of countries on the frontline of the battle has decided to give shape to a solution.

Their answer is to fight the militancy directly, to weed it out of their areas and cut off its roots. Already, they are sharing intelligence, cooperating in the battlefield with their collective resources and working to secure support from the international community.

And so while states are weakening elsewhere in the region, a security alliance is emerging out of a stretch of countries from the Levant to the Persian Gulf: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

According to a number of informed sources in the Levant, interviewed over the course of several months, this “Security Arc” will seek to achieve several objectives: First, to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of participating countries. Second, to establish rigorous military and security cooperation against immediate and future threats from extremists. Third, to forge a common political worldview that enhances the alliance and can lead to further collaboration in other arenas.

Jordan’s Sunni King Abdullah once dubbed these four nations the "Shia Crescent,” taking an unusually sectarian jab at the rise in influence of Shia governments and political parties in all four nations. But the security alliances now forming between the four states has little to do with common “sect.” Instead, Abdullah and his allies have a direct hand in the development of this grouping:

It was, after all, the region’s western-backed Arab monarchies that launched the “counter-revolution” to thwart popular Arab uprisings and re-direct them at their regional adversaries, via Syria. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE and their Western allies threw money, weapons, training and resources at unseating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - in a bid to weaken Iran, isolate Hezbollah and take care of that "Shia threat” once and for all.

But in their single-minded haste to cripple foes, Arab monarchies (supported by western allies) backed any co-religionist prepared to enter the fight and ignored the sectarian, extremist ideologies that these fighters embraced. They quite illogically calculated that the militancy could be controlled once the mission was accomplished.

To quote Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ed Husain in August 2012: "The unspoken political calculation among (US) policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran's position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later."

In the end, Assad didn’t fall, Iran didn’t waver, Hezbollah dug in, and the Russians and Chinese stepped into the fray. As the Syrian conflict developed into a regional geopolitical battle, heavy weapons, porous borders and increasingly sectarian rhetoric created a unique opportunity – from Lebanon to Iraq - for Salafist militants, including Al Qaeda, to gain influence and create a highly desirable corridor from the Levant to the Persian Gulf.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says: "The dominant story going on in Syria is a Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography, the explosion of the Syrian state and of the Levant as we know it."

Today, this ideological brand of political violence marked by summary executions, suicide bombings, beheadings and sectarianism threatens to unravel the entire area and turn it into a stomping ground for “emirs” and their fiefdoms governed by Shariah law. For some, this is a price worth paying – the Saudis continue unabashedly to fund and weaponize these conflicts. Other supporters, particularly in the West, have become fearful that the jihadi march will not stop at any border.

But few have taken any concrete steps to inhibit – financially or militarily - the proliferation of this extremism.

And so it is left for the targeted countries to tackle the problem. The same Western-Arab axis that sought to cripple “Shia” ascendency in the Middle East by fueling sectarianism and encouraging an armed "Sunni" reaction, has now created urgent common cause among Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese and Iraqis, based almost entirely on the “security” threat.

A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.

Not a Uniform Union

In Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, there exists significant - mainly Sunni - populations that currently do not back a security union between the four states. Decades of sectarian propaganda from the GCC and west has made this demographic highly suspicious of the intentions of Shia Iran and its allies.

Although these populations are just as likely to be targeted by Salafist militants who have now killed Sunni moderates (along with Christians, Kurds and Shia) in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, their reluctance to see political foes gain influence has often meant they have provided “cover” for militant co-religionists and allowed them to proliferate locally. The choice is painful for this demographic: let your adversaries rise or let extremists run amok.

But earlier this year, when Hezbollah took the decision to fight openly in Qusayr, Syria alongside the Syrian army, it became clear that the parties supporting this security alliance would no longer humor the dissenters.

This Security Arc would be forged with or without the approval of naysayers. And buy-in for the security imperative is coming from an unlikely source: the United States.

In the past few months, Washington has suddenly gone from backing a mostly Sunni ‘rebellion’ in Syria to reaching out to Iran. This about-turn stems from the realization that the US has dangerously overplayed its geopolitical game and allowed religious militancy to swell past the point of no return. Neither Washington nor its NATO partners can reverse this trend unaided. Both failed miserably in the decade-long, superficial “war on terror,” which, if anything, helped sow further seeds of extremism. The US now understands that it needs the assistance of vested regional partners and rising powers that face a more imminent threat from militants – Iran, Russia, China, India, Syria, Iraq, - not just to fight extremism, but to cut off its source…in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and other places.

The Americans are in an extremely difficult position: to tackle the spread of extremists, they will have to support military and security solutions from old foes in the region – Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. For starters, this means that 30-plus years of “policy” will literally be flushed away and Washington risks alienating longtime regional allies. Moreover, a successful outcome, i.e. eliminating extremism, will almost certainly mean the ascendency of Iran and the downfall of US-ally Saudi Arabia – among the many other reverberations throughout the Mideast that this will entail.

Washington's conflicting signals on the Middle East are a result of this tortured decision. Actions, however, speak louder than words: the US just struck a nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva in record time, having secretly opened direct channels of communications first. Last month, US President Barack Obama asked to meet his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki – soon after, the US began sharing intelligence for the first time since American troops withdrew from Iraq. That first piece of intel, according to Az-Zaman, was on the movement of militants in the Anbar desert. Today, the US-Saudi relationship has soured to the point that even officials question any real convergence of interests; European ambassadors are starting to trek back to Damascus, their intelligence officials lining up to meet with their Syrian counterparts to share information on jihadists; the formidable Israelis have been shunted aside on some major Mideast decisions; NATO-member Turkey is working overtime to ease relations with Iran and Iraq. The list goes on.

These extraordinary developments would not have been feasible a mere six months ago when the blinkers were still on. The speed at which we have been ushered into a new "era of compromise" between adversaries is a testament to the extreme urgency of the jihadist/Salafist problem - and the lengths to which countries will go to address it.

Even if this means bulldozing through entrenched policy and turning it on its head.

As a senior Hezbollah source tells me: "The US is focused more on making arrangements directly with their opponents instead of relying on their allies." There's good reason for that. Many of Washington's regional allies are a source of the instability and are having to be muzzled, coerced and cajoled into accepting the new realities.

Some of these allies are political parties within the Security Arc. They're being brought into line more quickly now, partly because the threat of terrorism hovers in their own backyards. In Lebanon, for instance, a national army thus far restrained by pro-Saudi political interests looks set to finally tackle Salafist militants in key towns, cities and refugee camps where their numbers have swelled. That's a tremendous breakthrough after almost three years of sitting on the fence, waiting for "spillover" from Syria and taking virtually no security precautions to prevent it.

Security Arc: Plan of Action

Things are moving rapidly on every front. The convergence of extremist sectarian militias into the 50,000-strong "Islamic Front" has created further common cause on the other side. The US and UK last week withdrew support for rebels, belatedly fearing radicalization of the 'rebellion.' And Iran launched diplomatic efforts in neighboring Gulf states to divide their ranks against toeing the old adversarial line, succeeding when Oman refused to support a Saudi initiative for a GCC union.

But to stamp out jihadism in Syria and beyond, three main objectives need to be achieved - and it will take a collective effort to get there:

First, is to weed out extremists from inside the areas where they are growing in number and influence and where political will exists: inside the Security Arc, from within Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This is primarily a military solution – though some fighters may surrender/exit through negotiated political outreach, or when a mentoring state/individual calls it quits.

Second, is the establishment of a global sanctions regime to financially cripple jihadist/Salafist networks by targeting their sources of funding. This is already being done in small measure, but the West’s relationship with many of the violating states and individuals has prevented any genuine progress in the past. As Patrick Cockburn’s recent column in The Independent “Mass Murder in The Middle East is Funded By Our Friends The Saudis” points out: “Everyone knows where Al Qaeda gets its money, but while the violence is sectarian, the West does nothing.” The new US-Iranian rapprochement - fast-tracked to tackle terror - could change this, given the dramatic realignment of priorities and alliances created in its wake.

Third, is for neighboring states - and even those well beyond the region - to shut down their borders and enforce air-tight immigration security. On Syria’s borders we are already seeing both Turkey and Jordan taking some drastic measures, but the Iraqi border still remains porous and dangerous. Hence, Washington’s recent intel upgrade with Iraq.

Gravitating Toward The “Security” Priority

You can see the calculations changing in nations beyond the Security Arc already. Many keenly understand the vital role these four countries will have to play to stem militancy. All eyes right now are on Syria where the security situation is most precarious for the region – particularly in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.

The latter three are the regional states most likely to support the Security Arc’s security objectives, albeit with reservations that accompany some fairly stark political differences.

Jordan, for example, has played “host” to an array of foreign special forces, troops, intelligence agencies and contractors, all focused on the task of bringing down the current Syrian government. But even its longtime financial dependency on Saudi Arabia is not worth the thousands of jihadis stationed on Jordanian territory, waiting to enter conflict zones. Arab media puts the number of Jordanian-origin jihadists inside the country at a horrifying 1,000. By contrast, the Europeans are terrified of even a handful of their own Islamist militants coming home.

According to a well-connected Lebanese source, around four months ago, Jordan, Syria and Iraq began quiet discussions (on separate bilateral tracks) about economic and security cooperation. The Jordanians initially balked at the security upgrade, but came around eventually. They’re not just worried about extremism, but about economic collapse too – either can set the other off. Worst of all would be complete irrelevance in a region undergoing rapid change. The Jordanians are not mavericks, and sandwiched as they are between Syria and Iraq, it is not hard to see their new direction.

Already, state security courts in Amman are imprisoning prominent Salafists and Jordanian fighters intent on crossing over into Syria. Jordan has shut down its border, enforced tight security around the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, and is likely to take further measures as relations with the Syrian government continue to improve.

The Turks have also taken measures to tighten up their borders – in practice. An internal battle still rages within its Islamist establishment where a hot-headed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cast his lot almost three years ago with the Syrian opposition. His intransigence on this issue has cost Turkey: armed militants have found refuge inside Turkey’s border with Syria, political violence has seeped into the country, Turkey’s popularity has plummeted in the Arab world across all sects, Erdogan’s own suppression of protest has marked him a hypocrite, and Kurdish “autonomy” in Syria raises ambitions for Kurds in neighboring Turkey.

The Turks will understand the security imperative, but the clincher will be the economic ones. Syria needs a lot of reconstruction and Iraq has oil wealth to spend once calm returns. Furthermore, a gas pipeline initiative stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean will altogether bypass Turkey - if it doesn’t play ball.

Egypt is likely to fall in line with the Security Arc for the simple reason that it now faces the same problems. Indebted as the interim military government may be to the petrodollars of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf state sponsors, Egypt will be entirely bankrupt if religious militancy takes hold, as it now threatens to do. Attacks against security forces in the Sinai surged during Egypt’s popular uprising in early 2011, and have gained momentum again since last summer when the military establishment returned to power. Today, non-Bedouin militants from outside the area are flocking to the Sinai, stocked with advanced weaponry from conflicts in Libya and Sudan. During the short reign of the Muslim Brotherhood which endorsed Syrian rebels, thousands of Egyptians flocked to the fight in Syria. It is likely that a state governed or dominated by a secular military establishment will follow the Syrian example and implement heavy security solutions to break the back of extremists.

Whatever one's political inclinations, there is little doubt that inaction against Salafist militants at this juncture will lead to the disintegration of states throughout the Mideast.

The most dangerous hubs today are Syria, followed by Iraq, because of their political and geographical centrality in the region, and the likelihood of smaller or weaker neighbors being swept into the chaos.

The fight against extremism will therefore start inside the Security Arc, and will receive immediate support from the BRICS states and non-aligned nations. The West may choose to play key roles behind the scenes instead of unsettling their regional allies - at least for a while. But as confrontation escalates, countries will have to "take clear sides" in this pivotal battle, both in the Mideast and outside. Expect opportunism to play a hand - there may be a point at which a "stalemate" may be desirable for some. Few will dare to support the extremists, however, so also anticipate some serious narrative shifts on 'good-guys' and 'bad-guys' in the Mideast.

This, now, is the real War on Terror. But this time it will be led from inside the Middle East, gain universal support and change the regional political balance of power for generations to come.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

Comments

in every action there has to be an endgame.in this one there is population control and food security,both need to be addressed fairly urgently in an area where water is scarce.most arab countries have this problem and humankinds method in dealing with this problem is either through technology or war.2 areas are set to flare,egypt ethiopia sudan water war over the nile,sudan being the hotspot and syria turkey iraq ,the two rivers area.syria the hotspot

refugee camps away from the conflict have been setup to protect women and children and once in place the extremists and non extremists will battle it out destroying infrastucture but not farm land and water sources

total war will target these 3 first and will serve countries not directly involved leading to mass extinction of arab populations

only time will tell which it will be.

This article overstates the extent to which the West initially backed the rebellion in Syria. The US (and EU), from the beginning was very reluctant to support the rebellion in Syria - mostly they just paid lip service.

There have been members of Congress, (McCain, and others), who from day one have accused the Obama admin of doing little or nothing to support the anti Assad forces, and they are correct.

From the beginning Assad very cleverly violently suppressed liberal opposition while helping to build up the Islamists(he started releasing some from prison soon after the uprising began) so he could claim
that his fight was the West's and Russian's fight.

Also, it's misleading to say that the US reached out to Iran. The only reason that Iran came to the negotiating table was due to sanctions.
It is Iran that has been reaching out because there economy is a mess
and the people demand a change. Iran has very little to offer the US, other than to end it's nuclear program

Yes, and Bush liberated Iraq LOL
We are almost in 2014, so it is ridiculous to repeat propaganda of 2012 and expect us to pay it any attention

I didn't say Bush liberated Iraq.

What exactly do you disagree with in my Post.
I know my facts are correct, and you haven't challenged any of them.

Just calling something propaganda is not an argument.

Year, Anon is SO right. What had Obama do to support Al-Qaida in Syria? Not so much. just made CIA coordinate GCC founding, Turkey's opening of passage and Jordan recruiting. Of course, all USA money and diplomatic support for so-called "Syrian opposition" without Syria was also nothing.
And sure, by the logic of Anon USA did nothing to win in Vietnam - after all, they stopped before nuking China!
Nice try by anon. Esp. I liked the "fact" that Assad wanted to show USA that his fight is against Al-Qaida. Sure it was not at all, just the wickedness of Assad (see above about CIA and GCC)
I do not write for anon, who just repeats CIA propaganda of 2011 - now even CIA had stopped if because it is too ridiculous. I just wanted to put anon's nose into real facts, which even USA media admit now, i.e. after 2 years of lies and denial of Al-Qaida role. No wonder, after all AQ is a child of CIA and GCC politics as well, from the beginning - in the 70th.
Now, about Iran and sanctions. By the logic of Anon (?) the sanctions is not enough and should be turned into open war on Iran. At least, such is position of Zionists. including the same critics of Obama's "not helping" AQ.

Really, it is so boring to repeat that Volga is flowing into Caspian sea, as we call it in Russia. But for some it still could be news LOL

To Lidia,

I owe you an apology. I should not have been so critical of you.
I have just read some of your other posts on this site and see that you lived in
the former Soviet Union. Perhaps you were raised in the USSR?
Living for years in a paranoid land where you are constantly fed lies, disinformation
and bizarre theories can certainly have a damaging effect on anyone's thinking and understanding of the world.

During my life in the USSR I learned that CIA is a murderous torturous antidemocracy coups tool of imperilaism. That capitalist media is laing propaganda tool of imperialism. That capitalist democracy is a tool of colonization of the other world. And that Zionism is a racist ideology, supported by imperialist "democracy".

I had learned a lot more since then, but the foundation had proved to be solid.

Now, I could say that Anon was born and bred in imperialist colonialist racist society without even decent source of real info. (Or Anon is a native informant for such society - no big difference). So, when Anon repeats imperialist propaganda (and a very outdated one) it is not really Anon's fault. But I would not give a damn. I wrote not to Anon, but only to point to Anon's(?) blindness to reality. After all, how could one take seriously someone who cites McCain as a source of info LOL

Lidia,

You should really stop repeating slogans from the 1970's. It's kind of sad

It's 2014.

Anon should really stop repeat USA/Saudi propaganda about Syrian "revolution" - even in USA they admit now that AQ is a key player in this.
But, of course, how could Anon stop if to him CIA is something antiterror, not AQ masters. Anon really should at least read Snowden files, for ex. But I suppose Anon is hepless.

Lidia,

You really are all over the place. You also make a lot of assumptions about what others think, and put words in their mouth, which is dangerous and might be the reason you misunderstand so much.

Open war on Iran? What a ridiculous leap. That would be a disaster, and I wouldn't suggest such a thing.

As I said previously you wildly overstate the US support for the opposition. It was tepid and cautious, mainly because the US was fearful of
seeing their aid ending up in the hands of AQ, and other Islamists They didn't deny AQ's role; they were always concerned about it.
I was reading about AQ's role in the US media from the beginning, just as I was reading about what was referred to as the "moderate" opposition.

You are another one who sees all in stark whites and blacks, and thinks if you throw out the terms CIA and propaganda in the same sentence that you are saying something useful and important. You are not.

Anon could see open war on Iran as too much, but not his "authority" on USA support for Al-Qaida in Syria - i.e. McCain. No wonder I had a hard time to distinct between them.

And year sure, there were not USA senators citing self-appointed "doctor" as an credible source on "moderate rebels" in Syria. It was very recently, only after Obama backed up from bombing Syria overnight, USA media started to really publish facts about AQ being a major power in "revolution". Of course, I had known about it long before, but I usually do not resort on CIA propaganda.

Of course, Anon uses the typical propaganda tool - when unable to deny the dirty fact of USA massive support for AQ in Syria (just like not long before in Libya), Anon starts a sing about the reality not being white/black, Sure, CIA are not just a murderous and torturous tools of USA dirty imperialism - they are also busy saving white fuzzy bunnies. There is USA imperialism and when it could not just bomb, it use another tools, often no less horrible. Making and using the most crazy terrorists is their favorite tactic. Of course, they are also stupid, so they often create Frankenstein monsters, but they do their best to murder only "right people" - be it Afghan leftists, Iranian scientists or African nationalists.

"Because nobody else is coming to “save” the Middle East today..."
That is just nonsense... the navies of Russia + China stood off the coast of Syria just weeks ago blocking NATO's attempt to start WW3... so sad how some in the ME quickly forget, uhh!

Press TV is reporting that Iraqi forces are already taking action against militant camps in Anbar. Wouldn`t it be nice if stability were achieved in the MENA region. Wouldn`t it be nice if all refugees were able to return home..

Sharmine Narwan is too much focus ....is Religious , in Race issues ..
Like the All world ...is a fight between Arab people and Jewish.Shias and Sunnis .
Middle East people have a great feeling of "Proud" .of "Center of the world' and really think Russia, India, China, South America , Australia the other great nations are sit down ..watching the game between Middle east people, some defending Israel ..some Iran, Some defending Shias Muslim , others defending Sunnis .
The world cares about the energy resources . It the oil , the gas that moves people to take over country's with oil , gas .
That in 1945 , USA made an evil deal with Saudia Arabia ( Saudia Arabia oil in Change by US Army ..US ..supremacy upon Europe) ...made an huge lost of equilibrium in geopolitics.
URSS fall ... complicate the future of URSS Allies ( South Africa, Syria, Cuba , Yugoslavia, Ukrainian) .
Never the less Russia is back ...
German, Austria and rest of little European country's are pushing England France out of European leaders .(with they Qatar business partners)
China, North Korea , Russia are standing up for their partners (Syria)
India
Most country's... is going out this Qatar /Saudia Arabia...perverse control (medias Army forces)
The old friendship between Iran , India, Germany....
And the " Social Communist" friendship between Russia, Syria, China, North korea and others ....
Is not a matter of Race , neither religious.
Sharmine Narwan is too much obsess with ..Sunni Muslim, with Shias Muslim ..with Israel ..like many ...People in Arab nations.
But good that the new Iran diplomacy , the Russian the East European; China, India, South America don't follow this madness Hates.
.Even African country's are waking up .and through away this "Brotherhood, wahhabi people ...that make a mess where ever they go.
It was important to defense Syria.
But Syria is part of an all group.
Now the important ....is to fight this ..activists ....that try to push people to ...their own despicable hates .
US did horrible mistakes , wars..because of their dependence on oil .
The Gulf Country's did evil mistakes against the Shias Muslim ...because US .....give.....this "sunni Al Saud Wawabbi infinite power .
Never the less....while other nations unit to protect them self's...
The Arab nations ...pass their time , blaming the others ...
As George Gallaway says , in Arab nations people pass their time , sit down in cafes Arab smoke narguilé , in internet sites , blaming the others, blaming the Turkeys, blaming Israel , blaming the new Arab invention call ..."Zionist" ...blaming the Europeans , blaming everybody ...but doing nothing to unit and construct something positive. Full of hate and full of excuses people................
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzF6MFBkNKI

Very well written. Iran is now the rock. The rest of West Asia and North Africa seems to be falling apart.

Very interesting.

However, what is missing is an indication on an eventual SHIFT in US policy "post Obama" which is verylikely to happen. And that in favour of the wishes of Israel that has a secret (& passionate) "Love Affair" with
Saudi Arabia.
Not to forget that almost 60 million Zionist-Christians in USA are passionately pro-Israel and contributebute towards, in different ways, strong influence of Israeli policiesand interest in keeping Middle East falling in the hands of Shia minority in the Region.
Here, the Saudis & Israelis are interlocked with common interest.
The goal to keep Middle East divided but united against the Shia (read Iran et al).
And, they both have the clout to regain their GRIP on US
Administration. The Congress & even many in the Senate are never going to fall out with them post Obama.

Error Corrections in the following paragraph:

Not to forget that almost 60 million Zionist-Christians in USA are passionately pro-Israel and contribute towards, in different ways, strong influence of Israeli policies and interest in keeping Middle East from falling in the hands of Shia minority in the Region.

Thank you.

AA

The day when sick Takfiris and shameless Wahabis start attacking soft targets in western countries is nearing, and western governments have no one to blame but themselves.

An excellent article. When the Saudi dictator dies, the country will fall apart and the US and EU will beg Iran for improved ties.

I find this article very confusing, and I think much of ambiguity in it is intentional. It's underlying logic is this: to the extent that Saudi Arabia can be thought of as a direct sponsor of AQ itself, Saudi becomes an enemy of the US and the Western alliance, and to that extent, the US will respond by encouraging this supposed Security Arc, which geographically speaking isolates the Shi'ite world from the Gulf. But defense alliances cannot be concluded and activated on the basis of such abstract covariant equations. Defense alliances are either on or off, you don't need Carl Schmitt to tell you that. The problem is this: if the Saudi rulers are directly accused of responsibility for 9/11, they will respond by saying quite accurately that they only played the part they played in 9/11, under CIA instructions. And then the fat will be in the fire. So the US can't do that. It is playing an incoherent game of brinkmanship by almost doing it but not quite, thus trying to discredit the Sauds without precipitating its own complete ruin, which is what would follow from a full exposure of the truth about 9/11. Now, Sharmine is not prepared to engage in analysis on this level, so what she is doing can really be dismissed as superficial and misleading, if not as intentional disinfo, on her part or on that of her informants. There is really no point in skating around on the surface like this any more.

" The problem is this: if the Saudi rulers are directly accused of responsibility for 9/11, they will respond by saying quite accurately that they only played the part they played in 9/11, under CIA instructions."

Actually, that's not a problem. The American people believed it when they were told Saddam Hussein "had something to do with 9/11", and they will believe it when told the Saudis "did it". Whatever the "ragheads" say in response to that will never be heard by Amercan ears and if it did, it won't be believed. Because they are "ragheads", after all.

Never underestimate the wilfull ignorance and manipulability of the average American.

You are delisional as you are ignorant. You have created a fantasy world where Syria's infrastructure hasn't been destroyed and where Syrians (who are sick of being pushed around by Iran and by terrorists and by the Gulf) are ready and willing to fight your battles.
Iran and America both want to destroy Syria stop kidding yourself

Now Lydia will come and say "Anonymous the Zionist believes ...."

Sharmine Narwani thank you very much for updating the whole world about the recent developements taking place inside and outside Middle East. I have only one thing to add to this useful article that the US and Iran need keep an eye on Saudi & its self proclaimed government's actions & reactions harmful and endangering for the whole subcontinent.

Thank you for a most interesting and informative analysis. I think the Quartet is a busted flush now and has no relevance any more. I will monitor events in Syria and elsewhere in South West Asia with added interest, based on your analysis.

thank you for inside overview of the situation

I can't say I have anything to add, but this is the best analysis on the situation I have ever read, and I read everything I can about it.

Very interesting analysis Sharmine. The question that begs an answer in my mind is: Would the US, the principal benefactor of instability in the world, finally change course and reverse its deceitful interventionist policy?! Would the Quartet finally broker a just and comprehensive peace agreement between Arabs and Israelis, hence giving birth to a Palestinian State based on UNSCRs 224 and 338?

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