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3 reasons the United States has lost the Middle East

The United States has become isolated in the Middle East just as new players move in and traditional powers re-align their geo-strategic positions.

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Iraq’s Vice President Nouri al-Maliki recently stated that the Trump administration does not have a clear policy vision, let alone policy plan for the Middle East. Events on the ground bear this out, but the fact is that America’s isolation from the future progress of the Middle East actually began under Barack Obama and to an extent George W. Bush. This trajectory is now largely irreversible.

With America losing its grip on the Middle East, other powers have moved in, particularly Russia, China and Iran.

Here’s why and how.

1. Chinese economic might 

With the world fixated on the military events in Syria and Iraq, China has been quietly but un-ambiguously working with the Syrian government to fix the terms on which Chinese companies will invest in Syria’s economy and help to rebuild Syria’s largely destroyed infrastructure when the conflict ends.

Earlier this month, the Syrian embassy in Beijing held an expo where 1,000 Chinese companies came to discuss what they could offer in terms of investment and redevelopment in post-war Syria.

At the event, Imad Mustafa, the Syrian Ambassador to China confirmed that China will be given priority in the rebuilding of post-conflict Syria. He stated,

“China, Russia, and Iran have provided substantial support to Syria during the military conflict. Therefore, it is these three countries that will play a major role in the reconstruction of Syria”.

It has now been confirmed that China is set to invest $2 billion into rebuilding Syria and this could only be the beginning.

Both Syria and Iran are on the map of China’s New Silk Road (the One Belt–One Road). As such, transit roots from East Asia to the Middle East will positively impact not only Syria and Iraq but also Iran and Turkey.

This comes at a time when the government in Baghdad remains committed to good relations with both Tehran and Damascus. In this sense, America’s illegal regime change in Iraq dating back to 2003 has backfired spectacularly. Iraq which was an enemy of Iran and had more or less frozen relations with Syria is now open to both countries which will make China’s life easier while potentially shutting America out.

Far from seeing One Belt–One Road as an opportunity, the United States has opposed it politically, the US continues to provoke China in the South China Sea and over the Korean Peninsula and furthermore, the US is currently engaged in many conflicts which happen to be along the planned Road.

READ MORE: US troops in Europe and the Middle East are there to provoke China more than Russia or Iran

By failing to cooperate with China on its flagship commerce and infrastructure project, the US is not only on the losing side of history but has been increasingly shut out of economic opportunities in regions where America once had considerable economic influence which it is gradually losing.

2. Russian geo-political, military and energy might 

The last five years alone have seen Russia gain new Middle Eastern and Eurasian allies and strengthen traditional alliances while not alienating a single power in one of the world’s most fraught regions.

Russian involvement in the Syrian war has strengthened an old alliance with Damascus. Just yesterday, Russia’s Federation Council approved a deal between Moscow and Damascus which will allow for the presence of Russian bases in Syria for the next 49 years with an option to extend the agreement by another 25. In this sense Russia and Syria’s alliance will last well into the final decades of the 21st century.

Syria also stated that Russia will be given priority along with China in Iran, in areas of post-war redevelopment, particularly in the energy sector where Russia is a global leader while importantly retaining independence from OPEC.

At the same time, Russia is building a partnership with Iraq. Baghdad just purchased a substantial amount of T-90 tanks from Russia and Iraq’s Russophillic Vice President is currently in Moscow where he is set to deepen cooperation between the two countries.

Russia’s relations with Iran remain at an all time high, with Iran looking to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the near future. Russia along with China founded the SCO in 2001. India and Pakistan both jointed this year.

Egypt under President el-Sisi continues to expand on historically good relations with Russia which date back to the Nasser era. Egypt and Russia have pledged to cooperate against terrorist threats and just today Russia confirmed the creation of a new de-escalation zone in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. The agreement was signed in Cairo which demonstrates Egypt’s increasingly important role in cooperating with Russian led peace initiatives.

In respect of Egypt’s neighbour Libya, the faction of Libya’s failed state which is the only one that could reasonably form a legitimate government, the secular Tobruk based Libyan House of Representatives, has good relations with both Egypt and Russia. This could become increasingly important as the armed forces of the House of Representatives, the Libyan National Army continues to make gains against jihadists.

In the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia’s attempt to isolate Qatar has backfired spectacularly. Russia is now seen by the Qataris themselves as well as those in the wider region as a legitimate broker of peace. Russia has called for a peaceful and amicable solution to the crisis which has been praised by Doha. At the same time, Russia continues to improve relations with Saudi Arabia.

All of this has happened while Russia remains one of the few powers in the world to have good relations with both Israel and Palestine.

All of this puts Russia in a unique position as a super-power with either close relations or at minimum good working relations with all the major players in the wider Middle East.

3. Turkey’s realignment and Iran’s re-emergence 

Ever since joining NATO in 1952, Turkey has been a close US ally in the Middle East and Eurasia. However, Turkey’s relationship with Washington continues to plunge to new depths.

Under Donald Trump, America’s backing of the Kurds, Turkey’s number one regional enemy, has caused to Ankara distance itself from both NATO and the pro-NATO bloc, the European Union. Turkey’s participation in the Astana Peace Process along with Russia and Iran is symptomatic of Turkey’s increasingly good relationship with Russia and moreover, of Turkish President Erdogan’s good personal relationship with President Putin.

READ MORE: America has pushed Turkey straight into Russia’s arms

Two related events have also brought Turkey closer to Iran. Russia was able to draw two historical adversaries into the Astana Peace Process while Turkey’s strongly pro-Qatari position in the Gulf has put Tehran and Ankara on the same page.

President Erdogan’s interventions into the internal affairs of Arab countries has made Turkey’s relations with the Arab states of Syria, Iraq and Egypt deeply strained. To compensate for this Turkey is looking increasingly outside of both Europe and the Levant for allies and is drawing nearer to Russia, Iran and Qatar.

This has the effect of putting the two large non-Arab powers of the Middle East firmly in a camp which has totally different geo-strategic priorities vis-a-vis the United States President Erdogan’s enthusiastic participation in the One Belt–One Road forum in Beijing is a further sign that Ankara is increasingly looking east after a 20th century where both culturally and geo-strategically, it had tended to look west.

CONCLUSION

All of this leads to America’s increased geo-political and consequently economic isolation in the Middle East. Iran’s increased prestige in Syria and Iraq looks set to define the next generation of Levantine and Mesopotamian relations with Tehran while Iran’s pragmatic relationship with Qatar could hold the key to continued Iranian economic growth.

Turkey’s pivot away from both the Arab world and the west is being largely compensated for with good relations with historic regional rivals turned potential partners, Russia and Iran.

Russia is in a unique position as a respected power broker and security partner throughout virtually all of the Middle East, while China’s One Belt–One Road which runs through much of the region is an economic super-giant in the making. America by contrast has not offered any original thinking in respect of the economic future of the Middle East, this is why many  Middle East governments are increasingly seeing America as yesterday’s lost opportunity rather than tomorrow’s hope.

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journey80
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journey80

Bush, Billary, Obama

nibs
Guest
nibs

1. China, Russia, Iran all are close or have borders in the region.
2. These countries operate foreign policies in their own interest, whereas the USA is massively swayed by what Israel tells them to do, and ends up doing things totally at odds with the US interest.

Conclusion: lose the Neocons.

stevek9
Guest
stevek9

An important aspect of Russia’s increasing influence in the World is nuclear power. This does not get a lot of discussion. Nuclear power will be the primary energy source for the World in this century. Despite irrational fears, this is the only source of energy outside coal which can power world-wide economic development. Russia is one of, if not the premier technical leaders in nuclear power technology (the BN800 is a case in point). And, they have an aggressive and effective export strategy. They will completely finance the construction of nuclear plants in their ‘build-own-operate’ model (which they implemented in… Read more »

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

Russia is doing wonders with solar energy that it can also help its ME friends set up not only for their own citizens but for sale in order to build their economies.
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/solar-power-russia-emerges-shade/ri20035

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

Russia insider bans lots of people so their comments will not be seen. Discern anything that comes from RI…the owner is a real sleaze and DOES have hidden agenda .

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

Russia has huge natural gas supplies. They should be buying China turbine generators and lots of wire to supply China electricity.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

“Nuclear power will be the primary energy source for the World in this century.”
Absurd ramble.

Mike John Elissen
Guest
Mike John Elissen

Less than 2 years ago US/EU politicians and political/strategic analysts were dead certain Russia would face `a quagmire` and `a repeat of the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan` in Syria. Anno now, the results of the Russian intervention in Syria are clear, while NATO faces its own `quagmires`… especially in Afghanistan, where a 15-year old war/occupation produces casualties, hatred and none of the fairy-tale promises made. Handing out cheques after butchering innocent people (or even the `cops` that you trained) doesn`t obscure the fact that NATO`s military adventures are failures – by any standard. Anyone with a memory capable of remembering… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

The U.S. could have had Russia as an ally. Instead we listened to our neocon cabal which hates everything Russian. Now Russia looks the other way like who needs the U.S.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The Neocons are the satanist children and grandchildren of the Trotskyite Jews who ran the Holocaust of Russians between 1917 and 1960 or so, and then again under Yeltsin. They are afraid that their evil may catch up to them if they stop murdering people – especially Christians and especially Russians.

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

You are right in your assessment of the “tribe”. We have to be cleansed of their evil intentions.

Dan Kuhn
Guest
Dan Kuhn

If you want allies you have to offer something other than a demand that they are either with us or against us. What has the US given the Middle East? War and lots of it. When they offer economic help it is only with military hardware. The US has flattened at least three countries in the Middle East just since the turn of the century and is currently assisting Saudi Arabia in the destruction of another. What the US offers is even more misery piled upon the misery they have already inflicted on that part of the world. What is… Read more »

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

What an excellent and insightful analysis, so close to Reality vs political propaganda spin and delusions of grandeur. More than any other reader, I read it as a Revelation and confirmation, the details unfolding only NOW Day by Day, are GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of this letter published by a Major US daily in the ‘Heartland’ of the Nation in the Spirit of ’76. September 13, 1976, the major daily THE KANSAS CITY TIMES published this Vision of the FUTURE: “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO… Read more »

lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

Looks like UN wont prosecute US for being there and they wont pay compensation for damage so 1 foot in the grave for them!!
China is gonna help rebuild,Russians will look after defences,Iran will be a good friend,who needs US??

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Or, to quote that superb humanitarian and world class US diplomat, ‘Cookies’ Noodleman: “Fuck the EUSA”!

samo war
Guest
samo war
Debbie Beane
Guest
Debbie Beane

The real losers? comment image

ColinNZ
Guest
ColinNZ

Great article, excellent overview.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

That was a really good one by Garrie. Backed by facts, no political bias and a clear-headed analysis.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Three reasons the United States has/have lost the Middle East?

1 The
2 United
3 States

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

I want to congratulate The Duran for getting on this site: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-duran/Check as ‘unreliable fake news and propaganda’. Who does the site ‘trust highly’?
WAPO, The NYT, the BBC and… the MOSCOW TIMES ! Priceless.

Simon
Guest
Simon

LOL they also had Bellingcat in their ‘least biased’ list. Good grief !

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

“America by contrast has not offered any original thinking in respect of the economic future of the Middle East…” So true as they never contribute in any way and only rob and destroy. Very good summary and overview. Also good news to hear RUssia is there to stay in Syria. This time I did believe the US administration would leave Syria and that all loss of lives and destruction has been for nothing. Get them out and rebuild!

seby
Guest
seby

Hallelujah!

The “end of the new American century” pronounced by the pentagon.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/23/the-end-new-american-century-pronounced-pentagon.html

samo war
Guest
samo war

barrrrbarian invasion ?

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

“Russia remains one of the few powers in the world to have good relations with both Israel and Palestine”

Apparently Russia has not figured out that Israel said their Kol Nidre prayers and will stab Russia in the back….covertly of course.

Putin's baby
Guest
Putin's baby

I love it! Hopefully these filthy yanks will be kicked out of ME soon as possible… then they will have to frack their country to pieces to have their energy… no water tho, just gas.. ho ho ho

Latest

Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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By

Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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