The realism you (don't) like

(To Gino Lanzara)
22/12/20

Analyzing MO and the Eastern Mediterranean is equivalent to singing an ode to realpolitik, to a pragmatism attentive to the calibration of available resources; it is realism bamboo, it is a balance of power, certainly not the naive Wilsonian idealism, which is opposed to the assumption that peace is not conciliation but a principle of legitimacy.

Lack of idealism? Certainly; after all, Saint Just affirmed that, regardless, one cannot reign innocently. Tayllerand, Bismarck, Disraeli, Kissinger, have tamed the change in exchange for a world with more defined contours. Thus, the fact that realism sees Europe in an uneasy situation, unknown to the chancelleries of China and Russia, must be accepted.

Remaining in a Middle Eastern context as long as it is free from religious ideological superstructures, let us point the compass on Turkey; the range of action will expand by itself, with a trend similar to that of the concentric waves raised by a stone thrown into a pond, and reflected from the banks.

With the disappearance of the USSR, Turkey, in the multipolar reality, projected itself to Turan1, an ancestral land with which countries for a long time did not have diplomatic relations, a region often in check of inter-ethnic conflicts. Beyond the turkophony, Ankara has presented itself with a strategy characterized by a Eurasian geopolitics, a more acceptable concept because it is not strictly defined, and which facilitates the image of a Turkey pivot of international security, characterized by a georeligious principle that leads to its own political Islam.

Turkey and Iran were empires, they will never cease to perceive themselves as such; the Turks revisitedly rediscovered the humiliation for the territorial amputations following the post-1918 treaties, with a legacy of mutual distrust with the Arabs.

In Tehran they rule the reflections of God2 Shiites, in Ankara a president who, in 2014, while Iran was still waiting for the 12th imam hidden, said he wanted to recreate a caliphate, a term that cannot be underestimated for its political implications, given that the caliph is an envoy from Allah, and that Erdoğan often resorts to a symbolism that draws inspiration from his belonging to the Tariqah3 area of Naqshbandiyya that, attributing the descent from the first caliph Abu Bakr, claims custody of Sunni orthodoxy.

American political and economic support for Turkish promotion as opposed to Iran has not materialized; paradoxically, in the opinion of part of the Anatolian diplomacy, the only Middle Eastern country closest to Turkey is Israel, the land of the other only God and above all of the firepower of Tsahal4, given the pro-Western foreign policy, the then secular and democratic orientation, the existence of an economic market reality. In short, the time when the Sunni countries looked to Turkey as the other antagonist column of Iran, in place of Saudi Arabia, is now long gone.

The atheist Atatürk has fallen under the arrows of the AKP ruling class, which now considers him ripe for the definitive otherworldly oblivion: for a Turkey suited to its current president, only 2023, the centenary founding republican, counts on the basis of questionable propaganda and more than questionable cultural bases.

Imam Contact Fethullah directly, first ally then bitter enemy, in 2002 frees the AKP path from Kemalist military and magistrates: the Ergenekon and Balyoz trials are functional for the purpose, thanks also to the purges that decimated the Navy and Air Force. However, power does not allow sharing: Gülen flees, Erdoğan remains master of the field, and begins to weave the web of a new policy that aims at the military, at relations with the EU, at the Kurdish problem, shared with Iran and Iraq and akin to the Palestinian one for Israel; above all it ties with the extremism of the Gray Wolves who, under the leadership of Devlet Bahçeli, supports him and gives birth to the ultra-nationalists of Nizami Alem5, active in supporting Chechen separatists and Lebanese fundamentalist organizations.

The jabs that Paris today exchanges with the Turkish president, with the blood of Vienna in the background and the murder of Paty, in fact report the Wolves in the European limelight also in the light of the punitive expeditions conducted against the Armenians on French soil, and which cost the banning of the movement.

It is inevitable to go back to both Huntington's thought and his clash of civilizations, and to the Armenian genocide of the last century; inevitable French support without ifs and buts to the Egyptian competitors, complete with rosettes of the Legion of Honor.

2013 comes with the repression of Gezi Park, and with the coup d'état of al-Sīsī, supported by the West, against Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, already put on the index by Nasser at the time, which induces the Turkish intelligentsia to believe that a putsch would meet Atlantic sympathies, a suspicion magnified by the clumsy military pronouncement of 2016, for which Erdoğan still collects the support of the Iranian minister Zarif.

The rhetoric, while trying to belittle the Saudis and the Emiratis with the help of Qatar, does not avoid coming to terms with the rain men from Beijing, persecutors of Uyghur Turkish-speaking Muslims, but also dispensers of precious currency oxygen; all this in the light of an economic crisis heralding a significant loss of internal consensus, accompanied by a perceptible isolation within NATO and various dissensions expressed by the Arab League. While it is true that money renders sight to the blind, in Turkey, where the use of Chinese currency has been allowed to facilitate commercial transactions and where key points for the Silk Road have been determined, it has allowed policy to be directed now. completely adverse to the Uighurs, no longer victims of genocide, but objects of pragmatic extradition.

The formula zero problems with all the neighbors, coined by strategist Davutoğlu, turns into a Pandora's box, and the careless attempt to appropriate the 2011 Arab Springs, so similar to the 2009 Iranian green movement, born to challenge Ahmadinejad, is worthless.6; even the Syrian events, interspersed with the meetings in Astana with Russians and Iranians, lead to an adventurist posture that is reflected on the Aegean islands, portions of the Balkans, on Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan: Aleppo, Mosul and Kirkuk are united by a thin red line, even if i parsee they certainly do not seem willing to give up Shiite territory. One God, the usual wars, harnessed by the persistent integralist threat.

Le spring flames they flare up quickly, but just as quickly die out; Cihan Tuğal7 considered that the Springs constituted the failure of the Turkish model compared to the Iranian one of passive revolution of integration of the masses, and that they have destroyed the project of Islamic liberalism.

In Libya, Turkey supports al-Sarraj, while France and Egypt support General Haftar; in slow controversy regarding gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, involving Greece, which expelled the Libyan ambassador, and Cyprus on the one hand and Turkey on the other, France denounced the violation of international law regarding Hellenic territorial waters, not to mention the subsequent opposition to the support given by Ankara to Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh.

Two blocks are clearly outlined: the Shiite one, led by Iran, and the Sunni one with Saudis, Emiratis and Egyptians. While Ankara and Tehran continue to confront each other alternating competition and cooperation, the frictions with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi create a fault point that is added to the Greek one, characterized by the management of the EEZs, for which Turkey, not recognizing the UNCLOS, acts as a freelancer maritime in collaboration with the succubus GNA Tripolino; from the age-old question of Cyprus, whose Republic of the North is recognized only by Ankara; from the provocative return to the Islamic cult of the Hagia Sophia and the Savior in Chora; from the unspeakable management of Syrian refugees led to the Greek border and used as a weapon of direct pressure on Athens and indirect on Brussels. It is no coincidence that the tension in relations between Athens and Ankara has begun to be increasingly present among the topics discussed by the Hellenic premiership with the Israeli government, given the increasingly close relations between the two countries to which the consideration for which cannot certainly be extraneous. , with Greece undermined in its sovereignty, Turkey could pose a further threat to Israeli stability. Can you be sure? We doubt it.

While it is true that Turkish energy research activities are a challenge, an escalation such as to justify the use of arms does not seem credible; Athens, which has entered into maritime agreements with Italy and is diplomatically close to Cairo, after receiving French support, could require Israeli support that goes beyond rhetoric, in light of the persistent and propagandistic liaison between Ankara and the Palestinians, potential cause of merchant traffic near the ports of Jerusalem.

It is necessary to pay attention to the Turkish doctrine of the Mavi vatan, the “blue homeland”, a reference to the use of naval projection in the Eastern Mediterranean, which however requires a strong industrial involvement, now held back by structural deficiencies and a financial crisis induced by an unbalanced economic policy. The Turkish-Iranian financial difficulties are geopolitical in nature; in Ankara, the devaluation is accompanied by a structural and inflationary crisis of which Turkey is a victim also in light of the latest US punitive measures8, subsequent to the Russian ones in 2016 following the abatement of a SU 24.

Chronicle the mention of sanctioning initiatives in the EU postponed to March 2021, which do not intend to have any immediate value on Ankara, given that the same The World pointed out that financial problems could spread, given the exposure of European banking institutions totaling around 123 billion dollars, which is why Erdoğan is promising structural reforms to creditors defined a few months ago Islamophobes; the nomination of Naci Agbal as governor of the Central Bank is substantial and, by increasing the interest rate from 10,25% to 15%, has facilitated the return to a conventional monetary policy independent of the presidential line, after having burned in the last two years 140 billion dollars of foreign exchange reserves.

Tehran is suffering the effects of the harsh American sanctioning policy, reinforced by the JCPOA affair, and with the embargo expiring for the purchase of conventional weapons, towards which the Biden administration will propose itself with the awareness of having to face the heavy unknowns connected Iranian missile program. It should in fact be considered that, in parallel with the policy of maximum pressure of Trump, Iran has increased the enrichment of uranium, necessary for nuclear weapons.

For Israel, the election of Joe Biden, in difficulty both in the Senate and in any case for the future management of a country cracked, both from the age that cannot grant him two presidential elections, raises serious questions about the aspects connected to a transition of power conditioned by a strong polarization determined by the more radical democratic wing, which favors a rapprochement with an EU inclined to the Palestinian cause, to an ostracism towards reactionary Gulf monarchies, and concessions nuclear to the Tehran regime, so much so that it can predict clashes Obama style, also in the light of the repeated Israeli electoral consultations unable to express stable parliamentary majorities, and which only allows the implementation of a strategy of compliance for compliance, or a gradual lifting of sanctions in exchange for compliance with the agreements originally entered into by the Iranian side; of course, nuclear ambitions that shake the neo-Ottoman sleep, frustrated by imagining a Tel Aviv master of the Middle Eastern atom. However, imagining that you are intent on the game of Monopoly, now would be the time of Unexpected, or of Agreements of Abraham, which demonstrated the immanence of realism and the evanescence of the Palestinian question.

The US aegis, which allowed Israel to enter into diplomatic agreements with Bahrain, UAE, Sudan and Morocco under Saudi observation, contributes to suspend annexations in the West Bank, and to unite Ankara, which it has also maintained for over 70 years diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, and Tehran, in the elevation of protests which, remaining on the board of the Monopoly, did not prevent the occurrence of further Chance, already introduced by the close ties for some time between Israel and the Gulf States, and inspired by the intent both to marginalize the destabilizing forces facilitated by the contraction of the US presence, and to remove the barriers between the more advanced Middle Eastern countries, despite the Palestinian Hamas strengthening its cooperation with the Lebanese Hezbollah.

As observed by Giampiero Massolo, regardless of the "quick methods..by Trump, the process triggered with the JCPOA does not he had never had the confidence of other regional players". The anti-Iranian rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni monarchies is therefore a logical consequence, to which attention should be paid in order not to hand over the area to Chinese appetites.

The evolving scenario, with the transitions of power in Oman and Kuwait, is therefore demonstrating that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the regional fulcrum but has become the instrument of the various global powers to establish new strategic balances: while Turkey, Qatar , Iran exploit the Palestinian question in an anti-Israeli and anti-American key, the Sunni states see in the normalization of relations with Israel, the establishment of a coalition aimed at opposing Iranian expansion; Among other things, Israel would represent both an economic opportunity and a useful one shoulder to be able to count on the support of the US, interested in hindering the Russian-Chinese regional yearnings.

Relations between Turkey and Israel, united byalliance with the suburbs by Ben Gurion, are initially the least interesting to analyze, given that generally we tend to focus more on conflicts than on good relations: in 1949 Ankara was the first to recognize Tel Aviv, supporting a policy that, during the Cold War, did not it has never lacked support thanks to the substantial continuity of the Israeli government and the presence of the military in Ankara.

Since 2011, the geopolitics of chaos9 which led to contradictions and a period of diplomatic isolation, evidenced by Hamas' victory in the elections in Gaza, the 2006 Lebanon War, the 2008 Cast Lead operation, the 2009 Davos incident between Erdoğan and Peres, from the Mavi Marmara story of 2010.

At the moment the situation remains fluid; for Israel, an independent and non-Arab Kurdish political entity in the region takes on a positive connotation; in a mutual exchange of diplomatic compensation, Israel could also reassess the Turkish influence zone in Syria. In short, the advantages, net of the façade demagogy, seem to be multiple, given that among other things, part of the Israeli crude oil imports pass through Turkey (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline), and that the huge commercial exchanges continue to contribute to maintaining the status quo. Ufuk Ulutas' appointment as ambassador10 in Israel, therefore it arrives in full agreement with Abraham, and after 2 years of vacatio, with the intention of improving ties with the administration of the new US president: as Lenin would say, one step forward and two steps backwards, especially in view of the trilateral Israel-Greece-Cyprus and Greece-Egypt-Cyprus partnerships.

And Iran? The Gulf region has seen an increase in insecurity, which saw 2020 open with the elimination of General Qassem Suleimani, and close with that of the general, as well as a nuclear expert, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh; murders to which it seems unwise to follow up with an immediate response, given that Iran, like Saudi Arabia, is facing an economic crisis caused by the collapse of crude oil and exacerbated by the pandemic. The alleged infirmity of Khamenei anticipates the focus of attention both on his replacement, in the hands of the Pasdaran, effective holders of Iranian power, and on the presidential elections of 2021, on which the candidacies of both Ebrahim Raisi, currently head of the judiciary, stand out, and Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, leader of the Mostafa Mir Salim movement and former Pasdaran officer, both very far from Rouhani's reformist sentiment.

Finally, the proof of 9: Nagorno Karabakh. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia involved Turkey, Russia, Iran, a Shiite ally of Christian Armenia, with Israel continuing to have relations with both nations. Both Iran and Israel, while claiming neutrality, have leaned towards the same side: Azerbaijan, the geopolitical miracle of the autocracy of the Aliyev family. On the umpteenth background, the other two political subjects not interested in peace: Ankara, and especially Moscow, the only one able to speak with all parties.

Happy 2021, it takes ...

1 Term referring to places and peoples of Central Asia, in particular to the lowland of the same name which is found in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

2 Ayatollah

3 Spiritual order

4 Israeli army

5 Order of the Universe

6 Iranian politician, sixth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 3 August 2005 to 3 August 2013. He is considered a secular conservative, but in line with the religious orientation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He made himself known for his anti-Zionist views as well as his anti-American and anti-Western positions.

7 University of California, Berkeley Professor.

8 The US is imposing sanctions on the Presidency of Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey under Section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for knowingly entering into a transaction with Rosoboronexport, from which the surface-to-air missile system was purchased. S-400.

9 Iniacio Ramonet

10 40-year-old, pro-Palestinian, non-diplomat by career

Photo: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri / presidency of the republic of Turkey / Twitter / IRNA