The International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia has been regularly analyzing the events in the Middle East and the Balkans. IFIMES is analyzing the question whether the American (USA) national security is threatened. From a wider analysis we are hereby presenting the most important and interesting parts:
The analysis of the events and the upcoming developments on the international geo-political scene are pointing towards a very complex situation in front of which the American administration is found in the second term of the President Bush. The most important and dangerous crisis points in which the USA are loosing the initiative are: the unfinished mission in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear armament, Syria that is arming and supporting the terrorists with Russia arming Damascus, North Korea and Chinese-Taiwanese relations, Arab-Israeli conflict and not the least the anti-terrorist struggle about which the USA openly confessed they cannot fight it by themselves and called upon Europe to join them in this struggle (as expressed in speech of the American Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on the International Security Conference in Munich on the 12th of February 2005).
If we add to the crisis also the American foreign policy in context of U.S. relations towards the allies, we can observe a crisis in relations with the oldest of allies Turkey in light of the recent visit of Prime Minister Erdogan in Teheran and Moscow. The American crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia, which is as a totalitarian monarchy and an anachronistic contrast to the American ideal of free and democratic world. The Saudis are seriously working on joining the nuclear club with the support of Pakistani scientists. With this, the Saudi-Chinese cooperation (the contract between the Saudi giant ARAMCO and the Chinese SINOPEC) will probably not remain solely on the level of economic cooperation.
The speech of the President Bush at the second term inauguration on the 21st of Jan 2005 did not touch the American foreign policy crisis in detail, a fact that has a mid-term influence on the deterioration of American national security in the next five years.
The speech of President Bush did not include global crisis hotpoints such as the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and has also not offered any answers to the questions of Iraq, Iran, North Korea and relations with Russia and China.
According to the analysts, the speech was an expression of a deep division within the Administration in the attitude towards the question of foreign policy. The romantic idealists wish to spread democracy and justice over the world, while the realists, who are aware of the limitations to the use of force, do not wish for quick and drastic changes, since these would destabilize certain areas of strategic importance for the economy of the USA Such a division was in the first term defined as a quarrel between the Pentagon and the State Department. The experience from the first term is showing that the idealists freed Afghanistan and Iraq of two totalitarian and dangerous regimes, while the realists did not possess a post-conflict strategy, especially in the case of Iraq.
Iran is occupying an important position with priority in the political agenda of Bush Administration in the second term, while a certain form of Neo-McCarthism is being applied in relation to this country. Being aware of the strategic position of Iran in the Middle East and Asia, reasons for such politics can be found in Iranian influence on the (in)stability of Iraq and in the question of nuclear armament. The geographical position of Iran is very important for the USA Iran is located on the crossroads of American national interests: Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, Iraq and Turkey to the east and Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia to the north. Iran is controlling three strategic coast-lines: the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. America does not wish for Iran to become a regional power in the struggle for supremacy in this part of the world between the USA, Russia and China. Iran has a great influence on the developments in Iraq through the Shiites and also on the solution of misunderstandings among the states around the Caspian Sea, where 657 km of the coast belong to Iran. The Caspian Sea is not only important for the USA, but also for Europe, which gives a reason for the importance of European troika (Great Britain, Germany and France) on the issue of nuclear quarrel.
The USA must be aware of dangers of the tripple alliance (Iran-Russia-China) on the political, economic and strategic level. Some in Washington have already named the new block as »the black triangle«. India and some other countries in Asia are candidates to join this block in the next period and it is this black triangle that represents the greatest threat to the American interests.
The states of this triangle are increasing the promotion of their influence also on some areas that are today actually under the American military control, such as the Balkans. It is the Balkans that have a strategic importance for the new block in making, since the Balkans control the crossroads between the Europe and the Middle East.
American politics towards Iran is confused and unclear. The confusion is coming from the fact that the USA cannot chose from among the two strategies, since both of them are equally bitter. If the USA go for the military option, they will probably choose a selective attack on certain military and nuclear objects (263 objectives) and not a classical move of occupying a certain part of Iranian territory. USA have a great advantage to win in such a war. The results will probably be catastrophical, since Iran will respond with attacks on Tel Aviv and on Israeli nuclear center in Dimona with the 2.000 km range Shehab 3 rockets, but also on other American bases in the Gulf, Iraq and in Afghanistan.
According to the opinion of the International Institute IFIMES, the American approach to Iran will respect the following:
The USA will not repeat the Iraqi example, meaning they will not attack Iran without any visible evidence that Iran really wishes to possess nuclear weapon.
In the case of attack, the USA will avoid taking control of the territory, since in order to do so, they would need at least 350.000 soldiers, which they momentarily do not have at their disposal.
The Administration will not insist on toppling the regime with force. There are opinions that the Iranian peoples themselves could do that. Perhaps here as well the bets could be put on the minorities, especially Kurds (8 million in Iran, of which most are Sunni). The Iranians are preparing for such a scenario and have chosen for the candidate at the next presidential elections, scheduled for the 17th of July 2005, a Shiite Kurd Abdulah Ramzan Zado (since the Iranian constitution declares that the president must be a Shiite).
The USA will patiently wait for the results of negotiations between the European troika and Iran, despite the present standstill. Probably the Administration will not prejudice the military option, and certainly not in an unilateral manner as in the case of Iraq. The USA will inform the European allies, but will attack Iran alone (without Great Britain).
SYRIA AND RUSSIA
Syria has in the context of a threat to the American national interests an important place. Syria is in control (militarily and politically) of almost entire Lebanon and represents a base and a hinterland for the high ranking members of Sadam's regime, which are freely financing the rebellion and sending foreign terrorists to Iraq. Thus, the Baath Party confessed that it was behind the attempt (8th of February 2005) on Mithal Al-Alusi's life, the leader of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation (DPIN) and member of the International Institute IFIMES and behind an attempt (14th of February 2005) on the life of a former prime minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri, since it was Hariri that demanded the retreat of Syrian forces from Lebanon before the parliamentary elections in May this year. Syria is openly supporting the Palestinian militants (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) and the Lebanese Hezbollah and is able to nullify any agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.
Coming from the mentioned facts, Russia has again strengthened her relations with her former ally from the Soviet times. Russia wishes to establish her own tripple block of interests in this area. The visits of the Turkish prime minister Erdogan and the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad in Moscow in the beginning of 2005 represent a new alliance in the region. Stories of Russian rockets in Syria are a part of complex and dangerous activities in which every side possesses her own interest. Turkey wishes to have good relations with Syria and Iran, with their common fear being the establishment of Kurdistan in the north of Iraq, which would threaten all the three countries, with their own Kurdish minorities of more than a million.
Russia wishes to return to the Middle East as the right partner in the Middle-East peace process and not as an observer in the framework of a quartet (UN, EU, Russia, USA). At the same time Russia wishes to return the strike to America through the backdoor (Syria) for the events in Ukraine, which is located in the Russian strategic area and has fallen into the American hands with the victory of Victor Jushchenko over night.
Russia has for certain already sold several (defense) rockets of type SA-10 and SA-18 land-air missiles to Syria, which can come into the hands of terrorists and can seriously threaten the allied airplanes, especially in Iraq.
In connection to the offensive missiles type SSX-26 land-land, Russia will wait for the outcome of bilateral negotiations with the USA. The SSX-26 missiles are the most up-to-date in the tactical Russian arsenal and can simultaneously fire two missiles. The first missile hits the Patriot or Aroua rocket missile, while at the same time the other missile, which is moving into totally different direction hits the target. Moving, composition and the use of SSX-26 do not require more than 3 people and do not need complex radar equipment.
North Korea has already declared her role and position as a nuclear power in such a block or alliance. Probably North Korea is aware of her strategic position on the Korean Peninsula and east Asia and has in agreement with China and Russia confessed to possess nuclear technology, while she simultaneously left six-lateral negotiations (North Korea, South Korea, Japan, USA, Russia and China), but will continue talking, even though with different starting-point and a stronger position.
North Korea (and China indirectly) will threaten the American national interests in this part of the world. Perhaps the Japanese are the ones who are most aware of the seriousness of the situation in which they are found.
China is not prepared to allow the USA to perform a military intervention in North Korea or punish it in some other way, but is ready to discipline North Korea in the framework of a political package with the USA that would include also Taiwan, which has moral and political, but not military significance for China.