Military and geopolitical analysis

Geopolitics of the Middle East – historical overview and the future

Armageddon is the term most commonly related to the prophecy about the end of the world. The term appears in the Bible – The New Testament, in Revelation (Apocalypse) St. John, head sixteenth, line thirteenth to sixteenth. The text says: „Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. And they assembled the kings in the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” The word Armageddon comes from the Hebrew word „Har Megiddo“ and means Megiddo hill. It is a location in the northern part of the Israel, 20 km southwest of Nazareth. There should be a final battle of the forces of good and evil on the Day of judgment.

A short history of the Middle-East

Germany was the strongest force on the European continent in 1900, its rapid development of industry and economics surpassed the British, enabling the naval race and increasingly aggressive foreign policy. Oil becomes a necessary means of development, and accelerated industrialization leads to higher demand for oil. In order to parry the UK, Germany is rapidly developing a war fleet, but due to British sea supremacy, it has been forced to find alternative routes of delivering raw materials. The alternative direction finds in something very similar to the modern Chinese Silk Road, which is much mentioned today. Namely, the German and Ottoman Empire agreed to build a Baghdad railway, and the goal of its construction was to connect the Berlin and Baghdad, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. The Germans intended not only to connect Berlin and Baghdad but also to build a railway from Baghdad to the port of Basra; located in the Persian Gulf; in order to bypass the Suez Canal and the Red Sea that was then controlled by the UK. The Ottoman Empire wanted to preserve control over the Arab regions and take control of the British Egypt via the Suez Canal, while the Germans would gain access and ownership of the rich oil fields in Iraq and would gain a better access to the eastern parts of the German colonial empire with the railway to the port of Basra and bypass the Suez Canal. Because of this, Baghdad railway is considered to be the real reason for the beginning of the First World War.

However, on the 16th of May 1916, representatives of  Britain and France, with the consent of Russia, signed what was later known as the „Sykes-Picot Agreement“, signed during the First World war by the French diplomat Francois Georges Picot and the English Mark Sykes, when it has already become known that the Central powers will lose the war. Dividing the Ottoman Empire into the sphere of control and establishing today s borders in the Middle East, Arab areas are recognized after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as a reward for their fight against the Ottomans, leaving the possibility that in certain zones independent states can be formed under protection of these two colonial powers, and they will keep their political influence in them. Russia did not realize its rights determined by the agreement. The October Revolution of 1917, ceased the Russian territorial interests in the areas of the former Ottoman Empire. The Bolshevik government headed by the Lenin has published the content of the agreement on November 23, 2017, in Russian daily newspapers „Pravda i Izvjestija“, and the publication of the agreement led to rebellion and disorder in the Arab regions. By drawing borders within the zone of influence, London and Paris have created a new map of the Arab Orient. Britain gained control of southern and central Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, and France gained southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Britain had a mandate over Iraq from 1920 to 1932, when the independent Kingdom of Iraq was created, in 1923, the UK established the mandate territory of Palestine as gratitude to the Arabs for their fight against the Ottomans, and gave the Jews a territory they had until 1948, when the state of Israel was created. France separates Lebanon from Syria, and Iraq became country with the Sunni minority and Shia majority. Each created state is deliberately divided by ethnic, social and sectarian lines, because of easier control over areas rich in oil and gas.

Since then, the interest of Western countries for the Middle East has increased and with the knowledge that these areas are rich in oil and gas, interest is shared by US, Great Britain, and France by signing Achnacarry agreement in 1928, later known as „Red Line Agreement“. The name comes from a simple line by which, a Turkish trader and banker of Armenian origin, Calouste Gulbenkian marked on the map a concession to the US and UK companies for the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Middle East, with the exception of Iran and Kuwait.

History of petrodollar

Petrodollar represents financial resources realized by oil exports, usually nominated in US dollars, and economic entities from oil exporting countries are investing in the form of deposits and investments in developed industrial countries. It s about financial surpluses of „OPEC“ member states, which are invested on the financial market of EU and other developed countries.

After the Second World War, a new world monetary system was agreed in Bretton Woods, according to which all currencies are related to the dollar, and the dollar is related to gold, the price of one ounce is set for 35 dollars. Countries that owned foreign currency reserves in dollars could change dollars for gold at any time. In order to finance the Vietnam War US have printed billions of dollars for which they did not have the gold cover which upset confidence in the US currency. In 1971, Germany left the Bretton Woods agreement, which led to the strengthening of the „mark“, while Switzerland and France decided to replace their foreign exchange reserves to gold and withdraw it from the US. To prevent the withdrawal of gold from the US, president Nixon decided to abolish the gold standard, by regulation No. 11615 published on August 15, 1971, it banned the direct conversion of dollar for gold and silver. From that moment on, the state did not have to have as many precious metals as there are dollars. The USA has found a way to force states to accept the dollar without cover, President Richard M. Nixon and State Secretary Henry Kissinger realized that rejection of gold was a dangerous game that will lead to a reduction in demand for the US currency and adopted another option. It was an agreement with Saudi Arabia, where a contract was signed with the Royal House of Saud to which the US provides military protection and protection of oil fields in exchange for the purchase of their oil in US dollars, with the obligation to sell oil to other countries only in dollars. Saudi Arabia had a guarantee of complete protection against Israel. There was also an additional requirement to refund the surplus of oil sales to US government debentures and to actively reduce US debt. After the enormous enrichment of Saudi Arabia, other oil producing countries are also joining this agreement. By 1975, member states of OPEC agreed to calculate world oil prices in dollars. This agreement enabled the Americans to print money in the quantities they want, because the demand for oil has steadily grown.

Today the US dollar loses strength every time some state decides to change oil and gas for some currency other than the dollar. Todays dedolarization by BRICS countries, and many other countries, can be considered as an attack on the foundations of the dollar. The only alternative to Russian oil and gas stocks are those in the Middle East, from which we conclude that the continuation of economic pressure on Russia requires control over the entire Middle East.

Recent developments in the Middle East

According to serious estimates of western geostrategists, today Iran is threatening the established arhitecture of the Middle East, and according to the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, only Iran has power to gather and unite Shia and Sunni Muslims, even just for the problem of Palestine, and create a unique front that will confront the territorial expansion of the Israel, which is the projection of US power in the Middle East and the most trusted US ally. The war in Syria, intervention of Saudi Arabia in Yemen is viewed as a fight against the influence of Iran and an attempt to suppress it on all sides, to eventually bring it into a strategic encirclement and would finally be attacked. In an interview in 2007, Wesley Clark said that the President’s Bush administration planned an attack on Irak, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Everything was going according to the plan until the Russian response appeared in Syria, but according to military analysts, the greatest contribution to the land battles was given by Iran and his charismatic military commander Major General of the Elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and supreme commander of the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, in the west known as the „Shadow Commander“.

Source: BBC General Qasem Soleimani

The elite Quds Force is the striking hand of Iran’s foreign policy, something similar to the US CIA and Russian GRU, Quds Force count about 30.000 soldiers fanatically loyal to Iran, they are engaged in conducting military operations abroad and spreading the influence of Iran in the region.

Quds Force is conducting operations throughout the Middle East and operations are being carried out in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza stripe, Afganistan and Yemen. It is assumed that Qasem Soleimani is a person who has implemented a plan that saved the Bashar al Assad authority, and that he personally traveled to Moscow and presented this plan to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also, it is considered that in the Damascus he has its own fortified command center from which he manages operations of the Syrian Armed Forces, Lebanese Hezbollah and Shia militias. With the short sighted demolition of Saddam Hussein disappeared the largest antipode of Iran,  i.e. Iraq, which allowed Iraq to fall under Iranian influence. Iran is present in the Golan Heights, so it’s not a surprising statement by a spokesman of the IDF, Colonel Jonathan Conrius, who said that the missiles fired on targets on the Israeli side belonged to the Quds Force. The Israeli army believes that the existence of a radical axis – Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – and it s activities from the Syrian territory poses a direct threat to Israeli safety. Israel has long threatened to attack Iranian forces on the Golan Heights, with the aim of endangering Iranian interests in Syria. It has recently been concluded in Israeli political and military circles that if Iran attacks Israeli settlements from Syria with the assistance of Hezbollah or other militias, Israel will respond with an attack on the Iranian soil, with all the consequences arising from it. It should be noted that Israel regards Iran as it s the main enemy, because Iran refuses to recognize the right of Israel to exist, so the Grand Ayatollah and 2nd Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei says that Israel is a cancerous tumor of the Middle East, which must be removed. Recently, Israeli forces, as retaliation, carried out an attack on the Syrian military base, where Iranian soldiers were killed, then Iranian forces answered with several missiles fired on Israeli bases in the Golan Heights, when many Israeli soldiers were also killed.

Gloomy predictions

The future of the whole world lies behind the battle that is now taking place on a theater scene called the Middle East, and current events indicate that further escalation in the open conflict is possible between two regional rivals, Israel and Iran. It is known both rivals are supported by the US and Russia, by supporting Iran, Russia must not allow its destruction, because the consequence would be total control of the Middle East by the United States. In this way, US would get into the possession of oil and gas in sufficient quantity to diminish the need for the main Russian export raw materials. Iran, China and Russia are already making pressure on the Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchy states. Especially China, as the largest buyer of Saudi oil, makes pressure with the demand that payment is made with Chinese Yuan, which would produce tectonic changes and would result in „economic tsunami“ and the fall of the US dollar.

The question arises whether the US, together with Israel, will reject and eliminate the influence of Iran from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and succeed in defending the established order, or the current order will be questioned. Recently, Qatar was the first to leave the OPEC, indicating that things are moving in an unfavorable direction for the USA-Israel pair, and that their action to restore their positions is likely to follow soon. It is already clear that the fate of the world; as we know it; will be solved in the Middle East. Defeat of ISIS in Syria is just one episode that only opens the real narrative of the conflict that will follow, because there is much in the game, and even the very future of Western hegemony.

„It started on Megiddo, it will end on Megiddo“ (Revelation); St. John