Conflict in the Middle East will have consequences far beyond its borders, especially in Europe.
This is a very important article by Nicholas Blanford and can help us predict the future patterns of conflict in the region. The key quote in it for me, the one that explains how “geopolitical concerns” are understood by Iran’s leaders at this stage and, consequently, how other players are bound to understand them as swell, is this:
In February 2014, Mehdi Taeb, a senior Iranian cleric, underlined the importance of Syria to Iran in stark terms, saying it is a “strategic province for us.” “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria,” he said. “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he idea that Iran is entitled to have a sphere of influence in the Middle East ignores the wishes and aspirations of the majority population in the region. From a religious point of view, the majority of the population in the region is made up of Sunni Muslims, and most of those, while demonstrably religious, may not want to live under theocratic rule, especially when the version under consideration is premised on an extremist interpretation of Shiism. In terms of nationality, the majority population in Middle East is made up of Arabs, Turks and Kurds, and one of whom relish the prospect of Persian domination.
The Obama Administration may have convinced itself that an Iranian military presence in the Syrian Golan Heights is no big deal and might even represent a positive development, one that might eventually force both Iran and Israel to reconsider the nature of their antagonistic relationship. A simple and rational cost-benefit analysis, or so the thinking seems to go in this regard, should in time encourage both sides to agree on some kind of détente, one that could pave the way for formal recognition, and even, cooperation in the not-so-distant future.